Oct. 4, 2022 — Paige E, a 76-year-old retired psychotherapist, had at all times loved yoga, which she discovered stress-free, invigorating, and spiritually significant. As she grew older and confronted rising bodily challenges, she started taking yoga courses for seniors.

When the COVID-19 lockdown started, Paige was involved that she may want to surrender yoga courses. She knew she may observe on her personal however felt she wanted the construction of a category and the assist of an teacher. So she determined to take on-line courses with Howard Katz, a Teaneck, NJ-based yoga teacher, with whom she had taken in-person courses previously.

At first, she was skeptical whether or not the web format can be helpful. 

“I’m not very tech-savvy — in reality, I’m a tech dinosaur — and I anxious that I wouldn’t be capable of handle the know-how or relate to a digital format,” she says. 

She was additionally involved as a result of she has some mind challenges and wasn’t positive how they might influence her skill to take part in on-line studying.

“I don’t have basic dementia or Alzheimer’s, however I do have reminiscence and organizational points which are associated to different well being issues,” she says.

Happily, she was in a position to grasp the know-how and profit from the courses.

Possible and Secure

 On-line yoga grew to become a part of the “new regular” through the COVID-19 pandemic, and its use has remained since then. And though some individuals choose in-person settings, many proceed to choose the comfort, affordability, and different advantages of on-line yoga. 

That is additionally true  for courses concentrating on seniors, together with these with cognitive impairments. A latest examine discovered {that a} remotely provided home-based chair yoga intervention was useful for older adults with dementia. 

“The telehealth-based chair yoga intervention was discovered to be handy to each members and their caregivers in conserving them bodily energetic, because it was simply accessible from house and didn’t require transportation or getting dressed, which diminished caregiver burden and stress,” says senior researcher JuYoung Park, PhD, a professor within the Phyllis and Harvey Sandler Faculty of Social Work at Florida Atlantic College’s School of Social Work and Legal Justice. 

Seniors with dementia “can deal with the chair yoga intervention extra successfully in a cushty house atmosphere fairly than in a neighborhood middle, with its related distractions,” she explains.

Notably, there have been no accidents or different hostile occasions through the intervention, “indicating that on-line chair yoga with caregiver assist is protected.”

Park stresses that some individuals may face technological challenges in accessing on-line classes, so tech assist must be supplied if vital. And “for the reason that teacher can not have interaction in direct motion with the participant, it’s advisable {that a} caregiver attend classes with the individual with dementia, monitor the participant for security, and help in following the poses accurately.”

What Is Yoga for Seniors?

Katz teaches older adults in senior facilities and in addition gives on-line and in-person group and personal courses to seniors via his personal yoga studio. 

“Senior yoga is common yoga made accessible for older adults who may expertise age-related bodily challenges,” says Katz.

“With seniors, I normally begin with mild warm-ups, then information them via primary standing ahead bends, mild again bends, and warrior poses,” says Katz.

Props comparable to blocks, straps, and chairs are provided, and postures are modified to accommodate the bodily challenges of seniors. 

“Some seniors can’t sit on the ground as a result of they’ve issue getting up, so I modify the postures in order that they will sit on a chair. Some have issue with steadiness, in order that they maintain onto the chair or wall,” Katz notes. In truth, half the postures in his Yoga for Seniors courses are seated, whereas the opposite half are standing. 

Katz’s yoga courses emphasize respiration strategies. Particularly, he likes to show alternate nostril respiration (Nadi Shodhana), ocean-sounding breath (Ujjayi), and bee-breath (Brahmerie) that are calming for individuals with nervousness and stress and produce other advantages as properly — like decreasing blood strain, for instance. 

All of Katz’s courses embody meditation, which, he says, can carry calm, peace, and religious opening to individuals of all ages and has additionally been proven to be useful in bettering cognition and high quality of life in seniors.

“I regard yoga postures and respiration as preparation for a very powerful element of yoga, which is meditation,” he explains.

Addressing the Particular Wants of Seniors With Cognitive Challenges

Katz gives personal in-person and on-line courses to individuals with cognitive impairments.   

“Lessons are extremely individualized, and all of the elements are modified, relying on the scholar’s cognitive degree and desires,” he says. 

For instance, he simplifies the respiration strategies or postures and explains every part extra slowly, repeating directions and explanations as typically as vital.

Some people with gentle cognitive impairment can take courses alone. However these with extra extreme impairments or with dementia profit from having a caregiver current for security and to bolster the yoga lesson, in keeping with Katz. 

“It additionally creates a shared bond and exercise for the caregiver and the scholar to do yoga collectively,” he says. 

Paige’s cognitive impairments are gentle. She lives independently, doesn’t require a caregiver, and efficiently takes on-line courses with Katz, who “is affected person and supportive once I don’t bear in mind some issues,” she says. “He explains issues properly, so I perceive what every posture is designed to perform, and he creates a protected environment, so I by no means really feel rushed or judged.”

Paige feels that yoga has helped her bodily well being, cognition, and temper. 

“Yoga is a present in my life, and I encourage different seniors to attempt it,” she says. 

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