As we grow older, a number of things seem to happen - we get less flexible, our sense of balance decreases, and our blood pressure rises. Yoga can help with a healthy lifestyle ...
Yoga appears to have a fantastic effect on all of these aging problems. Yoga increases flexibility dramatically, improves balance, and has a positive impact on blood pressure (probably because of deep breathing and reduced stress). Yoga also helps achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Yoga is based on doing any exercise within your capacity, never straining, holding your extreme posture for a period, and repeating the same actions several times. Over time the posture you can achieve becomes better, and you will be amazed at how your flexibility and balance increases. Deep breathing exercises are especially valuable in dealing with high blood pressure. So, yoga and a healthy lifestyle are a natural combination.
Never push yourself when doing yoga. Improvements come from being kind to yourself!
Try these exercises:
Deep Breathing - sit on the floor in a comfortable cross-legged position. Make circles with your thumbs and middle fingers and put your hands on your knees. Breathe out, trying to empty your lungs of all air, then slowly breathe in to fill your lungs as deeply as possible. Imagine you are pouring the air into your lungs, filling them from the bottom to the top. Raise your shoulders slightly to expand your lungs even more. Count slowly as you breathe in up to a count of ten if you can. When the lungs are full, hold the breath for a count of three (gradually increase to a count of ten as you feel able). Slowly breathe out to empty your lungs completely. Imagine you are now pouring the air out of your lungs, emptying your lungs from the top to the bottom. Count slowly as you breathe out up to a count of ten if you can. Repeat three times (increase to five times as you feel able, and more if you wish). I usually begin my yoga routine with five deep breaths, and end it with another five.
Deep Breathing and Balance - stand with your feet slightly apart and your hands at your side. Breathe out to empty your lungs of all air, then start breathing in slowly. At the same time, gradually and slowly raise your arms to the side and above your head, and lift your heels of the floor until you are standing on tip toes with your hand touching above your head. Count slowly as you raise your arms and feet, to a count of ten if possible. Hold the position and your breath for a count of three (gradually increase to a count of ten as you feel able). Slowly breathe out and lower your arms and feet back to a standing position, again to a count of ten, if possible. Repeat three times (increase to five times as you feel able). If your balance does not permit you to stay on your tiptoes for a count of three, stay for a count of one, or return to the standing posture immediately. Over time your balance will improve and you will be able to hold the position.
Balance - stand with your feet slightly apart and your hands at your side. Breathe naturally. Slowly raise your arms in front of you as you raise your heels from the ground, until your hands are at eye level. If possible, remain in this position for a count of five (gradually increase to a count of ten as you feel able) then return to a standing position. Repeat three times (increase to five times as you feel able). If you cannot hold the position for a count of three, hold for a count of one, or simply return to the standing posture immediately. If you are more comfortable, do this exercise within reach of a wall, so that if you feel concerned about your balance, you can steady yourself against the wall.
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