Why Seniors and Caregivers Need Yoga and Meditation

Today we have a guest writer, Harry Cline, who speaks about the benefits of Yoga for seniors and their caregivers!

Life can be stressful, especially as we age and when we have physically- and emotionally-challenging vocations. Not only does stress impact our quality of life, it can also directly contribute to illness. It is, therefore, imperative we find ways to ease our daily stressors. Yoga and meditation are two ways we can do so at any stage of life.

Benefits of Meditation

As a caregiver, it may seem difficult to find a free moment. However, sparing just 30 minutes a day for mindful meditation may be incredibly valuable to you. According to a recent study by UCLA, caregivers found they felt better overall after incorporating such an amount into their daily routine. If that is too difficult to manage, even just 12 minutes might be effective. You may see your stress levels decrease and overall levels of contentedness rise. In addition to stress, depression rates also dropped with those who practiced mindfulness. Seniors, too, can benefit from mindfulness meditation, so consider spending a little time together meditating. Seniors may notice improved memory, diminished feelings of depression and anxiety, and improvements in conditions like fatigue or sleeplessness. It doesn't take long; it could even be done after a lunch break by sitting in silence and clearing your mind, or during a bit of quiet reflection over a cup of afternoon tea.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has many benefits, especially to those who are not currently in the best physical condition. It can be easily modified to make the positions achievable, so every level of yogi can confidently build up to more complicated poses. Because of the nature of their work, many caregivers may find themselves experiencing depression or low moods. Similar to meditation, yoga is a proven way of elevating our emotional wellness naturally. Even something as modest as 15 minutes a day can help to lower stress levels, which has numerous benefits. It may help keep us young, healthy and happy. Seniors, too, can benefit from starting a gentle yoga practice. Like caregivers, seniors may be more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Yoga can assist with these feelings, as well as alleviate pain and stiffness in joints. Even blood pressure can be positively affected by a regular yoga practice. The deep breathing techniques associated with yoga may also help seniors fall, and stay, asleep.

How to Get Started in Yoga

Especially for seniors, getting started in a yoga practice may need some adaptation. To avoid an injury or pulling a muscle, start by taking a class to ensure proper form or by watching instructional videos specifically for seniors. A chair can be an excellent resource to aiding various poses and making them easier on our joints and limbs. You could try water-based yoga for a supportive environment that is gentle on your physique. As with any new wellness routine, make sure you speak to your doctor before starting a new regimen.

Benefits in Addiction Recovery

Addiction is something people from all walks of life experience. Stress and anxiety can contribute to falling onto this destructive path, as well as feelings of loneliness. In many ways, meditation can help to overcome the temptation of relapse during recovery. The act of mindfulness can teach us about ourselves, and help us understand our emotional states. It can also aid in developing the means of releasing negative thought patterns. Meditation and yoga can both lower stress while raising our energy levels, giving us the means to face each day rested and feeling well. Yoga is a good way to learn to reconnect with our bodies. For many people in recovery, having a good relationship with the physical self is just as important as the spiritual one. It is, after all, where we live.

Yoga and meditation can be invaluable. They can aid in decreasing the stress we feel in our lives and elevate our moods. It doesn't take much time each day to see the benefits of sustained practices. Take a few minutes out of your schedule to put yourself, and your health, first.

Author

Harry Cline is creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers. As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.

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