Reply
Community Manager
Community Manager

5 Surprising Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is everywhere these days, and there's a reason for that! It provides copious amounts of health benefits and comes in a variety of levels and styles to suit any age or mobility.

 

Here are 5 surprising health benefits that come from practicing yoga:

  1.  Research shows that yoga offers a better way to ease depression and anxiety than walking as a form of exercise.
  2. It helps ward off age-related cognitive decline in important areas of the brain.
  3. Yoga poses and meditation also boost recall ability and other cognitive skills, according to a study published in the May 2016 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  4. Adding yoga to migraine treatment may be more effective than medication alone at reducing the severity and frequency of these often incapacitating headaches.
  5. Yoga can be used as a tool for healing past trauma.

Learn more about the health benefits of yoga and find additional ways to manage stress and deal with life's setbacks with Staying Sharp®, an award-winning brain health program and an AARP member benefit.

 

Do you practice yoga? What benefits have you found from your practice? Share your tips and experiences with others now!

0 Kudos
24,308 Views
17
Report
Contributor

is there a yoga app (free perhaps) you can recommend? thanx

0 Kudos
795 Views
1
Report
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @mdct26 - I recommend the free yoga videos from AARP and I also really like Yoga with Adriene on youtube.

0 Kudos
371 Views
0
Report
Contributor

At the time I found yoga, my pulmonary function was at 36%, my Psoriatic arthritis wasn’t too bad, but my fibromyalgia and Raynaud’s were making life difficult.  Shortly after starting yoga, using a book I found in a bookstore, I noticed quite an improvement in the Raynaud’s; I assumed due to the increased circulation.  After nine months, a recheck of my PFT showed 96%, my doctor was overwhelmed, saying 5at it was an incredible turnaround, and great for anyone let alone for a 43 yo asthmatic with an underdeveloped lung !  My rheumatologist is adamant about the benefits of yoga for arthritis.  It has the added benefit of quieting my mind, a few poses before bed and I sleep much better.  The practitioner has total control over how they practice; gentle, or degrees of strenuous.  Just the fact that one is getting in touch with how their own body works, and feels, is empowering because they know that they are at least acting to take control of their health.

Community Manager
Community Manager

Thank you for sharing your experience with yoga @sjrostorfer5. I'm glad it has been so helpful and therapeutic for you!

0 Kudos
1,139 Views
0
Report
Periodic Contributor

I haven't done yoga routines in several years, but I do remember the principles applied to the asanas (poses,) which help me significantly, e.g., holding, calming, breathing, attending to changes. I have been developing arthritis in my upper back and shoulders, for which I now  do a lot of the mountain pose (tadasana.) One of the principles of classical yoga is the duration of holding, which seems not to be a concern when yoga routines are taught today. I think many people would benefit by holding various routines for much longer than taught in routines. I frequently hold tadasana for 2-3 minutes, and attending to the minute changes that occur, which I believe trains my brain to remember correct spinal alignment. Just a thought. Specialization on certain asanas that target individual issues may be as important as overall flexibility and strength. One's past history has an influence also, as I seem to have retained much of my fitness from my days of distance running as well.

Periodic Contributor

Oops, I noticed a mistake. I meant to say, "...would benefit by holding various poses for much longer than taught in routines." @sjrosterfer5 -- Your story is amazing, and especially so, because your yoga is self-taught! Experiment with hold your poses for longer durations, and pay attention to the minute changes that happen, that even observing instructors will not be able to see. I think you will learn a lot about your own body that no one else will be able to teach you.

 

I remember at my previous job, a co-worker was helped in moving her residence, by another worker almost twice her age. She told me she was exhausted, but Victoria was tireless. I mentioned it to Vic, and she said simply, "I do yoga."

Contributor

Agreed my yoga class flow goes too quickly for deep stretches. I now also have a regimen at home with longer time for each asana.

Community Manager
Community Manager

I agree that there are amazing benefits to holding poses and that a lot of yoga doesn't focus on that @rtimai. It's almost like we've taken yoga and mimicked it to more reflect how we move through life since everything is so fast-paced these days, which is why flow classes are everywhere. I have found some styles that do focus more on holding poses - restorative, iyengar and yin yogas focus on alignment and holding poses. These styles are more gentle and very meditative while focusing on proper form and promoting relaxation.

