Silver Age Yoga is a unique yoga discipline designed for seniors that combines hatha yoga and principles of gerontology. The program was developed by seasoned yoga instructors in cooperation with scientists—many of them yoga practitioners—from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD); the Stein Institute for Research on Aging, a department of UCSD; and physicians affiliated with Scripps Health San Diego.
Founded in 2003, the nationally recognized program is designed to empower seniors to take charge of their own health by addressing typical age-related health issues, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression. Meditation is used to address stress, while postures address flexibility, balance, strength and joint mobility.
Fitness professionals who want to work with this population need to understand the needs of seniors. While every discipline of yoga is based on the traditional hatha postures, the application and teaching of the postures vary from one discipline to the next (Iyengar, ashtanga, Anusara, Indra Devi, etc.). Silver Age Yoga differs from other styles in that it takes into consideration the limitations of the participants. For example, the same downward-facing dog that is performed on the floor in all other major yoga styles becomes a standing posture supported by a chair, wall, rail, etc. in Silver Age Yoga. This type of adaptation is evident throughout the entire portfolio of over a hundred postures.
Silver Age Yoga has earned substantial recognition and various awards since its inception. The innovative program received the Public Health Champion Award from the County of San Diego in 2008 and the Healthcare and Aging Award from the American Society on Aging, in collaboration with Pfizer, in 2007. IDEA will honor Frank and Serpil Iszak, founders of Silver Age Yoga, with the Inner IDEA 2008 Inspiration Award at this year’s Inner IDEA® Conference, which will take place September 11–14, 2008, in Palm Springs, California.
Close to 200 yoga instructors have gone through the training and certification program to share the Silver Age Yoga program with seniors. To learn more poses, breathing and meditation for seniors, attend Frank and Serpil Iszak’s workshop, “Silver Age Yoga,” at the Inner IDEA Conference. The workshop will teach instructors how to operate a Silver Age Yoga program in their own community; how to reach out to low-income seniors; and how to create a profitable and successful program for an underserved population.For more information or to register for the Inner IDEA® Conference, visit www.inneridea.com/conference/inner-idea-conference-2008.