Why Yoga Benefits Balance and Prevents Falls
As we get older it’s common to experience issues with balance. Changes in our bodies are the cause of this instability, like declining vision, slower reflexes, reduced muscle mass, and degradation of the inner ear vestibular system. When balance becomes an issue, you may be at risk of falling — which can cause serious injury. In fact, falls are a leading cause of hospitalization among people aged 65 and older. We need to take action to prevent falls. And, you can improve your sense of balance and reduce your risk of falls as you age.
It’s simple — by staying active, you can help your body remain agile and adaptable. The kind of activity you choose is important, since improving balance requires exercise that builds both strength and flexibility. Yoga is an ideal activity for preventing falls, since it maintains and increases your sense of balance.
Yoga postures build both strength and stability while also stretching and often lengthening muscles, giving you the kind of flexibility you need for optimal balance. This wonderful low-impact activity is possible to start doing at any age, even if you’re a beginner.
Yoga is an ideal activity for fall prevention, since it maintains and increases your sense of balance. Over time, your core strength will increase, your coordination will get better, and you’ll gain confidence.
Yoga for Balance and Preventing Falls
In 2015, a study funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia found that by regularly practicing yoga, people ages 60 and over can safely and effectively improve their balance and mobility. Through practice of basic standing and seated yoga postures, participants in the study developed better balance without adverse effects.
By practicing yoga once or twice per week, you may begin to notice incremental gains in your balance and mobility. In the study, researchers found that most participants began to experience improvement in two to three months. They also found yoga to be an approachable activity for seniors of all abilities. With the help of a certified yoga teacher, you can practice yoga for balance safely and effectively. Yoga teachers can give you the support you need while you’re working to improve your balance, and offer adjustments where needed.
What types of Yoga Improve Balance?
To improve balance, it’s important to practice standing, seated, and prone positions. Hatha and Iyengar yoga are two examples of well-rounded styles of yoga that include a wide range of yoga balance poses, and will give you the structural foundation you need to feel steady and stable. And if you are new to yoga, you may want to start with a Gentle Yoga class.
If your sense of balance needs improvement, some standing postures may prove challenging for you. However, there are ways to give you support with the use of props — like yoga blocks, straps, and chairs. For many people with stability issues, Chair Yoga is a convenient way to integrate yoga into your life without risking injury. Over time, your core strength will increase, your coordination will get better, and you’ll gain confidence. And before long, your overall stability and mobility will be vastly improved.
9 Yoga Balance Poses to Improve Balance and Prevent Falls
We know that yoga improves balance, and that it’s important to practice standing, seated, and prone positions to get the full benefits of yoga. Balance isn’t just about strength, after all. It also requires flexibility and good coordination. So, what yoga poses are best to use as fall prevention exercises? I like to teach the following eight poses in my classes at MyYogaTeacher.
In this pose, you practice standing on one foot, which not only builds strength, but it also teaches both your body and brain to balance.
The classic standing pose of Mountain builds awareness and strength. It is a wonderful pose to practice anytime (and anywhere) you need to feel more stable.
Warrior I and II
These standing poses increase strength and balance, as well as flexibility and range of motion.
Triangle offers an added dose of stability and flexibility through engagement of the legs and hips.
More than simply inspiration for a social media challenge, Plank is a floor pose that builds core strength, helping you develop the structural support you need to maintain balance.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog activates the hamstrings and uses your hands on the floor for balance, engaging both your shoulders and your hips.
Yogi squat is another great way to work on your stability, since it requires that you shift your weight and adjust in order to balance.
This essential standing pose builds core strength, and engages both your glutes and your quads.
Practice Cultivates Balance
Through regular practice of these poses, you can gain better balance, and improve your flexibility and mobility in just a few months. A steady yoga routine will also give you greater physical and mental well-being, helping you live a healthier, longer life. #
Shikha Sood teaches Hatha Yoga at MyYogaTeacher and has over 500 hours of certified yoga teacher training. She is passionate about the transformative power of yoga and its importance for mental and physical wellbeing. She is determined to share her knowledge and experience of yoga to help people discover its wonderful healing benefits and get relief from stress brought on by a modern lifestyle.