Almost 15 million Americans practice yoga. Yoga Journal
When I was in my 30’s I dated a woman who taught yoga and for two years I practiced it religiously with her. After we split up I continued my daily yoga for a long time. Somehow, in the midst of the trials and tribulations of my life, I scaled back on it and stopped practicing regularly. Nonetheless I continued to benefit from things I had learned from it, like diaphragmatic breathing. This wonderful tool has helped me to deal with stress all my life. Even now in retirement, I still use it although I feel far less stress than I did when I was a worker bee.
When I first started doing yoga, I was still a runner and one immediate benefit was that I didn’t turn my ankles as often, or at all. I don’t know if assuming the poses strengthened my ankles and legs or I simply achieved a better sense of balance, but I went from turning my ankles about once a week, to maybe twice a year. Also, in the years I did yoga, I had a really heightened awareness of my body that was very gratifying, hard to explain, but gratifying.
I find that now as a senior citizen, there are good reasons for me to resume my yoga practice. First, while I ride a bike daily and enjoy superb cardiovascular health, I don’t enjoy doing weight-bearing exercise very much. And, everyone needs to do that, too. It turns out yoga is weight-bearing exercise, but much more enjoyable (to me) than pumping iron. Second, I recently heard a talk on seniors falling which I wrote up here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, said, “Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.”
Frankly, that scared me. People die in hospitals. I want to steer clear of them. So, increasing my strength and balance through yoga has become very much more appealing.
I also remember that wonderful feeling of exhilaration doing yoga. The release of each posture always made those particular muscles feel alive with energy. The controlled relaxation at the end of every session never failed to boost my spirits. I would like to return to those sensations. So, I have started doing yoga again.
But, what about you? Maybe you aren’t an old man who doesn’t want to fall and go to the hospital. Why should you do yoga?
Here is what the yogasite says about why you should do yoga.
“The short answer is that yoga makes you feel better. Practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation makes you healthier in body, mind and spirit. Yoga lets you tune in, chill out, shape up — all at the same time.
“For many people, that’s enough of an answer. But there’s more if you’re interested.
“For starters, yoga is good for what ails you. Specifically, research shows that yoga helps manage or control anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, stress and other conditions and diseases. What’s more, yoga:
• Improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina
• Reduces stress and tension
• Boosts self esteem
• Improves concentration and creativity
• Lowers fat
• Improves circulation
• Stimulates the immune system
• Creates sense of well being and calm.”
Sadie Nardini wrote a fun piece in the Huffpost on the Top 10 Reasons Not To Do Yoga.
Here are a couple: You enjoy looking 9 years older than you are. After all, Joan Crawford is super hot–so bring on the crow’s feet!; You embrace those heavy metal toxins building up in your body as a bad-ass homage to your Kiss concert days. Rock on!; You firmly believe that the junk in your trunk needs more company.
You can read the rest at the link.
What do you think? Is it time you started?