While today’s magazines may show nothing but 20 or 30-something celebrities claiming the healing benefits of yoga, the largest growing demographic practicing yoga is actually the elderly. According to this article in the New York Times, many senior centers are implementing yoga classes into their daily schedules, and the results are astounding for the participants. Many of the seniors taking these yoga classes attribute their improved sleep and better eating habits to the practice of yoga, while others also claim relieved pain and youthful flexibility.
Researchers at several universities have been studying the health benefits of yoga on seniors, and perhaps the most important is the increased sense of balance, which can help reduce falls for seniors. The practice is modified so that participants can do the entire class while sitting in a chair so as not to injure themselves. While the practice can have many physical benefits, Ricardo Sisco, yoga instructor at a senior center in New York, believes that the most beneficial aspects of yoga occur in the minds of these seniors. “People think to do yoga you have to be flexible,” he says, “But the flexibility is not in the body. It’s in the mind. That’s why anyone can do it.”