YOGA FOR ANY AGE

Yoga is an activity that is appropriate for all ages. This article discusses a few benefits of yoga, makes some recommendations for how you might practice and offers tips to get the most out of your time.

There are numerous benefits of yoga. Here are just a few.....


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TMJ AND TENSION RELIEF

In the root of your jaw, a tight aching sensation throbs subtly … or not so subtly. Tender to the touch, the sensation moves into your temples or perhaps your ear or into your face. You may or may not feel a clicking or locking in the joint of the jaw. Does any of this sound familiar for you?  You may have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMJD). Good news: This is generally temporary and can be self-treated. Talk to a health care practitioner for recommendations tailored to your own needs...

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VISUALIZATION WITHOUT EYES

Our incredible human minds can see without eyes. We have the power of vision whether our lids are open or shut, measured at 20/20 or legally blind.  With yoga practice, we can create a vivid vision nonexistent outside our minds but quite tangible to the mind that has created it. A mountain vista, passing clouds and geometric patterns sketched on the surface of our neural pathways can be part of a practice involving pratyahara. Pratyahara is one of the eight limbs that comprise a yogic approach to living.

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SHORT YOGA PRACTICES TO TRY ANYWHERE

Mindfulness: Standing in line surrounded by movement, sounds, and lights of a store can be both exiting and overwhelming. Let yourself fade into the setting. Sounds become quieter and lights blur together a bit. You are one piece of it all.


AT THE DINNER TABLE


Body Exercises: Bring your attention to your posture and then to the two sit bones pressing into the seat beneath you. Grow taller through your spine to stack your strong spinal column. Bonus Points: Give your spine some extra love by gently twisting to your right and left.


Breath Exercise: Let your next inhalation be slower, longer, and more even. Let your next exhalation also be slower, longer, and more even. At the end of your exhalation, pause for a moment before resuming with your next inhale. Let that brief pause be a refuge just for you.


Mindfulness: Disconnect from your surroundings for a moment by choosing to not engage in the activities around you. Instead, imagine you are a stranger

watching from the outside, observing but not participating, for just long enough that others do not notice. Then, join the group again with more subtle presence.


LYING IN BED

 

Body Exercises: Lie down in bed with or without a pillow under your head. Let your knees be comfortably bent. Optionally, let your knees come together. Your arms are out at your sides palms faced up, and you are relaxing into the comfort and support of the surface beneath you. Bonus Points: Bring your hands to your face and, with eyes closed, massage across your forehead, at the temples, in the crevices of the cheekbones, and at the jaw below your ears.


Breath Exercise: Your breath is the key to tension release here. As you inhale, bring your attention to an area of physical tension in your body. As you exhale, give that tension permission to release its grasp and be on its way out. Continue in this way, focused on that same area or move to another in your own time.


Mindfulness: Let your eyes be closed. Likely, your thoughts from the day are flickering in your mind. Imagine snow falling from the sky and quickly melting as the flakes touch the ground. Let your thoughts be like these snowflakes, falling and melting away.


Sources and Resources


LAUREN WEAVER, RYT 200

Lauren Weaver is a Yogi, Yoga Instructor, and Assistant Instructor with the Yoga Teacher Training Program at Lexington Healing Arts Academy. She can be reached via email at Lauren.mw32@ gmail.com.

more articles by Lauren Weaver

The holiday season inevitably brings joy, stress, and many things in between. This article offers suggestions for using yogic practices to enhance your season and everyday life in just a few moments.


Four of the eight limbs of yoga are asana (body exercises), pranayama (breathing exercises), pratyahara (restraint of senses), and dharana (direction of mind). For a rough translation, we will refer to the last two as mindfulness in this article. When you find yourself waiting in shopping lines, at the dinner table with loved ones or lying in bed at the end of a long day, try some of the practices suggested in this article and notice the benefits for yourself!


WAITING IN LINE


Body Exercises: Notice how your weight is distributed in your feet and body. Then make small adjustments to balance between the left and right and the front and back of your body. Bonus Points: Balancing on one leg at a time, lift your knees up high in front of you to warm up your hip flexors; maybe even throw in some ankle circles!


Breath Exercise: To calm your ner- vous system and bring in more oxygen, relax your belly. As you take long slow inhalations, let your belly billow out. As you exhale, the air moves slowly out of your lungs and the billowing belly recedes. Continue in this way.