0 Kudos
2,153 Views
0
Report
Regular Contributor

A yoga friend and I were speaking about the holding of poses just this week.  She is a real go-getter and I am impatient, and we both neglect to give our asanas sufficient time.  It's really good to hear your affirmation of the value of holding poses - even (especially) "simple" ones like tadasana.  Thanks for this!

 

Periodic Contributor

@AARPRachelA and @Smilinglady -- Thank you both for your response. I'm exploring, I suppose, "obscure modalities" in fitness training. I also do squats in super-slow motion as suggested by a T'ai Chi instructor, 30 seconds down, 30 seconds up. Even just five reps (5 minutes!) a day actually changes my walking stride. And I'm surprised that I don't have the muscle soreness that I would have had in my 30s and 40s. Don't know why that is... Have to get ready to go to work now...

Contributor

I've become much more flexible and feel great. This is something I never thought I'd do in a million years. I also swim a mile four days a week, tread water for half an hour afterwards and ride my bike on the GAP trail when the weather cooperates. I love being retired and doing what I want!!!

Community Manager
Community Manager

What a wonderful routine you've curated for yourself @KarenH630230!

Newbie

Been practicing yoga (hatha and vinyasa) for more than 15 years, started in mid-40s. It's the one "exercise" program I've been able to stay with as it's more than that - it's now my way of life.  I will never be without it!  Benefits for me:  keeps me trim and toned, with well defined, strong muscles.  Has improved my posture, balance and gait - I am very aware of how I move and my spatial presence.  Yoga has aided my concentration, mindfulness and relaxation, and has challenged me physically in a fun, safe manner - I could never do a handstand in youth - now at 63, I'm so excited to be able to include handstands and other fun arm balances in my practice!  Met tons of great friends through my studios, and with COVID, we've been able to sustain practice through live ZOOM classes offered from my studio.  Yoga is for everyone - there's a practice to suit all, from beginners to pros, gentle seated stretches to more vigorous aerobic routines.  Visit more than one studio to find a good fit with really good instructors.  Namaste, baby!

Community Manager
Community Manager

I love how you mentioned that yoga has made you more aware of how you move and your spatial presence. That resonated with me @Hubcatz 

0 Kudos
3,942 Views
0
Report
Regular Contributor

I've done decades of race/speed walking, some 10 years of Tai Chi for seniors, and several years of yoga.  Each has aspects I especially appreciate:  the walking is aerobic and gets me (and the dog) outside; the Tai Chi enhances fluidity and flow (both inner and outer); yoga stretches and strengthens.  Of course they all overlap in improving breathing, balance, posture, and focus, along with awareness of inner being, the immediate environment, and the connection between them.  All are adaptable to individual abilities and limitations.  All can empower healing and personal growth as well as maintain wholeness of being.  I have used each for all their benefits and sometimes with particular goals in mind.  I like yoga best for upper body strengthening, and the wide variety of poses that make it both adaptable and challenging. 

 

Now, as aging has made low back issues chronic, I am no longer able to forward bends and asymmetric poses, and I especially value the many poses that remain from which I can build sequences.  I am also increasingly appreciative of chair yoga as an option for anyone who chooses it.  One does not have to become a pretzel to benefit from yoga, but one does have to take responsibility for one's body and choose movement that both fits and encourages one's health.

13,496 Views
1
Report
Community Manager
Community Manager

Wow @Smilinglady, you've been quite active! I will try Tai Chi at some point eventually. I'm always enamored when I see folks doing it. It looks very meditative.

0 Kudos
9,115 Views
0
Report
Gold Conversationalist

Yoga keeps you looking and feeling Great. Yoga keeps the mind Sharp. Yoga is a Stress relief. Say yes to Yoga

Racquel Evans
cancel
Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Users
Announcements

Ask the Expert: Social Security

Discuss your thoughts about the 2022 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment with AARP experts - and ask a question to earn 50 AARP Rewards points. Join the discussion now.

Test Your Knowledge, Score Big. New Game Each Day!

AARP's new Right Again! Trivia game - part trivia, part puzzle, all fun! Special opportunities for AARP Members and Rewards participants. Play Now.

AARP Right Again! Trivia

AARP Rewards

Activate AARP Rewards to earn points for games, quizzes and videos. Redeem for deals and discounts. Get started with AARP Rewards now!

AARP Rewards Badge

Music and Brain Health

From soft jazz to hard rock - discover music's mental, social and physical benefits. Learn more.

Music and Brain Health