Ohmmmm...Tips for Seniors and Caregivers Trying Out Yoga and Meditation
As we age, it seems that we are always told about the importance of keeping up with our physical health. However, you probably retired the soccer ball a long time ago, and high-intensity exercise classes just aren’t safe or feasible. So, what options are you left with? Well, yoga and meditation are both great ways to get up and moving, and they offer mental health benefits too. These activities can be done solo, in a group, or with your caregiver. Here’s how to get started:
What Are the Benefits?
Before we dive into how to get started, what are the benefits of yoga and meditation? Yoga is a great form of low-impact exercise, and is gentle on your joints while also slowly increasing your flexibility to fight back against stiff muscles and pesky arthritis. Through fluid movement and focused breathing, you can also lower your blood pressure, which in turn can lower your risk for cardiovascular and kidney disease. Yoga is a wonderful stress reliever too. You will find that you are so focused on the moves and your breathing that you are only aware of your surroundings as opposed to the thoughts that were once jumping around in your head. Meditation can help calm your mind as well, reducing anxiety and depression, and serving as a coping mechanism when you start to feel overwhelmed.
Getting Started With Yoga
Let’s start with yoga, which is likely the activity you are most apprehensive about after seeing some of the crazy positions your granddaughter can put her body into. The truth is, it’s a myth that you have to be flexible to practice yoga, because there are so many types available. Some focus on movement, while others are more of a spiritual practice. Plus, many types of yoga use helpful props such as blocks, straps, and even chairs. According to Shape, “The best way to judge your progress in yoga is to ask how you feel about yourself and to look beyond the obvious outward levels of progression.” Your progress isn’t measured by how flexible you have or haven’t become. Regardless, yoga is something you should ease into, and consult a doctor first. It is best to take a class with an instructor to ensure you aren’t putting yourself at risk of injury or strain. Once you are comfortable, you can work a yoga session (or any workout routine, for that matter) into your daily fitness routine at home using technology such as YouTube videos, fitness apps, or Wii games with the grandkids.
Getting Started with Meditation
To begin, it is important to understand that meditating and taking a moment to think are two different things. Meditation will train your mind not to fully engage with all the thoughts that are bombarding you, and instead focus on becoming more mindful and aware of the moment. Think of it as zooming out. If you still aren’t sure that there truly is a difference, give meditation a try. You will find that the way you feel after a meditation session is far different than the thinking you do daily. You will likely find that you are more rested and at ease, and better able to process those daily thoughts. Getting started with meditation is actually quite simple given the number of guides and scripts available online that walk you through the entire process. Plus, if you are already taking yoga at a studio, chances are they offer a meditation class too, or perhaps a combination of the two.
Do It Together
Yoga and meditation can certainly be done on your own, but they are both a great way to strengthen the bond with your caregiver too. Trying a new activity with a friendly face can ease some of the anxiety, and will serve as a learning experience for the two of you. Plus, yoga and/or meditation can become something the two of you look forward to as a way to de-stress.
If you are looking for a way to strengthen your body, mind, and the bond with your caregiver, look no further. A combination of yoga and meditation could be the solution you are looking for. The tips above will get you started; the rest of the journey is up to you.