Yoga can help us all stay active and agile and might be the key to preventing falls as we age.
One of the major problems that create injuries with aging is falls. If we can reduce the number of falls, we can have a positive impact not only on individuals, which is very important, but on health care costs as well.
The power of yoga helped a devoted students, Elly Rotheim, prevent a fall on a recent vacation.
“While hiking around Mt. Rushmore, my daughter and I decided to try and get closer to the base of the sculpture. We hiked up the 250 man-made steps thinking we could make the complete loop to the other side. Unfortunately, it was closed, so we had to come back the same way along the natural stone steps. The area was busy with tourists and I was not able to hold onto the railing. Thinking I had cleared the step, my hiking sneaker caught the edge of a stone, and I tumbled up to the flat part. As I was falling, I remember thinking, “Relax, keep your core strong, and fall gently.” I landed on my open hand and right knee. Nothing cracked or broke. The only injury beside my pride was a little scraped knee. I was able to recover quickly from that stumble and I feel confident that I reduced the probability of injury from the fall due to my weekly yoga classes. The possibility of falling could have caused mega damage to me and to my bank account, as we were told the only way to get out in a medical emergency is a $12,000 helicopter ride. So I am very thankful to Lynn Burgess for her teaching expertise.”
Burgess says, “In many of our classes at Yoga from the Heart we focus on core stability and strength along with balance work .” Burgess has also added a Chair Yoga class to the offerings at her studio. These classes – in which the poses are completely supported – have opened doors to people who didn’t think yoga was for them. “Each week we have people who say, ‘I can’t do yoga. I don’t have good enough balance. I am not flexible.’ ” People who were afraid of a more traditional class, she explains, are now enjoying chair yoga.
And it’s had results already. Jill Schwartz, a longtime yoga practitioner, has been attending Chair Yoga classes after taking a fall at home. “The classes show me how out of alignment I have become since the fall. I feel more aware of how I need to be mindful of my posture throughout the day and that has really helped my neck and shoulders,” Schwartz said.