ElderPride Connection: Relieving Stress and Aging Well Through Yoga

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The Center for LGBTQ Health Equity

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Yoga is for everyone, and it can have important benefits for elders seeking to reduce stress and anxiety and age better.

Tips for practicing effective, mindful, and mood-elevating yoga will be the subject of an upcoming ElderPride Connection virtual session hosted by The Center for LGBTQ Health Equity. The session is scheduled for Thursday, April 8 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. For details on how to join, visit www.chasebrexton.org/ElderPrideConnectionApril2021.

The session will be presented by Pamela Altemos, LCSW-C, a licensed yoga instructor and staff therapist Chase Brexton Health Care’s Behavioral Health team. We asked Pamela for a preview of the tips she’ll share during the session.

How does yoga help relieve stress and promote relaxation?

Through movement and breathing techniques, yoga reduces stress hormone levels by activating our body’s stress response system (i.e., parasympathetic nervous system). A stimulated parasympathetic nervous system calms the body and promotes rest and relaxation.

What part can yoga play in the current times, with many people feeling so much stress and anxiety?

In addition to reducing stress hormones, yoga incorporates a mindful awareness of the breath and sensations in the body. The combination of tuning into the breath while moving through yoga poses encourages a focus on the present moment. Through engagement in the present moment, we are able to observe anxiety-provoking thoughts (i.e., “what if, would have, could have should have”) and intense emotions without attachment.

What would you tell an elder who feels that they may not be physically capable of taking part in yoga exercises?

As I learned in my yoga teacher training, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga!” The principles of yoga promote non-judgment, acceptance, and accessibility. Poses may be easily modified to accommodate different physical and emotional needs.

What will your session include? Should participants be ready to get up and move?

The session will include an overview of the benefits of yoga and aging followed by breathing exercises and a sequence of chair poses (with options/modifications as needed). We will end with a meditation and a review of skills to practice for stress reduction and sleep.

For more about the April 2021 ElderPride Connection event, visit www.chasebrexton.org/ElderPrideConnectionApril2021.