Warrior Works Wonders for Anti Ageing!

Warrior on the beach

Yoga keeps the mind and body young, 22 clinical trials show

(Reposting of Article Published Tuesday 4 June 2019 in Medical News Today)
A review analysing the results of 22 randomized clinical trials has found that yoga practice can improve many aspects of physical and mental health among older adults.

Yoga can be an effective option for older adults who want to maintain good physical and mental health.
Yoga refers to a series of mind-body practices that originate in Hindu tradition.
However, they are growing in popularity across the world as an alternative well-being practice.
Statistic show that in 2015 in the United States alone, as many as 36.7 million people practised yoga, and by 2020, estimates suggest that this number will have increased to over 55 million people.
People who practice yoga often share anecdotes regarding its beneficial effect on their mental and physical health. Intrigued by such reports, some scientists set out to verify whether the benefits are real.
Indeed, some studies have found that different yoga practices are able to improve a person’s general sense of well-being, as well as various aspects of their physical health.
For example, a series of studies from 2017 suggested that people who joined a yoga program experienced lower levels of anxiety and depression.
A study from 2016 found that practising yoga correlated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment in older adults, and research from earlier this year concluded that 8 weeks of intense yoga practice reduced the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Now, investigators at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom have conducted a review, analysing the findings of 22 randomized and cluster-randomized clinical trials that assessed the benefits of yoga practice for healthy older adults.
The trials considered the effects of varied yoga programs — with program durations between 1 and 7 months and individual session durations between 30 and 90 minutes — on both mental and physical well-being.
‘Yoga has great potential’ to improve health
In the review, which features as an open access article in the International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, the researchers conducted statistical analysis to assess the combined findings of the 22 trials. They compared the benefits associated with yoga with those of other light physical activities, such as walking and chair aerobics.
The team found that among people with a mean age of 60 years or over, practising yoga — compared with not engaging in physical activity — helped improve their physical balance, flexibility of movement, and limb strength. It also reduced depression, improved sleep quality, and boosted their vitality.
Also, the researchers noticed that older adults who practised yoga perceived their own physical and mental health to be satisfactory.

When compared with other light physical activities, such as walking, yoga seemed to more effectively improve older adults’ lower body strength, enhance their lower body flexibility, and reduce their symptoms of depression.
“A large proportion of older adults are inactive and do not meet the balance and muscle strengthening recommendations set by government and international health organizations,” notes Divya Sivaramakrishnan, the review’s lead author.
However, yoga can be an easy, adaptable, and attractive form of physical activity, and since the evidence suggesting that it can be beneficial for health is building up, joining a yoga program could be a good option for older adults looking to stay in shape — both physically and mentally.
“Based on this study, we can conclude that yoga has great potential to improve important physical and psychological outcomes in older adults. Yoga is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases.”

Published Tuesday 4 June 2019 Medical News Today
By Maria Cohut, Ph.D.
Fact checked by Jasmin Collier
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325374.php

IKIGAI – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

ikigai

 

This is a beautiful little book that I got for Christmas. The authors spent time interviewing people (mostly over 100 years old and still leading active lives) to find out what keeps them going. It seems that having a purpose in life is one of the most common themes in these long livers. Finding what makes you happy and throwing yourself at it wholeheartedly! Doesn’t sound like a bad idea does it?

I’m quoting an excerpt here to give you an idea – but totally recommend reading the whole book – it doesn’t take long 🙂

“The ten rules of Ikigai

1 Stay Active; don’t retire. Those who gave up the things they love doing and do well lose their purpose in life. That’s why it’s so important to keep doing things of value, making progress, bringing beauty or utility to others, helping out, and shaping the world around you, even after your “official” professional activity has ended.

2 Take it slow. Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life. As the old saying goes, “Walk slowly and you’ll go far.” When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.

3 Don’t fill your stomach. Less is more when it comes to eating for long life, too. According to the 80per cent rule, in order to stay healthier longer, we should eat a little less than our hunger demands instead of stuffing ourselves.

4 Surround yourself with good friends. Friends are the best medicine, there for confiding worries over a good chat, sharing stories that brighten your day, getting advice, having fun, dreaming… in other words, living.

5 Get in shape for your next birthday. Water moves; it is at its best when it flows fresh and doesn’t stagnate. The body you move through life in needs a bit of daily maintenance to keep it running for a long time. Plus, exercise releases hormones that make us feel happy.”

For the remaining 5 rules you’ll have to get the book and read them yourself!!

8 anti-aging benefits of regular yoga practice

Age means nothing in yoga. Our bodies, if kept healthy and happy will go on and on, it’s something that even scientists are coming to agree with. The practice of yoga doesn’t have to take over your life, make you eat vegetarian or grow your hair long.

Whilst there are some things that improve with age – decision making, empathy and happiness, there are a lot of things that do change as we get older that are not for the better; it doesn’t have to be that way.  And it’s never too late to start… just so long as you make a commitment to practice regularly, little and often is the key.

1 Arthritis

Problem – painful joints (especially hands and knees) can make us feel really stiff and creaky – making us grumpy as it hurts to do things we used to get pleasure from.

