By Emilie Perz
Yoga is a timeless tradition and can be experienced/practiced at any age. Below are some tips/explanations that I believe will be helpful to seniors who might be interested in learning more on how they can add yoga into their lives.
Best Type of Yoga for Seniors:
The best type of yoga for seniors is gentle yoga. This has become widely popular in many studios and is characterized by slower-paced classes that focus on mindful movements to lubricate and open the body. These nurturing classes are about safely aligning the body and include gentle and careful stretches, standing postures and balances to build strength and resiliency and controlled pressure to ease the load on the joint spaces. Overall, these classes are fun, dynamic and offer a great thorough form of exercise for seniors.
Yoga for a Being Limber:
Our bodies are comprised of many bones, joints, tissues and muscles all adhering together to create both stability and movement. Yoga is designed to move the body through full range of motion in a soft, fluid way that doesn’t require adding blunt load or pressure. Nor does yoga require using major equipment. The postures are designed to be repeated to create both strength and length in the major muscle groups. The repetition creates a sense of spaciousness in the tight connective tissues while also lubricating the joint spaces that might have become fragile from age and lifestyle habits. Overall yoga offers greater connection with yourself through the integration of body and mind.
Yoga and Anti-Aging:
Our body is susceptible to aging through both genetics and lifestyle choices. Living a life of little movement ages the body fast and makes it chronically tight and exhausted. Just like our well-being, our bodies require multi-dimensional approaches to help offset aging. We know that Yoga postures create space in our body; but what many don’t realize is that Yoga creates new neural pathways for our brains that help to keep them sharp and robust. By moving in and out of postures, we re-map our patterns and create a strong kinestethic relationship to ourselves. Deep breathing techniques, known as pranyamam, also help regulate our central nervous system and can reduce stress-induced anxiety and depression. The meditative aspects of yoga also build our Somatics or “sixth-sense” that tune us in more instinctively to what feels good and bad in our bodies. The more we become in tune with ourselves, the easier it is to make the right choices that best support our optimal well-being.
Yoga for Pain:
Over time the body naturally experiences degenerative wear and tear that can be quite painful and uncomfortable. Yoga’s mindful, well-orchestrated movements help offset these natural processes by using gentle pressure and stretches that don’t compromise the more vulnerable areas of our body like joints. By doing simple stretches repetitively that create circulation in these areas we start to secrete more synovial fluid through our joints that help them move more freely and we loosen up knotted, tight connective tissues on our muscles that create friction and pain when we move certain ways.
In conclusion, I believe that the benefits of practicing yoga are important and should be experienced by all regardless of their age.
Emilie Perz is an international yoga educator and movement therapist based in Los Angeles. Her passion for countless yoga teaching and learning experiences has given her over 1000 hours of yoga education, teaching 20 workshops globally and has served as teacher trainer for several yoga institutions including YogaWorks, Yoga Medicine and Light on Lotus. She has also served as a Lululemon and Free People brand ambassador. Hired in 2018 to create the anatomy curriculum for Equinox’s 200hr teacher trainings worldwide. With her vast knowledge of yoga and anatomy, infectious positivity and her creative and fun sequences, she’s gained a dedicated celebrity following, making her Los Angeles based classes the most sought-after and ultimately earning her a nod as one of LA’s Top Yoga Instructors in the wellness community. Emilie also spent three years as Community Director launching YogaMedicine, a yoga teacher training program based on anatomy, biomechanics and physiology with founder Tiffany Cruikshank. This experience cemented Emilie’s knowledge on these topics, which she now brings to her current career in yoga movement therapy at LA-based medical rehabilitation center, Urban Med At Urban Med. Emilie meets one-on-one with patients to create individual pre/post rehabilitation treatment plans consisting of yoga movement, pranayama, meditation and myofascial release. Emilie resides in Los Angeles where she sees patients at Urban Med Los Angeles and teaches weekly classes for YogaWorks, Roam and Equinox. She holds a BA from Columbia College in Chicago.