Article from guest writer Brad Krause.
Many retirees typically experience lessening flexibility, weaker muscles, and an inhibited ability to move around as they age. This can be frustrating on several levels — not only are they less able to get around physically, but they can also experience a great deal of frustration at their declining motion. The best way to combat this is to help them take steps to improve their mobility and flexibility. Through clever, careful use of yoga and meditation, you can help to keep the senior in your care limber and flexible, both mentally and physically.
Boosting Your Senior’s Mind with Meditation
As the aging process continues, many seniors frequently have difficulty reconciling their self-image as younger, healthier people when their current state requires them to slow down and take caution. For many seniors, this can lead to feelings of worthlessness. Additionally, any kind of negative talk can build up over time, which is why many seniors choose to become more reserved, separating themselves from their family and their relationships. It is therefore critical for seniors to have a sense of purpose and of self, independent of their age. This is one of the key ways meditation can be beneficial for seniors.
While you may find that the senior under your care might initially approach meditation with skepticism, you can tell them that at the center of meditation is self-talk, or mindfulness of one’s self and the surrounding world. Meditation can help seniors come to terms with their own aging and even take joy in it. It can also help create a cycle of positive self-talk in their minds that not only supports good moods, but even boosts their overall cognition and memory recall. In short, practicing meditation for 15 minutes every day can help seniors feel youthful and active.
Boosting Your Senior’s Health with Yoga
A common side effect of meditation is the desire to start conquering the other major stumbling block seniors experience: a body that may be less healthy than they prefer. Not only can yoga help you build muscle and help improve your mobility, but it can also tackle problems such as an unhealthy gut, which occurs when the flora in your gut becomes out of balance.
The best use of their time is to combine the two activities into one exercise that helps support the body and mind simultaneously. Mindfulness meditation is at the heart of basic yoga, which is an exercise routine involving stretches, held positions, and deep breathing. While not all forms of yoga are equal (some types can be extremely difficult for athletes), there are many varieties of yoga that are specifically designed for seniors, like chair yoga, which provides a chair or stool to assist seniors with their balance while they hold the different positions.
Practice Yoga and Meditation at Home
You can also make it easy for the loved one under your care to explore the world of yoga and meditation by setting them up with their own practice space in their home. You can create a small home gym where they can participate in all of their home-based workouts, but keep in mind that it’s safest for seniors to exercise on padded or rubber flooring in a room with ample lighting. If an all-around home gym isn’t necessary, it’s simple to set up a calming space just for yoga and meditation. If you can, find a quiet spot with a view of nature or another relaxing focal point. Add a yoga mat to cushion the floor and a reliable WiFi connection to allow them to watch or stream instructional videos, guides, and exercise classes. Bonus points if there’s enough room for you to practice alongside them.
Yoga and meditation are great ways for seniors to overcome the troubles of their advancing years. After months of supporting their mental health with meditation and their physical health with yoga, they will feel more flexible and quicker in body and in mind.
Brad Krause graduated from college in 2010 and went straight to the corporate world at the headquarters of a popular retail company. But what started as a dream job soured quickly. After four years of working 15-hour days and neglecting his health, he decided enough was enough. Through aiding a friend during a tough time, Brad discovered his real calling-helping people implement self-care practices that improve their overall wellbeing. He createdSelfCaring.info to share his own knowledge and the many great resources he finds on his self-care journey.
Contribution by freelance writer Sally Writes.
Wonder why so many yoga practitioners embark on meditation retreats regularly? Simply put, they’re investments in yourself. We all know that exercise is supposed to make us feel great. But yoga, which has been around for over 5,000 years, not just improves your physical health, but also enhances your mental and emotional wellbeing. Some benefits, such as improved flexibility and stress relief, have been well-documented, but there are quite a few lesser-known benefits that may surprise you. Here are just some of them.
Revamps Your Eating Habits
Yoga and mindfulness practice go hand-in-hand. Practicing yoga increases mindfulness even outside the yoga studio. Though yoga isn’t at all about reaching your “ideal weight”, it helps you get on the path to self-improvement. That includes making better choices and taking better care of your body. Research has found that people who practice yoga are more mindful with their eating habits, as their yoga practice helps them become more aware of how their body feels.