How Yoga Helps – gentle regular movements help to bring synovial fluids to the joints making them feel more flexible and reduce swelling which relieves tension and pain.

2 Osteoporosis

Problem – as we age our bone density decreases which means our bones are more likely to crack if we fall.

How Yoga Helps – weight bearing exercises help to increase bone density. Although the gains are relatively small, these gains along with the improved muscle tone and balance can help to negate the effects of osteoporosis.

3 Insomnia

Problem – as we age we need less sleep and can be woken with the need to go to the loo.

How Yoga Helps – Gentle stretching and rhythmic breathing techniques can help to induce sleep. Relaxation exercises learnt in a class environment can prove very useful and help us get a full night of restful, healing sleep.

4 Blood Pressure

Problem – High blood pressure is a common ailment affecting us as we age due to reduced elasticity of blood vessels and the decreasing ability to process dietary salt.

How Yoga Helps – The regular practice of deep breathing and gentle physical exercises helps the tissues of the body to remain healthy and elastic. Attending classes helps people to look after themselves, be with like minded people, feel supported in adopting more positive approach to diet and lifestyle.

5 Hormonal Changes

Problem – menopause can cause debilitating disruption to life with wild mood swings and temperature fluctuations.

How Yoga Helps – relaxation techniques and gentle flowing posture work practiced daily can help to decrease symptoms.

6 Myofascial Tightening

Problem – a decrease in collagen produced by the body causes a loss of flexibility in our muscles and connective tissue, this leads to stiffness, tension and imbalance in the body.

How Yoga Helps – gentle, regular stretching keeps the body’s soft tissue fluid and flexible.

7 Ligament Tears

Problem – tears are common in stressed and overused ligaments of the knee joint, shoulders, hips and ankles.

How Yoga Helps – by strengthening the muscles around these joints the stress is reduced on the ligaments and the joint is able to retain it’s healthy use. There is a saying in yoga ‘use it or lose it’ and the best way to keep joints moving is to keep joints moving.

8 Core Strength and Back Pain

Problem – pain is caused by nerves being squashed by unsupported vertebrae. Gravitational forces and poor posture will continually cause vertebrae to want to move downwards. The only way to keep the spine in correct alignment is to support it with strong muscles. There are many spinal issues that can arise as we age – narrowing of the spinal canal, herniated, bulging or slipped discs – all cause back pain which is commonly managed with pain relief tablets.

How Yoga Helps – gentle work to strengthen the back, core muscles (and really the whole of the body from the feet to the eyebrows) will help the back to be supported by muscle and bring about correct alignment to the spinal column.

There is only one rule that you need to know in a yoga class “the posture should be steady and comfortable” – so if you are steady and comfortable you are doing it right. Some people may wish to stand on their heads, some may want to tie themselves up like a pretzel and that’s OK so long as it’s steady and comfortable for them. If standing on your 2 feet with the back in good alignment is what you do at your first yoga class – so long as it’s steady and comfortable then you are doing yoga that is right for you. Your practice is just that – your practice. Don’t delay – you can begin today – see my free online yoga exercises here

 

Yes, You Can Start Yoga In Your 70’s!

I first took up yoga when I was 73!!

I found the stretch and relax class at Preston Village Hall (Tuesdays 7 – 8) perfect for me – not too much strenuous exercise.

The breathing and gentle exercises helped with my sleeping and relaxation at the same time as strengthening my muscles and bones.

My aching fingers and wrists have vanished!!! I can’t believe it!!!

Margaret, Uppingham

Growing Younger with Yoga

This book by Louise Wiggins is a very accessible book for anyone to pick up and use – in fact it would make a great gift for someone who was thinking about yoga but wasn’t convinced that the practice was for them.

It is such a wise book that I can’t help returning to it for inspiriation again and again…

“Yoga Teaches… We are as young as the spine is flexible. Old age begins when we allow the spine to stiffen.”

Besides many pages of postures and routines for arthritis, relaxation and bouncing back from illness, Louise includes plenty of testimonials from people 70- 80+ about how yoga really has given them a new lease of life. There are very compelling reasons for practicing a daily routine of yoga plus recipes and tips on healthy diet too.

“Biologists agree that our biological age potential is about 130! That means when we reach the age of 65, we are really only middle aged!

If we expect to remain active and strong as we age, we will. If we succumb to the belief that we grow frail and weak as we age, we will.  Our thoughts and beliefs hold great power over our biology and our growth.”

I thoroughly recommend it for you and for you to give as a gift to someone you love.

YOGAFIT 9th Jan – 17th Feb 2017

bhujangasana

This term in yogafit we’ll be exploring Bhujangasana – the cobra pose. Following exercises to warm up the whole body, we’ll be working with several other postures to put together a flow. This will incorporate the cobra in a safe and effective way to continue to develop core strength – the goal of our practice for this year.

This class is suitable for all levels of fitness with no need for experience of yoga – it’s a great place to begin. You will need your own mat and a blanket or 2 for the breathing sessions at the end.

