Is yoga the key to anti-aging?
The word “yoga” is Sanskrit and has many translations, including “union.” The practice originated as a philosophy to unite mind, body and spirit through breath control, meditation and physical postures. Today mounting evidence suggests that there are major age-defying benefits-and one key to reaping them is that the younger you start yoga, the better. “While you can take up yoga at any age and see a benefit, the earlier you start-and the more consistently you practise it over the years-the greater the effects,” says Dr. Timothy McCall, a doctor of internal medicine in the San Francisco Bay Area and the author of Yoga As Medicine.
One of the major anti-aging benefits of yoga is how it helps you learn to manage stress, a risk factor in age-related illnesses ranging from heart disease to depression. But don’t expect one or two classes to magically make you cool and composed-it takes time to change the way you react to stress. “We know that the way the brain can change itself is through repetition of any activity, thought, word or deed over a long period of time,” says McCall. “So even a short yoga session every day has far more benefit than a longer practice once a week.”
Here are some more ways yoga can help you live a healthy, happy life now, and well into old age-plus some simple postures to practise every day: