Balance

Written by Panorama resident, Charles Kasler. August 2018

We held our annual Summer Solstice gathering in the Pea Patch, keeping watch for the last hour of light on the longest day. It was very pleasant sitting and walking among the flowers. I taught a balance workshop in August with simple home practices to help prevent falls. Fall/winter will bring more gatherings: a meditation retreat, a mindfulness introduction workshop, a New Year’s Eve silent meditation, and maybe a New Year’s Day class. We have a rich and close community of yoga/meditation students here at Panorama, open to all residents. I think of it as a silent support group.

Connie at the Activity Fair

Summer Solstice in the Pea Patch

People sometimes think their injuries, illness or limitations prevent them from joining a yoga class. Not at all! We adapt movements to each student. Yoga is for everybody, seniors especially. We’re all in this together, teachers included. That’s a beautiful part of yoga at Panorama – we live together, we’re friends and see each other outside of class as well. In addition, we care for and support each other as we go through different challenges. That’s the true spirit of yoga beyond a movement practice.

People are living longer, even as the body declines. We need to stay active in order to live independently. As we age, we lose muscle mass and strength and reaction time is slower, affecting balance. Our reflexes and coordination also slow down with age. A third of people over 65 fall each year. At 80, half of the seniors fall each year. Falling, not osteoporosis, is the strongest risk factor for fractures. In addition, some people fall and aren’t seriously hurt, but can’t get back up. Falls can be reduced by up to 50% with balance training. Over the years, many yoga students have reported that their practice has improved their balance, and sometimes averted a fall. Yoga develops mental clarity and concentration, as well as improved body awareness and control. The two go hand in hand. While age is a risk factor, a person who is healthy and fit effectively has a lower chronological age, leaving them less susceptible to falls and fractures. Yoga can help us age gracefully with improved quality of life.

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