The Body is as Young as the Spine is Flexible
By: Joel Rosenblum, Yoga Enthusiast
I’ve always been in good athletic shape: swimming, gymnastics, racquetball, cycling and disc golf. Some of these sports resulted in minor and larger injuries. Add the injuries which I occasionally acquire at my construction type job…I knew I needed a safer work out with less chance of injury.
My Trainer and friends encouraged me to try a yoga class. The class was crowded with almost 60 people and I felt a bit awkward, but I enjoyed my first class, and took advice from friends and the teacher. It didn’t take me long to feel comfortable and relaxed. The teacher motivated me to stretch an extra inch and hold my pose a few extra seconds.
The exercises that I feel are important for me are balance poses. As we get older we are more vulnerable to falls, and since I’m on ladders and carry heavy materials, practicing balance poses help me minimize my chances of falling. Combine these poses with stretching, and strength exercises, I feel stronger and have more energy than I have in years.
Movement Minimizing Injury
Yoga gives me the benefits of exercise without the strain of weight lifting or intense cardio.
“Yoga helps people integrate an exercise program into their routine without some of the downfalls that you can easily come across in different training systems,” says Eva Norlyk Smith, PhD. “Yoga does offer strength training because you use the weight of your own body in many of the postures. But unlike regular strength training, because you’re not adding any weight, you’re less likely to get injured.”
Spark Your Brain
I like to say I suffer from CRS…Can’t Remember Shit. As we get older we must keep our sense of humor and do what ever we can to prevent memory loss. I work on cross word puzzles and sudokus regularly, but yoga has proven to be a more significant asset to sparking my brain than these other methods. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found a three-month course of yoga and meditation was more effective than brain training exercises for minimizing age-related memory loss.
“When your body functions better, you’re going to feel better,” says Eva Norlyk Smith, PhD “You’ll have more energy, more vitality, and most yoga practitioners will say that regular yoga practice helps even out one’s moods.”
We all know it…yoga increases our flexibility. But for some of us being flexible is very difficult. I could say it’s because I’m older, but the truth of the matter is I have never been overly flexible. Being able to twist, turn and stretch feels so right, so I take it slow and easy pushing myself to my limit but not over doing it.
“Yoga exercises parts of the body that may not be exercised in any other programs,” Eva Norlyk Smith, PhD says. “One is spinal flexibility… There’s a yogic saying that ‘the body is as young as the spine is flexible.’ I think that’s a reflection of the importance of keeping the spine pliable and keeping the circulation up in the spinal cord.”