For more information or to book your place contact us here

Make no bones about it…

dancing-skeleton

Yoga is one of the best things you can do for your bone health.  From the age of 30 we all begin to lose bone density. It is important to begin to take exercise and diet seriously if we want to prevent the weaknesses associated with loss of bone density and the limitations that will come along with it. In the beginners yoga classes this term we are having a user’s guide to the skeleton which includes a variety of teaching methods including a close analysis of a Crunchie bar! As well as doing postures that will improve bone strength and relaxation exercises to release tension we are taking some light hearted anatomy lessons. If you are interested in finding out more about why yoga is so good for your bones there is a great article here (and why not join in a class if you aren’t already?)

New Yoga Classes Come to Ryhall Village Hall

There is a saying about yoga ‘Whatever Age You Begin To Practice, You Stay…’

Why not put it to the test and join one of my new classes?  You too can halt the march of time and reap all the benefits of this ancient form of health care!

The 2 new classes will begin on September 7th, ‘Beginners Yoga’ 11.45 – 12.45 and ‘Yoga Fit’ 6 – 7. This is a great opportunity for people new to yoga to ‘get in at the start’ and learn with like minded people about the postures, breathing and relaxation practices.

‘Beginners Yoga’ will focus on the systems of the body. Each half term we will take a look at how our body works and what exercises we can do to improve the function. Beginning with the Skeletal system in September and then moving onto the Muscular system, Cardiovascular system, Digestive system, Respiratory system and Nervous system. Each class is in fact an all round practice working on the body and mind, but with its particular focus holding your attention and building up your knowledge of yourself and yoga throughout the term. The posture work takes around 40 minutes and we take a relaxation exercise for the last 15 minutes. Relaxation is a key part of yoga, aiding the body in bringing it to harmony and allowing time and stillness for healing. The whole class lasts for 1 hour and is suitable for all levels of fitness.

‘Yoga Fit’ concentrates on the physical elements of yoga, getting the body to function and flow with grace as nature intended. This year we will be focusing on the core. Each term we will look at a variety of yoga postures (asana) learning about correct alignment and the benefits of each pose. As we become familiar with the postures they are linked together to form a graceful flow or vinyasa. This is performed several times during the class in tune with the breath. The class lasts for an hour with the final 5 minutes dedicated to a relaxing breathing exercise.

If you are not familiar with Ryhall Village it is a couple of miles from Stamford along the road past Sainsbury’s. It takes about 5 minute by car, passing the new football ground, then 2 mini roundabouts and finally turning into the village on the right hand side. A minute later and the village hall faces you with the tiny library opposite. There is ample car parking directly in front of the hall, and what makes it super for yoga is that the hall has a foyer and then a large space with wooden flooring and wall lights. The space is ‘womb like’ giving you a feeling of escape from the world outside.

If you are interested in either class, or know someone who may be, please contact me for more information or to book your place.

Yoga For Your Face

eye exercises

In the Stretch and Relax classes this term we’ll have some time dedicated to our faces…. working with the muscles around the eyes, mouth and neck yoga can be used to literally give yourself a ‘facelift’.  By toning the muscles of the face and giving them a ‘workout’ we improve the contours underneath the skin which can help to reduce fine lines and sagging. The circulation of blood and oxygen is improved and toxins are removed; giving a healthy glow to your skin. Don’t underestimate the power of our relaxations on your face too – 15 minutes of deep relaxation is said to be as valuable as 4 hours of sleep… and they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing!

We will of course be working around the whole body with exercises some old favourites (Trikonasana) and some new poses (Dwikonasana) to give you a complete practice ending with a deep relaxation.

These classes take place

Monday Tinwell 7.15 – 8.15

Tuesday Preston 8 – 9

Wednesday Ryhall 6 – 7

The term runs from Juse 6th to July 22nd and the cost is £42. If you would like to sign up for this course please do get in touch asap and I can let you know the availability.

New Hobbies Improve Your Memory

lady with camera

An interesting piece of research undertaken by Dr Denise Park, neuroscientist in Texas University shows that learning something fairly challenging as a hobby – digital photography for instance – caused overall improvement of memory with long lasting effects.

It is said to work by strengthening the connections between the parts of our brains – keeping all the areas in communication with each other and in good working order. The more complex things we learn the more different aspects of our brains have to work together.

The other aspect found to help our brains is exercise – in fact gentle exercise 45 minutes, 3 times per week is said to increase the volume of the brain assist its function.

All in all the research demonstrated that by keeping learning NEW things and exercising our bodies regularly we can remain healthy and help to ward of mental and degenerative diseases.

Well I was very pleased to hear this as I’m always seeking out new things to learn and teach!

Perhaps this is one of the reasons yogis tend to live long lives. Yoga has a very large scope of practices and philosophy to maintain the interest… from physical exercises to help keep arthritis at bay to learning a new language (Sanskrit) and all the history, anatomy and physiology to boot.

Other suggestions from the study included knitting, quilting and bridge. I would add playing a musical instrument, joining a choir, painting and drawing (esp good for the eye sight) and joining a book club.

Read more about Dr Parks study here