Gentle Yoga for Seniors: Relax Your Neck and Shoulders (Part 2/8): FREE 46-Min Practice!
As a woman over 60, are you alarmed at the slump in your shoulders? Have the upper shelves at the grocery store become a stretch too far? Does a painfully stiff neck account for your straight-ahead view of the world?
If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, we have some great news! In the second of Sixty and Me’s FREE Gentle Yoga for Seniors videos, yoga trainer and teacher Cat Kabira focuses on restoring flexibility to your aging shoulders, neck and jaw.
Even better, she does it without a single one of those impossibly intimidating poses. If this sounds like the kind of yoga for seniors you could love, read on!
Have You Been Carrying the World on Your Shoulders?
As women in our 60s and beyond, we’ve seen more than our share of challenges. Nurturing families, choosing to stay single in couple-centric world or managing successful careers and then starting all over in retirement all take a physical and emotional toll.
If you add the time we spend hunched over our computers or smart phones to years of storing stress in our necks and shoulders? It’s only natural that so many of us have trouble turning our heads or lifting our arms.
And that’s where Cat’s low-stress, limit-respecting approach to yoga can help.
Yoga After 60: “Staying Within Your Limits Is the Best Thing”
When it comes to yoga for older adults, Cat is the voice of experience. She’s studied under teachers in their 70s and 80s. And in her 14 years as an instructor, she’s understands how yoga can overcome the effects of aging on our joints.
As she puts it, “From stress, through habit over time, we have our shoulders lifted up towards our ears. So a really great habit is to start to learn how to train our muscles and slide the shoulders down away from the ears.”
Has disease or injury has hampered your flexibility? Cat has them covered! Early in her career, one student approached her complaining that a rare illness prevented her from twisting, bending or raising her arms above her shoulders.
After running out of other answers, her doctor had recommended painkillers. Cat’s advice? “It’s okay. Show up, do what you can, breathe. If you focus on your breath with your body and you don’t push yourself, if you really just stay within what feels right, that’s the best thing.”
About a month later (and without any special coaching), the student was raising her arms and twisting. As she told Cat, “I just did what you said! I just breathed, did what I could and suddenly I stated to get all this other movement!”
And four more months later, she managed a headstand!
If You Need Props, Use Them!
Right now, doing a headstand may be the last thing on your mind. But that’s the point! In this video, you’ll hear again and again how important it is to stay within your body’s limits. If you need a strap (or belt, scarf or sarong) to link your hands behind your back, use it!
Cat’s suggested variations on the movements accommodate varying degrees of flexibility. As you learn to breathe properly, your core and ribcage muscles will start “shouldering” their fair share of the load.
You’ll train your shoulders to relax downwards as your shoulder blades fold back into their natural alignment. You’ll start feeling taller and lighter.
And eventually, your straight-ahead view of the world will simply mean you’re staring down your next adventure!
How do your shoulders and neck exhibit age-related stress? What have you been doing to counteract the problems they cause? Please share your thoughts about letting your limits dictate your yoga practice in our conversation!