You may have heard those old adages: ‘When the body becomes stiff and inflexible, so does the mind’ and ‘You are as young as your spine’.
As we move into our more senior years, this can be interpreted in many ways. Apart from perhaps not being able to touch our toes as we once could, we may find ourselves becoming less resilient, more fixed, perhaps resistant to change or experiencing difficulties in accepting new ideas.
The regular practice of yoga helps create a flexible and open body and mind, and assist us in keeping old age at bay, by removing stiffness and inertia in the body and establishing optimum health for ourselves.
Maintaining a healthy and flexible spine is a key aspect of yoga. The spine is designed to move in many directions, so twists and backward and forward bends are all incorporated into a well-rounded yoga practice. Our body’s nervous system has a direct relationship with the spine, so a healthy spine leads to a healthy nervous system, which supports a healthy and active life as we age. Each yoga pose moves the varying joints in the body, stretching, strengthening and opening each part of the body, which results in an increase of energy and a renewed enthusiasm for life.
You are never too old to commence practicing yoga; often those to start later in life are the ones who benefit the most. We can practice several times or more a week, in order to keep our spine as strong, flexible and as healthy as possible, and through this discover a wonderful sense of joy and well-being.
Written by Annie McGhee for the Seniors Magazine December 2016