The website’s name is “TRANQUABILITY”, where tranquillity meets ability.
Both of these terms mean different things to different people. To me tranquility means walking on the beach or just admiring hilly landscape at sunset. Ability covers a wide range, from young age (learning to talk and walk) through teenager years, middle age towards old age (where ability might just mean coming down the stairs unaided).
Please keep reading on – especially if you are over 50. We live longer and we need to be prepared! 60 is the new 40!
Yoga (which means to unite the body, mind and spirit) helps us slowing down the ageing.
We need to understand and accept the cycle of life and instead of resisting the change and developing a negative attitude towards life we need to activate our willpower, our intelligence.
Our health is very precious and we either have to allocate resources (time, energy and money) to staying healthy or we will need to apply more resources to being sick and recovery.
The most obvious sign of ageing is change of posture (shortening and rounding of the spine). The effect of the rounded spine is collapsed chest which restricts breathing. This is why it so important to keep the spine supple and to open the chest. Movement lubricates the muscles, ligaments and joints. In conjunction western medicine yoga helps to control/reduce high blood pressure. As the metabolism slows down we are prone to put on weight, so staying active is even more important. Yoga poses stretch the trunk, massage the internal organs and help with digestion and trimming down. In many cases with ageing come orthotics and lace up shoes. Yoga is done in barefoot, toes; muscles in the feet are stretched! We need to practice standing on one leg to keep our balance. Pranayama (breath control) helps us to cool down and relax. The use of props (especially for older beginners) makes it easier to get the correct alignment to allow us to gain the benefit(s) of each pose. Supported poses restore energy. Meditation helps to clear the mind, reduces anxiety associated with ageing.
With menopause the body becomes stiffer and due to the hormonal changes one might become irritable. Certain Pranayama practices help to control hot flashes, have calming effect and “solutes to the sun” provide gentle form of exercise. Cutting down on coffee / tea also helps to reduce hot flashes.
Brief Summary – how yoga poses help us to slow down ageing:
- Standing poses for building and maintaining muscle and bone strength, increasing stamina and balance, helps to prevent osteoporosis;
- Forward-bends, Back-bends Lateral poses and Twists to keep the spine flexible; to reduce shortening and rounding of the spine;
- Inversions for reversing the downward pull of gravity, the hart rests and more blood flows to the brain which helps with memory function;
- Reclining positions restore energy and for relaxation
One can start practicing yoga at any age. Once you know how to do the poses safely yoga skills are transferable, can practice anywhere.
Yoga is not a competitive sport; it is about connecting with yourself, accepting yourself and being gentle with yourself.
Tips to start the day:
Over 50 we are stiffer in the morning so I start the day with some warm up poses, gently circling the ankles, wrists and neck combined with a few gentle twists and maybe stretching the hamstrings by extending one leg up at a time and using a belt over the ball of the foot – all of these in bed before getting up.
It is recommended in Ayurvedic science to drink a glass of water after rising, it will help the kidneys to function better.
Do a few cat and downward facing dog poses and maybe a few cycles of “salute to the sun”, open your chest to welcome a new day!
Take your health in to your hand and start exercising regularly – may be on a mat near me!
Note: this is a general guide to yoga over 50, written with love and good intentions and does not intend to replace medical advice.