Add a Few Minutes of Calm to Your Day
"When I looked at my client base - mostly boomers - I thought it would ring a bell with them," says Darby, who notes that her students want exercises to reshape their physiques, gain strength and improve flexibility.
They also seek something else: peace.
Many studies show that relaxation techniques such as meditation can help lower blood pressure, ease chronic pain and relieve stress. This makes yoga a powerful healing tool, says Beryl Bender Birch, yoga therapist and author of Boomer Yoga.
"Yoga is not about stretching, Yoga is learning to pay attention in the present," she says.
And that means taking time off from worrying about the job, the bills and the family. Instead, says Bender Birch, people should just "breathe -- in -- and out -- to calm the mind." (This is ujjayi breathing and it sounds a bit like Darth Vader.)
She offers these simple tips for adding tranquility into a hectic day.
- Take a yoga class: Look for a beginner session or get a tape and practice at home. Set aside 30 to 40 minutes for yoga and do it three or four times a week. "You'll become a little more flexible, more agile, more focused and calmer," she says.
- Relax in savasana or dead body pose: Lie on your back. Arms are by your sides with palms facing up. Legs are about hip width apart. Let the feet fall open. Close your eyes. Breathe. Bender Birch likes to listen to the gentle tinkle of Tibetan bells. Take about 10 minutes in this pose. It's OK if you fall asleep!
- Twist out tension: Sit in a chair. Put your right ankle on your left knee or as close to it as you can. Inhale and grab your right knee with your left hand. Lean forward slightly and take hold of the arm rest to your right with your right hand, then exhale and twist as far as you can to the right. Repeat on other side.
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