Yoga and Meditation Can Slow Aging: Here’s How to Get Started

It’s well known that yoga can help you improve flexibility, increase strength, and find mental clarity. But many people don’t know that yoga can also slow down and even reverse the harmful effects of accelerated aging and stress on the body and mind.

In a study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, researchers found that 12 weeks of yoga slowed cellular aging. The program consisted of 90 minutes of yoga that included physical postures, breathing, and meditation for five days a week over 12 weeks. 

Researchers measured biomarkers of cellular aging and stress before and after the 12-week yoga program and found that yoga slowed down markers of cellular aging and lowered measures of inflammation in the body.

How Yoga Slows the Aging Process

Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and people of all ages, gender, ethnicities, and body types can (and do) do it. Its accessibility, inclusivity, and effectiveness are what have made yoga remain in popularity.

The two core principles of yoga are strength and relaxation:

  • Yoga keeps you strong and limber
  • Yoga contributes to healthy joints
  • Yoga calms and trains your breathing
  • Yoga calms your mind

Strength and relaxation are the keys that will help you slow the aging process and potentially reverse muscle loss.

The Different Types of Yoga

There are many different types of yoga and all are beneficial. The type of yoga you choose will depend on your interests, abilities, and goals. 

  • Hatha yoga is slow moving and best for beginners.
  • Vinyasa yoga is considered the most athletic. The movement is coordinated with your breath and you flow from one pose to another.
  • Ashtanga yoga is a very physically demanding sequence of postures and designed for an experienced yogi.
  • Yin yoga is more meditative. It’s slow paced with seated postures that are held for longer periods of time.
  • Restorative yoga focuses on winding down from a long day and relaxing your mind.

There’s also power yoga for strength training, hot yoga for a sweaty, intense practice, and even prenatal yoga for expectant mothers!

As long as you go to yoga classes regularly and eat a balanced diet, you can know you’re doing your best to slow down the aging process for your health, mind, and muscles.

Yoga Classes for Anti-Aging

With yoga’s popularity, there’s really an endless number of ways you can get started: taking classes online in the comfort of your home, perusing a book before getting started, or joining a class in your community. Below are a few suggestions to help you on your wellness journey.

As with any physical regimen, we recommend consulting with your general practitioner first to evaluate your physical condition. Remember to ease into it and don’t hesitate to modify poses or use props like straps, blocks, walls, or chairs for additional support.

For readers

Yoga for Healthy Aging: A Guide to Lifelong Well-Being by Baxter Bell and Nina Zolotow

Authored by the cofounders of the Yoga for Healthy Aging blog, this book offers information about how yoga can help older adults improve their flexibility, strength, agility, balance, and more. It outlines a variety of safe, easy-to-follow sequences and includes multiple variations of each pose.

For practicing in the comfort of your home

Chair Yoga Stretch for Beginners, Seniors, and Everyone by SeniorShape Fitness

YouTube has a wide collection of yoga videos specifically for seniors. Here’s one by SeniorShape with Lauran, an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified fitness instructor with a specialization in senior fitness.

For joining in your local community

Super Seniors with Judy Pearson at Germantown United Methodist Church

Germantown United Methodist Church offers a variety of yoga classes at their Owings Life Enrichment Center on West Street. On Thursdays at 10:00am, they offer a yoga class specifically for seniors. You can call (901) 753-3100 to learn more.


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