Yoga Can Profit Older Adults, Together with These With Reminiscence Loss


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Oct. 4, 2022 — Paige E, a 76-year-old retired psychotherapist, had at all times loved yoga, which she discovered enjoyable, invigorating, and spiritually significant. As she grew older and confronted growing bodily challenges, she started taking yoga lessons for seniors.

When the COVID-19 lockdown started, Paige was involved that she would possibly want to surrender yoga lessons. She knew she may follow on her personal however felt she wanted the construction of a category and the help of an teacher. So she determined to take on-line lessons with Howard Katz, a Teaneck, NJ-based yoga teacher, with whom she had taken in-person lessons previously.

At first, she was skeptical whether or not the net format can be helpful. 

“I’m not very tech-savvy — in reality, I’m a tech dinosaur — and I apprehensive that I wouldn’t be capable of handle the know-how or relate to a digital format,” she says. 

She was additionally involved as a result of she has some mind challenges and wasn’t certain how they’d affect her capacity to take part in on-line studying.

“I don’t have basic dementia or Alzheimer’s, however I do have reminiscence and organizational points which are associated to different well being issues,” she says.

Thankfully, she was capable of grasp the know-how and profit from the lessons.

Possible and Protected

 On-line yoga grew to become a part of the “new regular” through the COVID-19 pandemic, and its use has remained since then. And though some individuals choose in-person settings, many proceed to choose the comfort, affordability, and different advantages of on-line yoga. 

That is additionally true  for lessons focusing on seniors, together with these with cognitive impairments. A latest research discovered {that a} remotely supplied home-based chair yoga intervention was useful for older adults with dementia. 

“The telehealth-based chair yoga intervention was discovered to be handy to each individuals and their caregivers in preserving them bodily lively, because it was simply accessible from residence and didn’t require transportation or getting dressed, which decreased caregiver burden and stress,” says senior researcher JuYoung Park, PhD, a professor within the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler College of Social Work at Florida Atlantic College’s School of Social Work and Legal Justice. 

Seniors with dementia “can give attention to the chair yoga intervention extra successfully in a snug residence setting relatively than in a neighborhood heart, with its related distractions,” she explains.

Notably, there have been no accidents or different adversarial occasions through the intervention, “indicating that on-line chair yoga with caregiver help is protected.”

Park stresses that some individuals would possibly face technological challenges in accessing on-line classes, so tech help must be supplied if essential. And “for the reason that teacher can’t interact in direct motion with the participant, it’s beneficial {that a} caregiver attend classes with the particular person with dementia, monitor the participant for security, and help in following the poses appropriately.”

What Is Yoga for Seniors?

Katz teaches older adults in senior facilities and in addition affords on-line and in-person group and personal lessons to seniors by means of his personal yoga studio. 

“Senior yoga is common yoga made accessible for older adults who would possibly expertise age-related bodily challenges,” says Katz.

“With seniors, I often begin with mild warm-ups, then information them by means of fundamental standing ahead bends, mild again bends, and warrior poses,” says Katz.

Props reminiscent of blocks, straps, and chairs are supplied, and postures are modified to accommodate the bodily challenges of seniors. 

“Some seniors can’t sit on the ground as a result of they’ve issue getting up, so I modify the postures in order that they will sit on a chair. Some have issue with stability, in order that they maintain onto the chair or wall,” Katz notes. The truth is, half the postures in his Yoga for Seniors lessons are seated, whereas the opposite half are standing. 

Katz’s yoga lessons emphasize respiratory methods. Specifically, he likes to show alternate nostril respiratory (Nadi Shodhana), ocean-sounding breath (Ujjayi), and bee-breath (Brahmerie) that are calming for individuals with anxiousness and stress and produce other advantages as nicely — like decreasing blood strain, for instance. 

All of Katz’s lessons embody meditation, which, he says, can deliver calm, peace, and religious opening to individuals of all ages and has additionally been proven to be useful in bettering cognition and high quality of life in seniors.

“I regard yoga postures and respiratory as preparation for a very powerful part of yoga, which is meditation,” he explains.

Addressing the Particular Wants of Seniors With Cognitive Challenges

Katz affords personal in-person and on-line lessons to individuals with cognitive impairments.   

“Lessons are extremely individualized, and all of the parts are modified, relying on the scholar’s cognitive stage and wishes,” he says. 

For instance, he simplifies the respiratory methods or postures and explains all the pieces extra slowly, repeating directions and explanations as usually as essential.

Some people with gentle cognitive impairment can take lessons alone. However these with extra extreme impairments or with dementia profit from having a caregiver current for security and to strengthen the yoga lesson, in keeping with Katz. 

“It additionally creates a shared bond and exercise for the caregiver and the scholar to do yoga collectively,” he says. 

Paige’s cognitive impairments are gentle. She lives independently, doesn’t require a caregiver, and efficiently takes on-line lessons with Katz, who “is affected person and supportive once I don’t bear in mind some issues,” she says. “He explains issues nicely, so I perceive what every posture is designed to perform, and he creates a protected ambiance, so I by no means really feel rushed or judged.”

Paige feels that yoga has helped her bodily well being, cognition, and temper. 

“Yoga is a present in my life, and I encourage different seniors to attempt it,” she says. 

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