True North Living: 18/2 Shorewood 18/2 - Page 5

As a yoga practitioner and teacher, I am often asked by people why they should consider doing yoga. There are many obvious answers that come to mind, but I find that it’s not as simple as saying “because it’s great for you!” W hy Yoga? I first sought out yoga for the same reason most people do: to feel better. I had turned 40 and my body was injured from running, my muscles had become less flexible, and I seemed to have more aches and pains than ever. The more I practiced, the better I felt and it became obvious to me that yog a is an incredible tool to combat many of our concerns associated with aging. Much research is available proving the physical benefits yoga has to offer, such as: • Improves and helps maintain muscle tone in all age demographics • Strengthens bones (that helps deal with arthritis and osteoporosis) • Improves sleep quality and ability to fall and stay asleep • Relieves stress and improves memory • Normalizes blood pressure and blood sugar levels • Creates an improved sense of body awareness which improves balance and reduces risk of falling 1451 Spruce Street, Florence, OR 97439 The physical benefits only tell part of the story, though. What I soon discovered after a few classes is that yoga offers so much more than a physical healing or benefit. It invites a balance of body, mind, and spirit giving the practitioner an improved self-awareness that can be carried with them throughout the day. For me, not only did my body feel better but yoga gave me the opportunity to self-reflect, finding more kindness, awareness, and self-compassion in my daily life. Not only did yoga make my body feel better, it also made my spirit feel better. My teacher once said “if you can breathe, you can do yoga,” and she is right. Yoga is not about standing on your head or twisting into pretzel-like shapes. It is adaptable to any age group or physical challenge. It can easily be incorporated into your daily routine and is particularly well-suited for older adults because of its low impact qualities. Yoga can even be done from a chair, and all the benefits are the same. So when people ask me “why yoga?,” I just smile and ask “how much time do you have?” • • • • • Carrie Gallahan has completed two 200-hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Trainings and has a Chair Yoga Certification. Carrie is also passionate about dementia education, keeping elders inspired and active, and preserving the stories and legacies of elders. She has worked in the assisted living industry for 15 years and is currently a Regional Director with Compass Senior Living. | 5