“The idea is to die young… as late as possible.” ~Anthropologist Ashley Montagu
We can’t change our chronological age, but we can definitely slow down some age-related events. Yoga’s astonishing ability to moderate and even reverse the pace of aging is proven through multiple clinical studies.
Several studies have shown that a yoga- and meditation-based lifestyle may delay cellular aging, indicated by practitioners’ improved biomarkers for aging and longevity. And there’s great news about yoga and your brain: A recent clinical study measuring the brain’s gray matter concluded that a regular yoga practice protects against gray matter decline, potentially keeping you sharper for longer!
Better balance is just one by-product of yoga’s well-known ability to improve strength and flexibility, and that can mean fewer falls. On those occasions when you just can’t avoid a tumble, a regular yoga practice may help avoid breaks. That’s because yoga poses build bone density, with studies showing that yoga can actually reverse osteoporosis!
Breathing often becomes shallow as we age, and oxygen-starved tissues can result in muscle loss, inflammation and slower metabolism. Yoga’s breathing exercises increase your lung capacity, allowing more oxygen to reach every cell in your body. Controlled trials have concluded that yoga may also improve cardio-metabolic health by lowering the “bad” cholesterol LDL, and reducing abdominal obesity—a marker for heart disease. Deep breathing, meditation and yoga poses have also been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate and promote a feeling of well-being.
Several secretions of the endocrine system decline with age, including GH (growth hormone), which stimulates all body tissue including bone, and DHEAS, sometimes called the “youth hormone.” With age, levels of DHEAS, which acts as a neurosteroid, cardio-protective, anti-diabetic, and anti-obesity agent, can sometimes fall to 10-20% of that of young people. But a recent study revealed that practicing yoga and meditation significantly increases the levels of both GH and DHEAS in the blood, further proof that the practice promotes healthy aging.
Emerging research confirms that yoga and meditation can delay and even reverse some effects of aging. That’s good news no matter what your age is.