In the chair yoga, pranayama, and meditation class that I do at our local senior community center, many seniors (70-87 years old) are active, pro-active, in their health care. Many do multiple types of exercises. None of them get on the floor. There are several health issues in the group of 20-30, mostly women. There are hip replacements, knee replacements, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, arthritis, poor balance, back problems, Parkinson’s, and shoulder problems.
After our session, a majority of them self-report significant improvements in stiffness, range-of-motion, and pain. Some report better bowel function. Some feel an ease in back pain. One says her breathing has improved considerably. The ones with Parkinson’s report that their anxiety disappears–for one, the effect lasts for “some time” and her tremors lessen or disappear during the session. She tells me her anxiety just flows and melts away. Almost all of them feel tranquil and relaxed, some reporting it is the only time they feel peaceful/anxiety-free. Other forms of movement (jazzercize, zumba, strength training), which they do enjoy, do not seem to produce the same feeling of peace and tranquility in this group as yoga does. A few of them continue to use the free online pranayama breathing and meditation audio tracks on www.mahasriyoga.com, during the week.
A weekly group yoga class for seniors (60-75 minutes) has proved to be very beneficial and the seniors eagerly look forward to it–most of these seniors have been coming now for three years, for 24 to 36 weeks each year. The town offers the seniors very low-cost classes at $2.50 per class. The payback in their well being is significant. During town budget cuts all senior classes were spared and the town is supportive of the well being of its senior population.