Yoga For Beginners and Seniors

Yoga is not as mystical or difficult as you may think, there are plenty of videos teaching yoga for beginners as well as seniors. Suffering from back problems as well as not being the most limber or graceful person in the world, I searched for “exercises for back pain”, “yoga for back pain” and several other back pain related searches. It was rather discouraging – some of the exercises were what I call “pretzel” exercises – “Geez, I wouldn’t even be able to get in that position in the first place,” I thought. It’s true – I wouldn’t even try!

There are great yoga resources on line, beautiful settings, good instructors, Youtube is full of them. You can find instruction at all levels, for all types of bodies and all ages. I had a tough time, though, finding one that suited me. First, I am a klutz, I cannot chew gum and walk at the same time so trying to listen to someone and watch someone who is moving more than two body parts at the same time and telling me to breath in and out confuses me. So I had to find someone that made it easy as easy as possible for me to follow along. Second, I do not like instructors that are too bouncy or watching a class of people doing exercises – that also confuses and distracts me. Third, I don’t respond well to people that are too preachy or seem like they are overdoing the spiritualism. That’s just me. It’s good that I was picky, though, and kept searching.

Eureka! I found Yoga with Adriene, she offers various free 30 day yoga programs, individual videos of different lengths and she is pleasant, easy to understand, and sweet. I like her. I even enjoy listening to her. She makes it easy. My daughter, who is much more fit than me is doing one of the 30 day programs. I am working up to that, but Yoga For Seniors is easy enough even for me. I also like the chair yoga – which is great for me because there are times I don’t have the energy to get out of my chair ;).

Senior Yoga and Chair Yoga – My Favorites

I intend to start one of Adriene’s 30 day programs one day – just not yet. Do you have any recommendations? If so please leave them, along with your comments below.


Meditation and Yoga Reshape Our Brains

Neuroscientist Sara Lazar’s brain scans show that yoga and meditation actually change the size of key regions of our brain, improving  memory and making us more empathetic, compassionate, and resilient under stress.

In the documentary, The Connection, Sara Lazar reports the following findings:

 We found differences in brain volume after eight weeks in five different regions in the brains of the two groups. In the group that learned meditation, we found thickening in four regions:

1. The primary difference, we found in the posterior cingulate, which is involved in mind wandering, and self relevance.

2. The left hippocampus, which assists in learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation.

3.  The temporo parietal junction, or TPJ, which is associated with perspective taking, empathy and compassion.

4. An area of the brain stem called the Pons, where a lot of regulatory neurotransmitters are produced. The amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general. That area got smaller in the group that went through the mindfulness-based stress reduction program. The change in the amygdala was also correlated to a reduction in stress levels.

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