The Positive Benefits of Yoga on Baby Boomers and Seniors
By Nancy Weshkoff
At Moonflower Yoga, in Bellmore, on Long Island’s Nassau County, we have a steady group of baby boomers and seniors who attend our yoga classes. From personal observation, I know that yoga is helping them. They are getting stronger and more flexible, improving their balance, finding inner peace, and enjoying the comradery of being in a small-class setting with personal attention. Plus they are meeting new people and becoming friends with fellow students. But there is something else that yoga is helping: your brain function.
My personal observation of this improvement for baby boomers and seniors has been recently confirmed in a new study. The University of Illinois studied 108 adults between the ages of 55 and 79 years of age. 61 of these attended hatha yoga classes – the style of yoga taught at Moonflower Yoga. The remaining group did not attend yoga classes but did general stretching and toning exercises.
At the end of 8 weeks, the results were checked. The participants who did yoga for 8 weeks were speedier and more accurate on tests of information recall, mental flexibility, and task switching than they were before they began taking yoga classes. The yoga participants showed significant improvements in memory capacity, and were able to perform tasks more quickly without getting distracted. This is very key to daily living, as we often are required to multi-task in our everyday life. The people who oversaw the study believe that the yoga group benefitted from hatha yoga because it required focused effort as you moved through the poses, controlling the body and breathing at a steady rate. Studies have also found that yoga provided immediate positive effects on decreasing anxiety, stress, and depression by quieting the sympathetic nervous system.
And, for the record, there was no improvement in mental capacity for the participants in this study who did not attend yoga classes.
I personally believe that yoga can help you feel better and function better at ANY age. As this study has confirmed, it definitely helps baby boomers and seniors.
If you are the area of Bellmore, on Long Island’s Nassau County, come try one of our great yoga classes at Moonflower Yoga! Our team of very dedicated yoga teachers will pay attention to you in our small-class setting making sure that you are doing your poses correctly. You’ll gain strength, flexibility, and balance, reduce stress levels, and at the same time improve your mental capacity. How cool is that!
Written by Nancy Weshkoff
In the last week at Moonflower Yoga, the subject of courage has been one of our focuses, and I wanted to expand a bit on this topic.
Moonflower Yoga recently hosted a screening of the film LEAP OF FAITH, the story of BKS Iyengar’s amazing life. The film spans the 90+ years of his life plus his 7 decades of teaching. BKS Iyengar has led a remarkable life. He came from a humble background in India and was a very sickly child. His family was told that he would not survive into adulthood. Despite this dismal prognosis and through extraordinary circumstances, he found the will – and courage—to bring himself to health through yoga. Mr. Iyengar not only survived but flourished into becoming one of the fathers of modern yoga today. He is 93 years old and still practices yoga.
Another event at Moonflower Yoga was a story telling session for children of JEEVA FINDS COURAGE. In this story, a little boy named Jeeva goes on a fascinating journey discovering new things along the way and uses courage to help him.
The week has also been a busy one with some new students coming through the doors of Moonflower Yoga to try yoga for the first time. Many of these are baby boomers. It can take courage to try something new. I feel remarkably blessed to have these new students choose Moonflower Yoga as the place to start a new journey. Yoga has so many wonderful benefits, and I know they will join the other students at Moonflower Yoga who also walked into the studio doors for the first time a bit scared but now love practicing and return to the studio each week to feel better, learn something new, and have fun doing so. And, yes, it took courage to take that first step. How wonderful life can be when we find that courage and try something new.
Do you have the courage to embark on a new path of discovery? If so, come try a yoga class or workshop at Moonflower Yoga in Bellmore, New York, in Long Island’s Nassau County. You will find great teachers who are dedicated to help you grow and learn. And your first yoga class at Moonflower Yoga is free so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by having the courage to try yoga.
Yoga has changed the course of my life. Can it change yours too?
More than a dozen years ago, I noticed that my local gym was offering a new yoga class. I decided to give it a try. I instantly fell in love. This was different than working out on machines at the gym or taking various aerobics classes. I loved the flow of the class. And you got to take a long relaxation at the end of the class!
Over the years, my practice has grown, and I have gotten stronger and more flexible. But something more important has happened. When life was stressful, either from work or the challenges that life throws at you, it was on my yoga mat that I found inner peace. Going to my yoga classes, moving, breathing, and taking a break from those stresses enabled me to release some of that tension in a positive way and feel better. And I also developed a new circle of friends from attending classes, many of whom remain close friends today.
And then a year ago, a whole new set of challenges started to unfold. My husband lost his job of 30 years when his company went bankrupt. Three months later, I was told that my position of 18 years was coming to an end because of the sale of the company that employed me. In a tough economy, this is not the news you want to hear. For my husband, he found a great new job that he likes. For me, the job search was hitting brick walls. What to do?
I decided to turn to what always helped me when life was stressful: my yoga practice. I enrolled in a teacher training program and fell in love with the teaching. I started to realize this is where I wanted to be: helping and teaching others. But in order to truly do this in a way that I wanted, I felt I needed my own small yoga studio. And I wanted to reach fellow baby boomers, as well as beginners of all ages, who have been afraid to try yoga because they couldn’t do complex poses. This was the genesis for forming my new yoga studio, Moonflower Yoga, which offers small class sizes and personal attention. In addition to the classes I teach, I have some wonderful teachers working with me at Moonflower Yoga, and they designed interesting classes for different fitness levels. Moonflower’s philosophy is to make yoga enjoyable for everyone and to create a sense of community from its weekly workshops and small class settings. If you live or visit Long Island, New York, come stop by and try a class or workshop at the studio!
So yoga changed my life: It helped me deal with some very difficult times. I have built physical strength and flexibility and met some wonderful people. And it changed the course of the direction in my life, as I am now the proud owner of my own yoga studio opening in September, 2012. Owning a studio also has some interesting moments, and I’m hoping to share those with you in future blogs.
Tell me about your positive yoga experiences. How has yoga helped you?