Yoga for Better Balance

by Anne Dimon

California-based longevity clinician Dr. Ron Kapp, tells us that the new field of medicine called Geroscience, , has shown that achieving a long and healthy life rests on a foundation of strength, flexibility, and balance and he points out that “of the three, balance may be the most critical of all.”

Over his four decades of practicing emergency medicine, Dr. Kapp weighs in that approximately 25 per cent of all Emergency Room (ER) visits are geriatric patients, and a large proportion arrive at ER due to a fall. While some may break an arm, leg or ankle, he says the “unluckiest are those who break their hip because for the elderly, a broken hip is often life threatening.”

As more of us embrace the concept of “selfcare is the new healthcare” the book Yoga for Better Balance written by yoga teacher and retreat leader Howard VanEs, M.A (in Counseling Psychology) and Dr. Rick Harvey D.C. (Doctor of chiropractic) and published in 2023 by San Francisco-based Let’s Write Books Inc., is perfectly timed.   

Underscoring what Dr. Kapp has pointed out, the book’s Introduction refers to Older Adults Fall Data from the CDC:

  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury
  • More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, usually falling sideways 
  • Women fall more often than men
  • Women experience three-quarters of all hip fractures

Getting readers off to a good start, Chapter 1 outlines how to use the book, while Chapter 2 – titled Are You Out of Balance – offers a check list of various self-tests so you can identify for yourself if you have issues and need to work on improving your balance.  For instance:  Can you stand on one leg for 10 seconds? From a seated position do you need to use the chair arms to stand up?  Go ahead, try it now.   

Complete with photos of the various yoga poses plus in-depth explanations of each pose, chapters include a Short Yoga Practice for Balance, Full Yoga Practice for Balance and Lifestyle Adjustments to Improve Balance and Reduce the Risk of Falls. 

Interspersed throughout the book are uplifting quotes such as “The nature of yoga is to sign the light of awareness into the darkest corners of the body.” ~ Jason Crandell. And “Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.  ~ Amit Ray.   

Even if you are totally new to yoga, Yoga for Better Balance has options for all levels. 

On a final note, Dr. Kapp says, “Balance + strength + flexibility go a long way in preventing the dreaded consequences of falls.  As you practice your balance skills, your muscles and joints rejoice. Balance is a foundational key to wellness and longevity.

Yoga for Better Balance is available via Amazon

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Two other yoga articles you might find interesting:

Enhancing mental health with yoga
Seven reasons yoga is more essential than ever