Yoga for Better Balance
Whatever your age, yoga and Ayurveda are meant to enhance your wellbeing and help you live with ease and age gracefully. This winter's yoga series focuses on healthy aging, and one of the areas we focus on is: balance.
Physically and anatomically speaking, balance refers to our ability to maintain a stable position.
According to Baxter Bell in his book Yoga for Healthy Aging, our ability to balance is reliant on the health of various systems and factors in our body:
- Our vestibular system functions alongside our visual system to provide us with a sense of balance and awareness of our body positioning.
- Our somatosensory system allows us to sense the world around us.
- Our proprioception provides us awareness of where our body is in space.
- Our postural reflexes automatically kick in to prevent us from falling and are dependent on our strength, flexibility and agility.
As we age, some of these systems may start to decline. Some of these changes are a fact of the aging process such as the fact that the functioning of our inner ears gradually declines as we age as does the vision for most older adults. As we age, muscle atrophy can cause loss of strength over time. Muscles and joints become stiffer with age which affects our range of motion. Wearing shoes over time can affect the sensitivity in our feet, making the feet stiffer, weaker, and less sensitive. A more sedentary lifestyle can lead to reduced proprioception over time.
Fortunately, a little bit of yoga every day or a few times a week can really help adults maintain and improve balance.
This is how yoga helps:
- For starters, we do yoga barefoot which encourages our feet stay to stay strong and supple and helps us improve our sense of touch and strengthens our proprioception.
- Yoga is a practice of continuous mind-body awareness, a practice that keeps our sense organs sharp.
- Standing poses strengthen our bones and muscles so that we can more confidently engage in activity.
- Balance poses (such as including tree pose, half-moon pose, and more) practiced on a regular basis are tremendously useful at helping individuals improve their balance. Balance poses improve our proprioception, sense of touch, postural reflexes, reactivity, as well as our focus and confidence.
- Yoga positively affects focus and confidence which are key inner resources for maintaining balance on and off the mat.
Interested in joining a yoga class?
All Levels classes are suitable for beginners, experienced practitioners and everyone in between. In each class, you can expect modifications so that you can customize the class to fit your specific needs, level of comfort, and experience.
Learn more and sign up here.