Yoga Helps Your Balance
How long can you stand on one leg in Vrksasana, the tree pose, with your eyes closed? Have you noticed that as you practice, you can hold the pose for longer periods of time?
A new randomized, controlled trial indicates that Yoga helps us to improve our ability to maintain balance as we age. That’s important to prevent falls – and thus injuries like broken bones.
In the study, 54 people with a mean age of 68 were randomized to either participate in a 12-week Iyengar Yoga class held twice a week or to be in a control group not doing Yoga. Both groups received a fall prevention handbook. The Yoga program was focused primarily on standing postures.
At the end of the study period, participants doing Yoga were able to hold a one-legged standing posture with eyes closed significantly longer than controls. Other measures of balance, like the sit-to-stand test, also improved in the Yoga group significantly more than in the control group.
The hope is that by improving our ability to maintain balance with Yoga, we will be less likely to fall down (and suffer serious consequences like fractures and head trauma) as we age. It’s one more reason to feel good about enjoying our Yoga sessions!
Tiedemann A, O’Rourke S, Sesto R, Sherrington C. A 12-Week Iyengar Yoga Program Improved Balance and Mobility in Older Community-Dwelling People: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 Jul 2.