Gives Your Skin A Yogic Glow
Because certain yoga poses are supposed to help detox the body, may yoga practitioners have observed healthier, glowing skin. One yoga pose that is supposed to be great for your skin is the sarvangasana (or shoulder stand), which improves blood circulation in your face. Another is the matsyasana or fish pose, which is said to balance your hormone levels. Even just the simple mountain pose, which lets you concentrate on your breathing, can help make your skin healthier.
Because controlling your breathing is a huge part of yoga, yoga has been lauded by many experts as an effective asthma relieving exercise. Yoga helps reduce stress, which can trigger asthma symptoms, so observing a regular yoga practice can help prevent these symptoms altogether. Yogic breathing techniques can also help alleviate asthma attacks, potentially saving lives.
Boosts Your Brain Power
Today’s world is full of distractions, making it increasingly difficult to focus on a single task. Yoga can help with that, especially within the context of a yoga and meditation retreat, as it gives you the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the world, quiet your mind, and let it rest. Research has found that yoga can positively affect your brain’s neural patterns, improving your ability to focus. Yoga also helps improve your memory. In one study, participants demonstrated better memory, speed, and accuracy in a test after completing a 20-minute yoga session. Talk about a brain power boost!
Rebuilds Your Self-Esteem
Many yoga practitioners say that yoga has helped improve their self-image. Yoga helps you feel good in your own skin and encourages you to be more forgiving and patient with yourself and others. It teaches you calming techniques that help you gain perspective in stressful situations. The yoga community is also usually supportive and encouraging, helping you come out of your shell and learn to accept yourself.
Yoga isn’t just a great workout. It’s a transformational practice and fantastic form of self-care. It can give you the tools to improve your relationship with yourself, with others, and the world around you. If you haven’t practiced in a while, there’s no better time than now to dust off your mat, take a deep breath, set your intention, and restart your practice.
Article by freelance writer Sally Writes
Finding Asthma Relief Through Yoga
For many, difficulty breathing is a way of life. Asthma affects one in nine Australians or around 2.5 million individuals. It can show itself at any point in our lifetime, from childhood well into adulthood, with more and more cases popping up in recent years due in part to outdoor pollution. Asthma can have symptoms that range from mild to severe, including coughing, wheezing, swelling, and even death. While asthma can be challenging to eradicate, there are a number of both medical and holistic ways to help alleviate symptoms. Yoga and meditation are great ways to strengthen the lungs and encourage free airflow, helping to relieve the symptoms of asthma in both children and adults. Here are just some of the ways that taking up a yoga routine can help you to breathe better throughout the day.
For the most part, breathing is involuntary. When we practice yoga, however, we’re encouraged to think about our breathing practices and how they impact our body. Mindful breathing techniques can help asthmatics to learn how to exercise control over their breathing with deep, steady inhalation and slow exhalation. Not only does this strengthen the lungs in the long-term, but also offers a way to combat an impending asthma attack.
Relaxation of the Mind and Body
Stress is a common trigger for asthma patients, causing symptoms to manifest or worsen. One of the best ways to keep asthma attacks to a minimum is to maintain a relaxing lifestyle. Yoga can help to calm the mind and soothe the body, making it easier to cope with a hectic home or work life. By maintaining a relaxed state, you lessen the likelihood of your asthma symptoms kicking in at the worst possible moments.
The Best Poses for Asthma Relief
While all yoga poses can help to free up the lungs, there are several that are better for breathing than others. Poses that straighten the spine and open the airways help to promote a more even airflow through our bodies. Here are some of the best yoga poses for asthmatic individuals:
● Forward Bend
● Straddle Splits
● The Bridge
It can be tough to cope with the symptoms of asthma, but luckily, there are plenty of remedies that help to alleviate the pain. Practising yoga encourages healthy breathing techniques that promote smooth, clean airflow through the lungs. By including the right poses in your routine, you can reduce your risk of asthma attacks and breathe easy.
From advanced yogis to those just starting out their practice, the perfect yoga mat is essential to a productive class experience. But with so many yoga mat options out there, it can be difficult to know what to look for. That’s why the team at Reviews.com spent a month pouring over leading mats to find which performed the very best for yogis of all experience levels.
