Does yoga have any anti-aging benefits?

Submitted by Allan on January 28, 2013
Yoga as a health system has been in practice for more than 5,000 years. It developed in India and has been continuously practiced over a millennium as a way of keeping both the mind and the body healthy. Recently, however, interest in yoga has increased in the West, not only because of its benefits to bodily health but also because of its benefits to the mind.


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Especially for older people, yoga has shown to be one of the best ways of arresting the negative effects of aging.

There are a number of reasons for this, and we will deal with them one by one.

  • The poses help to increase flexibility.

    One of the biggest problems with aging is that the body loses its flexibility as we age. Our range of movement reduces, and even our joints start creaking and groaning when we put them to any unaccustomed work. A number of studies have showed that most of this degeneration is due to the lack of activity in older people, rather than any direct effect of age. Yoga not only ensures activity, but also puts the body through its full range of movement, ensuring that you retain all your movement well into old age.
    In addition, you not only get strong muscles, but you also relax the muscles, which is very important for people who chronically get muscular pain due to excessive contraction of the muscles.
  • Yoga helps in cardiovascular health.
    A number of studies have showed that the specific form of muscular resistance that is the hallmark of yoga is the best for cardiovascular health. In fact, recent studies have showed that yoga is even better than doing aerobics for heart health. This is because yoga helps us release tension, and a number of studies have showed that stress affects the mind as well as the heart and is one of the biggest factors that make us look older. Practicing yoga even a few times a week ensures that our minds are relaxed and people with chronic lower back pain and headaches have marveled at the relief provided by yoga.
    Another benefit of yoga is that along with our muscles, the various poses stimulate our different organs, setting right any small defects and helping them work well. Many people who have taken up yoga long term have even found that they have smooth skin and shiny hair, benefits that have not so far been directly connected with yoga.
  • Pranayama is a different form of meditation.
    Pranayama or the yoga of breath is supposed to be practiced along with the yogic poses. This mind control not only has a direct bearing on the health of our bodies, but also on our minds. You release tension with the practice of pranayama and you have a calm mind throughout the day. Having a calm mind ensures that you have a positive attitude and lots of energy, once again helping you negate and reverse the process of aging.
  • Are there any specific anti-aging yoga poses?
    No studies have been made to specifically study the benefits of some poses over others, and so we cannot recommend any specific poses for anti-aging benefits. Most studies have been broad spectrum, and they have all confirmed that any form of yoga is beneficial, and has an anti-aging effect, across all age groups.

One of the biggest benefits to yoga is the spine exercises that almost work like acupressure self-massage. Since the spine is one of the first affected by age, this facet of yoga alone makes a big difference. Yoga practitioners stand taller and straighter at a much older age than people who do not, and apart from the confidence that this brings, the feeling of good health just cannot be duplicated by anything else.

The only restriction on the poses that you can do is based on your expertise level. This is why it is important to learn under a reputed practitioner, so that they can recommend poses that are best suitable for your age, health condition as well as expertise levels.

This is important because although the practice of yoga is totally safe, there are some health conditions where you need to be careful. For example, people who have an existing heart condition, glaucoma, sciatica, etc. need to be careful. Pregnant women too need to exercise caution and restrict or avoid certain poses, although the practice of yoga as such is very good during pregnancy.


Yoga is fast catching on as one of the best forms of exercises for older people. Even when compared to other Eastern forms of exercise, yoga is still considered by many to be the best. Yoga gurus have lived well into their nineties with full retention of all their functions and have even managed to astound the world with their physical prowess at such an advanced age.


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