The quest for the Fountain of Youth continues, and many claim to have found it.
It’s not an actual fountain; nor is it a miracle diet or medical procedure that will add years to your life. It’s two ancient Eastern practices that have gained popularity in the West over the past decades thanks to their astounding benefits for physical and mental health: meditation and yoga.
They have much in common, including the emphasis on rhythmic breathing and mindfulness. This combination allows you to come to grips with negative sensations and emotions running through your mind and body, and then accept them without judgement before letting them pass. Yoga and meditation are immensely therapeutic, as its millions of practitioners would attest to, including many seniors.
Curious? Here’s a closer look at the fascinating results of yoga and meditation, as well as some information on how to get started.
You’ll gain calm through focusing on just one thing, in contrast to the mental multi-tasking that the modern world demands. In the long term, that makes you more conscious of how you think, letting you slow down, live in the moment, and react to passing emotions more effectively.
An improved mood comes naturally from the reduction in stress, but there’s more. Researchers have discovered a link between the healthy bacteria living in your intestines and mental health, dubbed the gut-brain axis, which is enhanced through the movements that make up yoga. As you advance through a series of poses, you’ll become happier as well as more limber.
Lower Blood Pressure
In a study cited by Science Daily, mindfulness intervention led to significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared with a control group that received lifestyle advice along with muscle relaxation instruction. That ultimately translates to better cardiovascular health for practitioners of yoga and meditation.
Stronger Immune System
It’s hard to believe that yoga can strengthen your immune system, but again, there’s science to back it up. According to research cited in MindBodyGreen, meditation boosts the amount of antibodies in your bloodstream, which is like putting more soldiers on the battlefield to fight germs that invade your body and make you sick.
Effective Pain Management
By focusing your mind on pain through mindfulness, you can lessen pain. As a psychologist explains to Psych Central, this gives you a more accurate perception of what you’re suffering so you learn from the experience and gain some control rather than spiral off into a state of fear.
If you’re now motivated to try yoga and meditation, here’s some advice on how.
Do Some Research
There are numerous forms of meditation and yoga, so finding the right one for you could take some time. Read up on the benefits of each before beginning your journey. That way, you have a better chance of winding up in the right place.
Get Instruction Online
Once again, the internet delivers. You’ll find plenty of websites that offer lessons in yoga specifically for beginners and seniors, and all you need is a mat and a laptop to get started. Guided meditation is also only a Google search away.
Locate a Studio Nearby
You may need the helping hand of an expert in the room with you, and that’s easy to come by because there are meditation and yoga studios all around. In fact, there could be one just a short walk away.
Talk to Your Doctor
It’s important to speak to your doctor before beginning yoga because it’s a form of exercise that could cause discomfort if done incorrectly, especially for seniors. Seniors should take caution when it comes to certain poses that have been known to cause injury.
Even if you get the go ahead from your doctor, who will likely be enthusiastic about you practicing yoga, don’t put any undue strain on your muscles or joints. Stop and take a rest if you feel any pain.
Now you’re on your way to better physical and mental health, along with a more fulfilling retirement in which you’ll meet each day with youthfulness and energy.
Enjoy the new you.