Check out these mats if you’re in the market
Best Overall: Liforme Yoga Mat
Best No-Frills: Alo Yoga Warrior Mat
Best Budget: Hugger Mugger Para Rubber Yoga Mat
Best Thick: Jade Fusion Mat
Best Travel: Liforme Travel Mat
What to look for at the store
If you’re browsing your options in-store or can’t get your hands on these top performers, there are a few key factors to look for while you shop:
Yoga can be tough on the joints and sensitive bones of on the tops of your feet and your back. Look for a model that is the perfect balance between squishy and dense so that it cushions your body while still maintaining stability. Avoid super-squish mats, which may prove difficult to balance on. Thicker mats like the Jade Fusion work well for those who like a little extra cushion.
There’s nothing worse than slipping and sliding around during an intense Bikram session, right? The two parts of traction are key here: an ideal mat will grip itself to the floor as well as your hands. If you’re trying a mat out in-store, be very conscious of how sweat and intense movement will change your experience in heated or advanced classes so you don’t slip!
Yoga mats come in both open and closed-cell styles. Open-cell mats are very grippy, allowing you to stay in place during a sweaty class because of their absorbency. However, they tend to be very hard to clean for that same reason. Closed-cell mats are far easier to clean, but may perform lower in the grip department. A good balance between the two is important: you can have the greatest mat in the world but if it gets dirty and full of germs, that can spell disaster for you.
Listen to others, but also listen to your body. There are always mats that everyone in class seems to be talking about, but take these recommendations with a grain of salt. Everyone’s body is different and requires different things in their practice.
Read more at https://www.reviews.com/best-yoga-mats/
Article By Sally Writes
If you have just returned from a retreat, chances are, you feel more inspired than ever to make yoga a part of your daily life. Practicing yoga in the company of like minded people, under the guiding hand of a qualified teacher hones your technique, introduces you to the powerful benefits of mindfulness, and enables body, mind, and spirit, to awaken to the beauty and power of nature. Yoga is so much more than a pastime, however; it is a lifestyle, one that can bring so many positive effects to your life – including calm, greater strength and flexibility, and an enhanced ability to fight off anxiety. To take the magic of yoga to your own sanctuary at home, follow these handy tips:
Choosing the Right Space for Yoga
Not all spaces are alike when it comes to yoga, but ideally, all should be located in a quiet part of your home and have a nice flat surface, to enhance stability during the performance of asanas.
If possible, your space should enjoy a view to a natural landscape: a garden, water feature, or view of the seaside or mountains. A spot with natural light will also be handy when it comes to performing sun salutations, or for practicing yoga at the end of the day with the beautiful orange sun setting in the background.
Little Details that Create Ambience
There are many small, affordable details that can create the right ambience. These include a Buddha statue, an essential oil diffuser, and candles (which make a magnificent point of focus when practising mindfulness meditation). When selecting these items, try to stick to natural, healthy varieties. To reap the greatest benefits possible from essential oils, for instance, make sure they are therapeutic grade, and select the right oils (citrus for energising, lavender for calming, etc.).
As for candles, rethink those fragrant paraffin varieties that line shop shelves, and opt for 100% natural soy candles instead. Paraffin candles are known to release toxins when they burn, which can interfere with your and your family’s respiratory health. Soy candles are renewable and biodegradable and by purchasing them, you can help support soybean farmers. These natural candles have positive effects on health: they ensure that the air quality in your home is optimal, yet are as fragrant as commercial candles. Top scents for yoga include oakmoss, earth, and blue pine.
Stocking up on the Essentials
Ensure your space is big enough for a little altar (to set the mood), your yoga mat, and a booster pillow, which will help you with some asanas and exercises. If you plan on using this space for entertaining or being with family after your daily practice, invest in a piece of storage furniture that fits in with the rest of the room in term of design. If possible, use wood for flooring and furniture and by all means, fill your room with plants.
You can build a very exciting private yoga space with a tiny budget. Have fun shopping for wind chimes, essential oils, and any statues for your little altar. Remember that your room does not have to be perfect from the word go. Rather, you can slowly turn your small space into the ideal yoga sanctuary, where you can escape from stress and reconnect with your rich inner world.