• Neelima

Try Yoga to reverse ageing

Ageing is the process of becoming older. This is considered to be a normal phenomenon that occurs in all members of a population. It is associated with physiological decline and inevitably accompanied by increased diseases, accidents, and stress. Ageing is a gradual, continuous process of natural change that begins in early adulthood. During early middle age, many bodily functions begin to gradually decline. People do not become old or elderly at any specific age. Traditionally, age 65 has been designated as the beginning of old age.

There are three kinds of ageing: biological, psychological, and social.

Biological ageing is the progressive decline in physiological ability to meet demands, that occurs over time. It is due to the accumulation of damage at the cellular level and the rate of biological ageing is determined by both environmental and genetic factors.

Physiological changes occur with ageing in all organ systems. The cardiac output decreases, blood pressure increases and arteriosclerosis develops. Lean body mass declines with age and this is primarily due to loss and atrophy of muscle cells.

Social ageing refers to changes in a person's roles and relationships, both within their networks of relatives and friends and in formal organizations such as the workplace and houses of worship.

Main Stages of Ageing as referred by experts are:

· Independence - During the first stage, you are self-reliant. You manage chronic health problems and disabilities on your own and have little need for help. You prefer independence.

· Interdependence - At the second stage, you become reliant on others like an adult child, a partner, spouse, or a friend for assistance

· Dependency - As you become more dependent for help with daily living activities like bathing, cooking, and shopping, you may experience a gradual, progressive decline in physiological functioning. At this stage, you're coping with multiple chronic conditions and pain.

· Crisis management - At this stage, the family stays in crisis management making it challenging and painful for everyone involved. Your physical health and mental conditions have declined to such a degree that you remain dependent on others.

· End of life - It's the time you need extensive personal help. At this period, family members and friends deal with the complex end-of-life decisions, which are painful.

Unlike the changes of adolescence, which are predictable to within a few years, each person ages at a unique rate. Some systems begin ageing as early as age 30. Other ageing processes are not common until much later in life.

Some of the common signs and symptoms of ageing are: (as per information provided by Harvard Health Publishing)

Increased susceptibility to infection

· Greater risk of heat stroke or hypothermia

· Slight decrease in height as the bones of our spines get thinner and lose some height

· Bones break more easily

· Joint changes, ranging from minor stiffness to severe arthritis

· Stooped posture

· Slowed and limited movement

· Decrease in overall energy

· Constipation

· Urinary incontinence

· Slight slowing of thought, memory, and thinking (however, delirium, dementia, and severe memory loss are NOT a normal part of ageing)

· Reduced reflexes and coordination and difficulty with balance

· Decrease in visual acuity

· Diminished peripheral vision

· Some degree of hearing loss

· Wrinkling and sagging skin

· Whitening or graying of hair

· Weight loss, after age 55 in men and after age 65 in women, in part due to loss of muscle tissue.

Some of the most common health problems in the elderly include:

· Heart disease.

· Osteoarthritis or osteoporosis.

· Respiratory diseases.

· It's estimated that 25 percent of adults age 65 and older have type 2 diabetes.

· Influenza or pneumonia.

· Vision or hearing loss.

· The risk for some types of cancer also increases as you age.

To look and feel younger, avoid stress which can increase the presence of oxidants in your skin, making you look older - Meditation, yoga, regular exercise, adequate sleep and rest are a must.

Anti-aging refers to slowing, preventing or reversing the ageing process.

Yoga is an excellent anti-aging tool, capable of relieving symptoms and in some cases improving medical outcomes. It doesn't matter where you're starting from or how old you are—movement and yoga can help.

Cortisol and stress levels are also reduced when practicing yoga, which helps your body to maintain less body fat and improve blood circulation to all our body parts adding to that glowing skin factor, which contributes to anti-ageing.

Some of the health benefits of Yoga for an ageing body are:

Arthritis - This causes pain in joints like hands, knees, wrist, elbow and finger joints, Regular yoga practice especially sookshamvyayam helps in improving flexibility and reducing inflammation and stiffness

Osteoporosis – This causes reduction in bone density and fragile bones. Regular yoga poses like Warrior I, II and III series , balancing poses, side angle pose etc help to build muscle strength and pranayams also help to keep the bones health better.

Back Bone and Spine weakness - Disc issues and Back pain limit the movement and cause radiating pains. Yoga can help build core strength and flexibility of spine

Body stiffness – With age body loses the flexibility and becomes stiff, Gentle regular stretching in Yoga helps in keeping the body flexible

Respiratory Issues - Yoga helps in keeping the lungs healthy and keep the respiratory problems in check

Blood Pressure - Yoga helps in keeping the blood pressure of body proper, as with age the blood pressure fluctuates more often

Sleep issues and insomnia - With age restlessness in night and sleeplessness is very common , Yoga and pranayama helps in relaxing the body , mind and helps in getting quality sleep

Pain Mangement - Therapeutic Yoga is very helpful in managing the pains due to chronic problems as one ages

Hormonal imbalances – in women menopause brings along many health issues which can be cured and controlled by regular yoga .

Some of the Yoga Asanas (general) which help in antiaging are:

· Warrior pose (Virabhadrasana)

· Forward bend (Hastapadasana)

· Tree pose (Vrikshasana)

· Downward dog position (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

· Seated twist (Bharadvajasana)

· Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)

· Plough pose (Halasan)

· Standing forward bend (Utthanasana)

· Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

· Sideangle Pose(Trikonasana)

· Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

· Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Facial exercises may significantly reduce some of the signs of ageing, wrinkles, dark circles, open pores, uneven and dry skin

If you do regular yoga, it keep you young, it not only gives you a strong and flexible body , correct posture and a strong spine and core to hold the body and keep it balanced and pain- free , it also increases your self- confidence and keeps the stress away with a good sleep and relaxed mind, your immunity increases and there is lesser need for medicinal intervention, there is lesser chance of getting lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, Alzheimer’s, heart diseases etc.

There will always be a huge difference between the ageing process of a person practicing yoga regularly and one not doing so. Yoga, pranayama and meditation, when done regularly with trained instructors, keeps one young at heart and allows one to age very gracefully. It is ri