Practicing Yoga for Better Balance
The biggest fear of any elderly person is the fear of falling. Falling can mean a broken arm, concussion, or even worse, a broken hip. That could mean loss of independence to so many and the fear of going to a nursing home or extended care home is something every elderly person dreads. It's important to keep the ability to balance when you are entering your senior years. Balance isn't something that fades away with age; balance is lost over a lifetime of misuse. If you favor one side of the body, poor posture and inactivity result in weaker muscles. Prepare now for a better-balanced body when you're older and do it the fun way with Yoga.
Yoga is about balance. Balancing your body and mind, the inhalation and exhalation of breathing that's what Yoga is about. As you age, it's important that you not lose your sense of balance and Yoga can help with that.
Some poses such as Tree, Warrior III, and Half Moon all have to do with balancing. They are strengtheners for the whole leg, toning the muscles of both the calf and thigh, while also working your hip, knees, and ankle joints. These poses also help keep your mind on the present and that's a big part of balancing. What were you doing the last time you tripped or lost your balance? Probably zoning out or thinking about everything but what you were doing. Other poses such as Eagle stretch out your shoulders and the Dancing Shiva offers a back bend that helps make your back muscles stronger.
Doing these balance poses will let you know immediately if you are not in the right form. Bad form or lack of concentration will make you lose your pose. By keeping your mind concentrated on the moment and what you are doing, that's why they are the best for balancing. You can't just "attempt" a balance pose, you either can do it, or you don't.
A busy mind is why you can't always do the balance poses. If you are not doing the posture right, you probably have your mind on everyday matters and not focusing on what's going on at that moment. Remember live the moment you're in. Step back, focus, and breathe deeply. Take a few cleansing breathes, start concentrating and try it again. If you still can't hold the pose, don't be hard on yourself, and just let it go for today or try to do an easier form of the pose.
Brace yourself; use a chair or some other way to help you achieve the pose. Once you're comfortable with using a prop, try it again on your own.
If you are already, a senior citizen is it too late to practice balance? Of course not, a Yoga instructor that is trained to work with older adults can help an elderly person regain some of the balance and improve the flexibility of their body. Strengthened muscles will also improve balance and a senior adult can always use the props. Muscle tone doesn't have to be lost forever, it can be regained; but wouldn't it be better not to lose all that in the mean time? The time to work on your balance is now!
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