Yoga and Meditation:
It’s Never Too Late for the Ancient Arts of Tranquility
For people who have reached their golden years, staying in shape is more important than ever. There’s much more to it than just eating right, however. A physically active lifestyle as well as mental health are key elements of the fitness equation. Cue yoga and meditation. These two ancient Eastern practices serve as a fountain of youth by providing a host of benefits that improve overall well-being and add years to one’s life. Here’s what they do.
Having too many worries on your mind leads to an increase in the hormone cortisol. Crtisol is a major cause of inflammation, according to the health experts at Body Ecology. You can lower cortisol levels through yoga and meditation.
How does that work? Both practices encourage mindfulness, or being in the present through a focus on breathing. This in turn leads to a 15 percent reduction in cortisol production, according to a study cited in the Telegraph. The researchers involved also said that meditation proved even more effective than traditional stress management therapies.
According to the yoga practitioners at DoYouYoga, yoga puts a stop to hyperarousal, or the “fight or flight” response. It can be triggered by any number of events throughout the day, yoga and meditation bring you back to a state of calmness known as homeostasis. Both yoga and meditation also serve as a bedtime routine that tells your brain to shut up and go to sleep. It does that by slowing down your breathing, your heart rate, your body, followed closely by your mind. Everything slips into a state of relaxation . You’ll not only fall asleep faster, but also stay asleep throughout the night.
Enhances Brain Function
This is valuable for the elderly as memory tends to deteriorate during old age. But how do yoga and meditation help? Increased blood flow to the brain. According to one study, positive results were seen after just five daily sessions of 30 minutes each. The reason for this improvement goes back to that reduction in stress: The calming effect of mindfulness reduces the heart rate and improves the efficiency of the circulatory system overall. Incidentally, this will also result in lower blood pressure, which will cut the risk of heart conditions.
Besides reducing stress, meditation cuts back on tension in your body through relaxation. That effect is only enhanced through yoga, which involves adopting a series of postures that stretch your muscles and increase your flexibility, which is important as you age. The experts at fitness website Verywell Fit, suggest specific poses to aid in this endeavor. If you would prefer to stick with just meditation, it’s easy to add a stretching routine to your daily schedule. This eases tension throughout your body while eliminating stiffness. You’ll notice a marked increase in mobility as walking becomes easier thanks to a reduction in joint pain.
Yoga and Meditation & You
If you’re not sure how to get started, look for yoga and meditation instructors in your area. They shouldn’t be hard to find as both practices have been growing in popularity for decades. Your home can also serve as a studio, as long as you can find a quiet room or corner free from noise and distractions. Good luck and namaste.