Jana Long is a yoga therapist, wellness educator, meditation facilitator, mentor, and managing director of Power of One Yoga School of Ayurveda & Meditation Arts, and cofounder and government director of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance. She is the writer and editor of Yoga as a Peace Practice, a curriculum and social motion that brings contemplative apply to people and communities impacted by violence. She evokes and empowers individuals 60 years and older to revitalize their our bodies and spirits with yoga practices specifically designed with getting old our bodies in thoughts.
In 2008, I used to be a 56-year-old director of stories know-how providers within the newsroom of the Washington Post and commenced to listen to rumors that retirement buyouts can be provided to pick staff. The whisper was that this spherical of buyouts would deeply minimize the workforce. I noticed the writing on the wall and gave critical thought to my future.
By the top of the primary quarter of 2008, the speak of buyouts reworked from rumor to actuality. With 19 years on the job, I used to be eligible. The time had come, and I used to be prepared for my pink slip. I made a decision to show this transition into a chance to comprehend a few of my goals, which included educating yoga. I had already begun to construct the bridge to this new life. In 2005, I had accomplished a 200-hour yoga instructor training and earned an Ayurvedic practitioner certification.
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Finding My Audience
In the midst of the piles of retirement papers and literature, I discovered a flier that had come within the mail a few certification program at Duke Integrative Medicine, targeted on educating yoga to seniors. I used to be in search of my voice and id as a yoga instructor, and I adopted my instinct and registered for this system. The training at the moment was a three-part collection that started with lectures and workshops and culminated within the alternative to design and implement a six-week practicum or anecdotal analysis challenge.
For the practicum, I selected to show yoga to sufferers experiencing important tremor (ET), a neurological dysfunction my mom developed in her late 70s. ET is involuntary shaking or trembling of the arms, voice, and head. ET differs from Parkinson’s in that it’s principally seen whereas the physique is shifting. In Parkinson’s illness, tremors occur extra at relaxation. At age 78, my mom was organizing residents within the lively senior group the place she lived and serving to to advertise the venture amongst her neighbors. Fourteen ladies, who ranged in age from 68 to 88, signed up for 75-minute periods as soon as every week for six weeks. Our theme was yoga for stability. The practices targeted on spinal alignment in standing and seated Tadasana (Mountain Pose); the bandhas, particularly Mula Bandha (Root Lock) to strengthen the pelvic flooring; joint openers for the entire physique; and a variety of chair-assisted postures. I additionally launched them to primary pranayama reminiscent of Dirgha and Ujjayi, guided yoga nidra (yogic sleep), and tense-and-release practices for rest.
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The impression of the yoga postures on my mom’s important tremor was negligible, however I found that the guided meditation and rest methods helped her really feel extra able to controlling the tremors. She started to pause, take a breath, and are available absolutely current to the second earlier than taking motion. I continued to show yoga to seniors in that group for a full yr.
The practicum served as the inspiration to supply extra yoga courses in different senior communities. I had discovered my area of interest. In 2009, I related with the School of Continuing Education Senior Institute, which is a part of the Community College of Baltimore County, and commenced to supply a category referred to as Yoga Therapeutics for Seniors. Over the years, I’ve added extra courses, and my scholar rosters are full. This yr I have fun my 10-year anniversary educating yoga to seniors. I’m doing one thing I really like as a second profession, and I management my day and schedule. Even higher, I share the apply of yoga with my friends to maintain us very important as we get older.
Yoga’s Healing Power
Research has proven that hatha yoga, or the bodily apply of performing postures, helps older individuals stay useful and lively. Yoga provides a comparatively protected method to encourage motion and rest, promote joint health and adaptability, restore stability, enhance power and stamina, and supply a level of ache administration. Studies additionally present that yoga will help enhance arthritis, diabetes, insomnia, depression, and different circumstances that come up with growing older. The contemplative features of meditation help stress administration and domesticate peace of thoughts.
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My courses for seniors are rooted in my firsthand information of what it feels wish to be in an growing older physique. I understand how it feels to be completely high quality in the future and the subsequent day really feel aches and discomfort with none clear indication of what shifted in your physique. Older our bodies additionally thicken across the center. This is pure, and consuming salad just isn’t going to vary it, so in my courses we’re free to breathe deeply and loosen up our bellies. As an older yoga instructor of older individuals, I respect the connectedness yoga has introduced into my life and the group that surrounds me. I’m grateful to supply an area of consolation, security, and acceptance the place we’re free from judging eyes and the place we honor the inevitable modifications that include getting old. Older individuals, myself included, reminisce about the best way we have been, and though we’ll by no means return to the identical youthful vigor we as soon as had, yoga restores us in order that we will stay extra vibrantly as we age. We depart our egos on the door. Yoga for older individuals, just like the sequence on the next pages, is foremost about sustaining performance and a basic sense of well-being.
Learn More from Jana Long about Teaching and Practicing Yoga for Seniors:
About the writer
Jana Long is a licensed yoga therapist and a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider. She can also be author, a licensed Master Gardener, and an ardent scholar of astrology. Learn extra at powerofonecenter.com.