This summer, Maine YogaFest will offer its first free community class for the 50+ population. Nancy Charlebois of Jade Integrated Health explains why we should provide yogis of all ages an opportunity to learn and practice together.
Why do you feel it is important to create yoga classes that specifically cater to the 50+ population?
What makes our profession so fulfilling is that we see an array of people on a daily basis, all with different strengths and limitations. However, we began to realize that while we offered a diversity of yoga classes, the active older adults that we saw in our physical therapy & acupuncture practices were an under-served population in our own studio and in the yoga community. This led us to develop several classes to meet the changing needs of those who are over 50.
As we (all) grow older, we're not doing the same type or amount of physical things we used to and it's very possible that we become less active. Yoga is a very gentle but powerful way to keep your body moving and grooving well into your retirement years. Take balance for example. Many folks over 50 begin to notice their balance diminishing, sometimes slightly, sometimes significantly. Even if it's just a little, it makes a difference in what you can comfortably and easily do in your daily life. If you don't use balance, you loose balance - and yoga is based on balance: balance of body, of mind, and of spirit.
As we age, our muscles naturally lose their elasticity and this can make common day-to-day activities like reaching down to tie your shoes, or looking over your shoulder to back your car out of the driveway difficult. The good news is, by incorporating some simple stretching exercises into your routine you can greatly improve your flexibility, as well as enhance your balance, posture, circulation, relieve pain and stress, and prevent injuries. In addition, stretching is an important warm-up and cool-down for more vigorous activities.
Studies show that those in their wisdom years are finding a multitude of benefits from their yoga practice including increased flexibility, pain and stress relief, increased strength, improved circulation, heightened cardiovascular conditioning, lowered blood pressure, improved immune functioning, relief from depression & anxiety and improved sleep. Yoga is the most powerful tool for overall health and well-being and the best preventive medicine!
The great thing about yoga is that you start from right where you are, so you're already right where you need to be! Just as yoga unites all of us in practice, it also brings us together in stages of life. Come and do what you can, as you can. There's no competition or judgment in yoga. It's about meeting yourself right where you are and working from there.
Jade Integrated Health serves the community of Southern Maine by providing a truly integrative approach to health & wellness. In addition to providing physical therapy, acupuncture and massage, Jade Integrated Health has a beautiful yoga studio and offers a variety of yoga classes from prenatal to mom & baby, gentle to intermediate, as well as yoga for the 50+ crowd.
Physical therapy and acupuncture treatments that incorporate yoga assist patients in meeting their physical goals and provids patients a way to find healthy lifestyle habits to pursue after treatment. Yoga is offered through small group classes and in private one-on-one sessions that are covered in a course of physical therapy. In each case, physical therapists and our highly skilled yoga teachers collaborate to meet each person exactly where they are.