Victor Hugo said, “Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.” Garth Brooks put it a little more simply: “I’m much too young to be this damn old.” Either way, as a woman of “a certain generation,” I”m starting to have more and more interest in this topic of yoga and aging.
The benefits of yoga have been accepted for centuries in the east, but the necessary evidence required for western medicine’s endorsement has remained anecdotal at best. On Monday, October 20, 2008, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams featured a piece on the health benefits of yoga for those over 50 ~ including decreased stress levels and increased flexibility, strength, and balance.
Touted the show’s promo: “Once the preferred workout of the granola-and-sandals set, yoga has gone mainstream, and more than one-fifth of the 16 million Americans who now practice it regularly are over 55.” Reporter Kerry Sanders interviews Dr. Tim McCall, Medical Editor of Yoga Journal and the author of the book Yoga as Medicine. View the complete segment here.
Further evidence comes from certified Iyengar instructor Suza Francina who has authored two books on yoga and aging: The New Yoga for People Over 50 and The New Yoga for Healthy Aging: Living Longer, Living Stronger and Loving Every Day
Francina writes: “The challenge as we grow older is to exercise in a way that does not contribute to bone fractures or have a negative effect on our joints … Yoga is the ideal exercise prescription for prevention of osteoporosis, for those already at risk, and for bone regeneration.” For additional information on the impact of yoga on the aging process, check out Suza Francina’s article: Build Strong Bones with Yoga.
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“In the central place of the heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives a message of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage – so long are you young.
When the wires are all down and our heart is covered with the snow of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, are you grown old.”
~ Douglas MacArthur