If you asked most people to list the benefits of yoga, “getting flexible” would be a popular answer. After all, the image – some would say the illusion – of a yoga practitioner is a young 20-something person twisting herself into a pretzel.

In reality, the benefits of yoga, especially for seniors, go way beyond flexibility. As I hope to convince you here, few activities can improve the quality of your life as much as yoga.

Here are 4 ways that yoga can improve your life that have nothing to do with flexibility.

Getting Comfortable in Your Body

As we get a little older, it often feels like our body is something that we drag around with us. Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit, but, I for one often feel like an 18-year-old trapped in a 60-year-old’s body. Do you feel the same?

One of the benefits of yoga for older adults is that it helps us to reconnect with our bodies. This is not just a matter of self-esteem or self-acceptance. We need our bodies to explore the world and pursue our passions. Yoga helps you to understand where your aches and pains really are. More importantly, it gives you the tools to fix them.

Quieting Your Mind and Reducing Stress

Someone once told me to think of my yoga practice as a “moving meditation.” I love this idea! In today’s hectic world, it’s hard to find the time (or patience) to sit down and meditate. Yoga offers a wonderful way to calm your mind, while enriching your body.

According to Harvard Medical School, yoga helps to modulate the body’s stress response, smoothing out the peaks and the valleys, until we feel balanced.

As older adults, we face so many temptations when it comes to stress relief. In reality, most of these, such as alcohol or cigarettes, only dull the pain temporarily. Yoga offers long-term stress relief. Best of all, it’s free!

Improving Your Balance

If we’re honest, most of us older adults don’t care about getting more flexible. What we do care about is having better balance. Why? Because the better our balance, the more confidence we have to explore the world. After 60+ years on this planet, there are so many things that I still want to see. The last thing I want to have to think about is whether a potential trip is “too active” for me. Do you feel the same?

On a related note, yoga is one of the best activities that you can learn now in order to avoid falls in your 70s or 80s. In the U.S., according to the CDC, 700,000 people a year are hospitalized for fall-related injuries. Investing in our bodies today can help us to avoid accidents tomorrow.

Building a Better Social Life

Do you know what’s better than starting your yoga journey in your 60s? Starting your yoga journey in your 60s with a group of friends! One option, of course, is to find a local gym that offers yoga classes. Unfortunately, many of us are a little intimidated by the idea of doing yoga in front of a room full of strangers.

If this sounds like you, why not get 1 or 2 friends to come over to your place every week for a gentle yoga session? Or, if you are married, why not convince your husband to join you?

At the end of the day, gentle yoga is one of the best activities that you can engage in if you want to get the most from life after 60. I hope that you will start your yoga journey today. You won’t regret it!

Do you want even more inspiration? Please check out these 8 Things I Learned About Yoga After Spending 8 Weeks in Bali.

Have you tried gentle yoga? What benefits have you experienced from your yoga practice? Please join the conversation.

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