Updated: Jan 12
Yoga for for Mental and Physical Health and Wellness
As we age, our bodies change, and with that change can come physical and mental challenges. Some of the common ailments and impairments that we see with time, pressure, stress, and general aging, are hypertension, immobility, and secondary to that, depression. Yoga and its many different styles and offerings, is accessible and can be beneficial for everyone.
It is important to understand and realize that there are many types of yoga, so taking the time to research and choose the right style and right teacher(s) might take a little time but the investment will be worth it. There are classes that focus just on meditation, ones that are more physical, and everything in between. Especially if you are injured or have been injured, suffer from arthritis, or have not been active for quite some time, it is important to ease into a softer practice to get the body and mind comfortable with moving again.
Research shows that Yoga can not only improve physical health by lowering blood pressure, but also improve mobility and overall quality of life, compared to those who have no exercise regimen. Following the adage, motion is lotion, the physical practice of yoga helps keep joints moving and the body more mobile, while the breathing exercises and meditation help to calm the mind and regulate the nervous system. One systematic review has shown yoga to have a modest but significant reduction in blood pressure (~4mm Hg) in individuals with prehypertension or hypertension. Another systematic review shows “moderate to high methodological quality that found physical yoga improved HRQOL (health-related quality of life) in people aged 60 years and older.”
Yoga is highly accessible and more affordable than doctors and therapists. It can be made to fit your schedule and with a regular yoga practice, whether it’s a 5 minute meditation or 1 hour practice, it can help to maintain and improve your quality of life. It’s never too late, or too early, to start taking care of yourself!
References Tulloch, A., Bombell, H., Dean, C., & Tiedemann, A. (2018, March 23). Yoga-based exercise improves health-related quality of life and mental well-being in older people: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://academic.oup.com/ageing/article/47/4/537/4951829
K;, H. (n.d.). Effectiveness of yoga for hypertension: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23781266/