Join us in a conversation with James Lake MD. Dr. Lake has served as a clinical assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at Stanford, and is currently a visiting assistant professor...
Can Seniors Do Yoga?
My mother, who’s 91, goes to the senior centre twice a week for her exercise class. She often stays on for lunch with “the girls” after class, but the other day she asked me to pick her up from the centre and drive her home.
I arrived about half an hour early, so I waited outside the room for a while. But then my curiosity got the better of me because I could hear lots of chatting and gales of laughter coming from the room. I couldn’t resist it – I opened the door a little and peeked inside to see what was going on.
It turned out that the instructor was teaching the class a few yoga moves! Go figure – I’d never realized that my mother was going to yoga class twice a week! While I watched, the instructor led them through some gentle yoga exercises, focusing on breathing and balancing techniques, while making sure that the ones who needed chairs for support had them readily available. I felt ridiculously proud when I saw how well my mother was doing with the poses and gentle stretching. Rock on Mumsie!
When the instructor ended the class with the Savasana, I heard more than a few seniors mutter “Okay, at least I can do this one!” When the instructor – with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek – told the class that another name for the pose was the “corpse pose,” everyone broke out into laughter, with one senior commenting “Well, no wonder I can do this pose!” and another chiming in with “Who needs to practice this pose? We’ll have more than enough time soon!” Feisty bunch, these seniors!
When the class broke up, Mum saw me hovering at the door. “Come and meet my instructor” she said, so I dutifully went over to introduce myself (even at the age of 52, I find myself obeying my mother immediately). I mentioned to the instructor that I was taking yoga classes regularly and recognized that the poses she was teaching the seniors were yoga-based. She said she was a firm believer that a person of any age could benefit from gentle yoga practice, as long as they were doing it correctly to minimize any risk of injury. “Maybe you and your mother can do some of these stretches at home together,” the instructor suggested.
That’s a great idea. I’m always looking for things that Mum and I can do together – and practicing yoga together will be awesome and beneficial for both of us.
So off I go to find a DVD that can incorporate a gentle yoga practice for Mum and me. Any suggestions?
[tags]yoga for seniors, yoga for 91 years old, yoga instructor, practice at home[/tags]