Clint Eastwood Yoga
April 21, 2015
April 21, 2015
When I sat down to write about ‘yoga for the elderly’, I paused. I was hesitant to use the word ‘elderly’. I want it to be clear that I have a very high respect for the elderly. When I think of my elders, I think of my Paw Paw, Harold Evans, a war veteran and grand father of 12. He is everything but ‘elderly’. He reminds me of Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino. So, I wanted to call this blog post “Clint Eastwood Yoga”. Because, although our bodies age and sometimes not very gracefully, I want the elderly to know that they are still bad assess. I want to bring yoga to their daily lives to remind them that they are OUR mentors. They have paved the road for us. They have endured everything we have not. They are bad asses.
Now, let me get to the point of this post. Yoga for the “Clint Eastwood’s and Annie Oakley’s” out there. Why should they do it? How can they do it? I’m here to tell ya….
If they’re anything like 91-year-old Bernice Bates, they can. Of course, Bates has been practicing yoga for half a century and was recently named the “World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher,” by the World Academy of Records and the Guinness World Records. Nevertheless, she’s 91 and practices yoga. Yoga has been an integral part of her life for many years yet prescription drugs and doctor visits have not. She has aged with grace. Unlike most, she was fortunate to have a life long practice. But, don’t worry, it’s never too late. I’m here to integrate a soft yoga practice into the daily lives of our older loved ones.
There’s no doubt that physical activity is good for people no matter what their age. But sometimes, certain limitations prevent the elderly from engaging in more commonplace forms of exercise such as walking or lifting weights (or anything for that matter). Nathan Wei, MD, a rheumatologist with over 30 years of experience says there are three key components to a good workout for seniors: low impact cardio, resistance training, and stretching. He says that yoga has the potential to cover all three of these bases, but, people who are getting older should give serious thought to which yoga program they choose to adopt. Certain forms of yoga may be too strenuous, or require so much flexibility that a senior could easily hurt themselves by pushing too far.
Yoga Athletex believes that offering a therapeutic practice to seniors is key. We focus on proper alignment and balance. We are very aware of physical limitations that are caused by aging, disease or injury. We encourage acceptance of each individual in light of aches, pains, and weaknesses.
As we age our bodies become less fluid. Yoga practice can help to oil our joints in a Wizard of Oz – Tin Man fashion. Yoga practice is also a confidence builder for the Eastwood’s and Oakley’s out there (as if they need it). An improved sense of body awareness is also often seen in people who practice yoga regularly. For a senior, this enhanced awareness can translate into an increased confidence in their ability to get around without falling. Falling is very commonplace for our older loved ones. If we can incorporate some yoga to prevent falling, then I am happy.
Balance is one of the first things to fade as we age. We are able to offer yoga from a chair if this is a factor. Remember “Sit and be Fit”? Like that, but better. Something Clint Eastwood would approve. For instance, a senior might start off doing a forward bend by only bending down halfway and holding onto a chair for balance. As they become more comfortable in that position, they may let go of the chair and put their hands on a yoga block. The block will be lower than the chair, but will still give the person something to help stabilize them. Finally, the senior may be able to bend all the way over and touch their toes without any assistance. You go Grandpa!
Another factor we focus on is communication. It is imperative to know the physical record of the client. We want to hear what ailments they have and even how they are feeling on a daily basis. It is important to have a relationship with the elderly to know how different they can be feeling each day at a time.
To sum it all up, Yoga has been shown to:
Improve sleep quality and improve depression
Help control blood sugar in people with diabetes
Enhance respiratory function
Help alleviate arthritis pain
Increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis
Moderate chronic pain
If Yoga Athletex can improve any of the above in our loved ones, we are doing something right. Let us try! We promise to care for your loved ones just as we do our Paw Paw.
Peace, Love and Werther’s.