Why Elders Love Yoga … #in #fb

“Reaching the depths of the soul requires that we age.” James Hillman said it. Our brains change. Neurons get pruned, leaving ever-strengthening branches  for, as it turns out, contemplative pursuits like meditation and introspection.  That’s why elders take to yoga like … forgive me … ducks to water. The compassionate movement, the focus and awareness, the acceptance and non-attachment woven into yoga practice — not to mention  guided healing visualizations, meditation and deep relaxation — support an elder’s natural inclination to be in the moment, to fully “be.”

Safe yoga, of course, is vital, and one of yoga’s most basic foundations is ahimsa — nonharming. It follows that many yoga teachers interested in bringing yoga’s ever more well-researched benefits without harming anyone are doing what they have to to be safe — getting the training they need. They are moving toward a time when yoga is a sustainable component of health care.

One big door of opportunity for connecting these well-trained yoga teachers with elders is discharge planning in medical institutions and nursing homes. A harsh light is shining on hospital readmissions, which are alarmingly high for those with  chronic health issues. A “prescription” for yoga upon discharge — and a real connection to a local senior center or yoga studio that teaches classes like Yoga for Arthritis or Restorative or Therapeutic Yoga (iyiny.org among other places) could cut readmissions dramatically. There are few more effective — and popular, pleasurable, relaxing, affordable, accessible AND evidence-based — practices out there that support an elder’s natural inclination toward contemplation while at the same time destressing their bodies and minds and promoting healing and well-being (shorter hospital stays, less need for meds, less pain, greater balance).  Yoga allows us a more conscious aging — even a more conscious death. It’s such a gift, and one more and more elders will be able to embrace (if you’re reading this and want safe yoga near you, ask your docs and nurse practitioners, make your wishes known! call your local yoga studio, senior center or community center, look online — lots of yoga  going on through linked in and Twitter).

The “kids” would have us all as connected and doing our safe gentle yoga and deep relaxation in real-time, Skype-like, personally tailored yoga sessions and apps already. They’ll certainly have all that when they’re in our shoes.  It’s time to catch up with the inter-webs, but in our neighborhoods and medical institutions as well.

Anyone with me here? Let me hear from you!


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