Modified Yoga Programs Catching On

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In a New York Times article, “Yoga’s Newest Fans,” author Dale Russakoff investigates how yoga has begun to penetrate an older demographic. He touches on Ricardo Sisco’s New York-based yoga class that every Friday is a vanguard in one of yoga’s fastest-growing users: older adults. In addition to an increasing amount of retirement communities that offer “gentle” yoga classes, changes are being made to place more emphasis on breathing and less movement.

Most classes such as Sisco’s include modifying poses that can be done in a chair or similar fashion in order to assist participants that may have leg or balance issues. Members attest that it boosts their energy, reduces arthritis pain, helps them walk better, provides for a better night’s sleep, and prompts them to eat better. Scientists are seeing the improvements, as well. A study conducted at Oregon Health and Science University discovered that “after six months of yoga, people ages 65 to 85 could stand longer on one leg and gained flexibility as well as significant improvement in quality of life measures.” Veterans Administration researchers found that 12 weeks of yoga increased lower-body flexibility by 34% in older people.

With researchers working with older populations to uncover which poses do not aggravate common muscle and joint problems, instructors are developing specific sessions that can be completely performed while laying in bed so that a participant in any health condition can join. Andrew Greenland teaches yoga at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and said this differing type of lesson can help the participant center of breath awareness and gentle movement, which is a healthy habit Home Care Assistance Columbus endorses. “In a way, their physical limitation allows them to be closer to the root of the yoga experience, which is breathing and awareness,” Greenland said.

Balance yoga with life!

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