A sunset behind the silhouette of a hand turned upwards in meditation

Yoga and meditation can have many surprising impacts on both your mental and physical health.

Yoga and meditation typically go hand-in-hand and have been around for thousands of years. They've been used as an alternative form of exercise to keep the mind and body healthy and happy. Practicing yoga improves balance, endurance, flexibility, and strength, while meditation helps keep the mind sharp, relieves stress and anxiety, and can strengthen your immune system.

Following a few simple poses, breathing techniques, and positive coping skills can help retirees manage stress, improve mental clarity, manage chronic conditions, and promote a healthier lifestyle. With so many health benefits linked to these traditional practices, many retirees are taking notice and incorporating these techniques into their lifestyle.

Check out these ten surprising benefits of yoga and meditation.

1. Treats Back Pain

An older woman sitting on her bed at home and grabbing her lower back

Studies have shown that stretching exercises help ease lower back pain.

Believe it or not, doing a few yoga poses throughout the week can help with chronic back pain. Studies have shown that stretching exercises and poses have improved spinal flexibility and helped ease lower back pain problems in people after just one week of yoga.

2. Helps With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Closeup on older male arms holding a pained wrist affected by Arthritis

Iyengar yoga has been shown to help people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Iyengar yoga, which is a type of yoga that uses blocks, belts, and other positioning props, has been shown to help people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Hot yoga, like gentle yoga, has also been shown to help because of its slow, easy-paced poses and movements that benefit the joints, bones, and muscles.

3. Cures Hangovers

An active adult woman relaxing on a yoga mat

Yoga can detox your system and get you feeling fresh much faster.

While you may not want to move or get out of bed when nursing a hangover, experts say that doing yoga can detox your system and get you feeling fresh much faster. Certain yoga poses like “plow,” “bow,” or “shoulder stand” work on the thyroid gland, which improves the metabolism to kick those toxins out of your system.

By reversing the blood flow and bringing more circulation to the brain, your body will create balance and spring back to life. Plus, not only are you getting rid of your hangover faster but also blasting fat and cellulite.

4. Improves Heart Health

A group of active adults participating in a yoga class outside

Yoga is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

When it comes to heart health, retirees need to be wary and maintain a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. Thanks to yoga and meditation, keeping your heart healthy is easy. Studies have shown that yoga is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease because of its cardiovascular benefits that eliminate arterial plaque.

Meditation also helps lower heart rate and improve blood circulation. Meditating one time a day for ten minutes can help you relax, reduce stress hormones, lower your blood pressure, and allow for better blood flow.

5. Helps With Asthma

A yoga participant sitting cross-legged on a patterned mat with one had upturned on their lap and the other on their chest

If you suffer from asthma, then you might want to take up yoga. 

If you suffer from asthma, then you might want to take up yoga. Research has shown that adults with mild to moderate asthma who did an eight-week session of yoga combined with their regular meds saw a marked improvement. Pranayama is a type of yoga that focuses on breathing techniques shown to be especially effective against asthma.

6. Improves Digestion

An older man and woman practicing yoga while sitting on yoga mats in a park

Many yoga poses massage internal organs and help your digestive system.

If you have trouble with your daily fiber intake and can’t get things moving easily, practicing yoga can be a tremendous help. There are many yoga poses, twists, and moves that massage internal organs to help food move along in your digestive system.

Yoga also stimulates the lymphatic system that helps flush out toxins, making your body overall cleaner. Meditation can also help with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) by reducing the frequency of stress-related flare-ups.

7. Helps You Sleep Better

A senior man and woman sleeping peacefully

Meditation and breathing techniques also help clear your mind, allowing a good night’s sleep.

In order to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle you need to get enough rest so you can function the next day. If you have trouble sleeping or suffer from insomnia, yoga can greatly improve your sleep quality. Doing yoga twice a week helped people sleep better, reduce stress, and lower anxiety.

Meditation and breathing techniques also help clear your mind so you can relax and slow down your thoughts, allowing you the peace of mind to get a good night’s sleep.

8. Boosts Your Mood

A group of female friends smiling and walking along a path with yoga mats

Practicing yoga in a group setting stimulates the production of oxytocin.

Yoga and meditation have been linked with emotional health boosts. Studies have shown that yoga and meditation help improve cognitive-behavioral performance as well as aid with mood swings, menopause, schizophrenia, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

Practicing yoga in a group setting also stimulates the production of oxytocin, otherwise known as the love hormone, and it also produces more serotonin–the happy hormone. Combined, these hormones can dramatically improve someone’s mood.

9. Combats Migraines

An older woman meditating in lotus position at home

No one likes to endure the pain of a migraine.

No one likes to endure the pain of a migraine. That’s why it’s beneficial to practice yoga to fight them off. One of the recommended moves that alleviate migraines is the “bridge pose.” You lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-width apart on the floor. With your hands on the floor, press down into your legs and draw your hips up. The trick is to relax the tension in your muscles from your neck and shoulders, which can be misaligned or stressed from hunching over a computer or phone all day long.

10. Provides Mental Clarity

A senior woman sitting in front of an open laptop with her eyes closed and her legs crossed

Simple yoga practices and breathing techniques allow you to free your mind from “clutter.”

A healthy dose of yoga and meditation will keep your brain sharp and clear. Simple yoga practices and breathing techniques allow you to free your mind from the “clutter” that trickles down to your physical wellbeing. Slow breathing and yoga poses will help your memory and keep your thoughts more organized once you lessen your stress, anxiety, and negative thinking. Reaching a place of quiet peacefulness is the key to healthy memory function.

Apps to Help Start a Yoga Practice

Apps to Help Start a Meditation Practice