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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YOGA FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT

  1. Mild to moderate exercise such as yoga decreases physical pain.
  2. The increase of oxygen flow to tissues throughout the body enhances energy levels.
  3. Breath awareness and physical movement aid in releasing muscle tension.
  4. Moving joints through their range of motion and stretching muscles reduces pain intensity.
  5. The response to pain and perceived suffering are decreased.
  6. Improved stress management has a positive feedback effect on pain.
  7. Listening to your body can transform your understanding of and response to pain.


METHODS


Restorative Yoga

Much of yoga’s manifestation in mainstream Western culture is repre- sented by poses that bend the body like a pretzel, but that is largely a mis- representation. Restorative yoga is less about how much physical strength and endurance one

has and more about how much relaxation you can find in a pose. In this form of yoga, lots of props (blankets, bolsters, blocks, straps and more) are used to find a very comfortable position. From that place of comfort, you will spend as little as five minutes and often as much time as feels beneficial in this position with the intention of tension release. There are many restorative poses and most of these can even be practiced in the comfort of your bed using blankets and pillows as props rather than on a yoga mat on a floor with specific yoga props. For recommendations on poses that are appropriate and beneficial to you, seek advice from your doctor about what you should and should not do and then provide that information to a well-qualified yoga instructor for recommendations of specific poses. You may enjoy a taking a class, a private lesson, watching a video or checking out a book on your own. When practicing, cultivate curiosity about your experience and always be compassionate to the amazing body you claim as yours.


Mindfulness

There are numerous ways to practice mindfulness. In the 1970s, Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn popularized Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Yoga Nidra, a guided meditative experience, uses visualizations and restorative poses. Meditation, whether sitting on a cushion or walking in a park, is becoming more popular as a regular practice to enhance our life experiences. Yoga practice is intertwined with the roots of all these approaches to practicing mindfulness. The key to success and pain relief is to find what works best for you and can be incorporated into your daily life.


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

Pain is not exclusively rooted in our physical bodies. Perception of pain and the ability to cope with that experience is rooted in the mind as well. Just as when we are sick we may feel moody or how stress often leads to sickness, the mind and the body are not separate entities. Whether pain is chronic or acute, long term or short term, an appropriate yoga practice may provide relief. Much of the research surfacing in recent years hones in on yoga for relief of chronic pain.


Evidence

Yogis have known, based on their practice and the results in their lives, the value of yoga practice. Research-based evidence that has surfaced in recent years continues to legitimize claims of the numerous benefits of regular yoga practice. Harvard Health Review cites studies that say among people with chronic low back pain, a weekly yoga class increased mobil-ity more than standard medical care for the condition. It further shares that yoga can help people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, low back pain and many other types of chronic pain conditions. Psychology Today says lifestyle choices — such as practicing yoga or meditation — have been shown to reduce pain perception and offset the effects of age-related decreases in gray matter volume while helping maintain white matter integrity.


How Yoga Helps

An article from YogaU shares seven ways yoga helps reduce pain: