By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Feb. 6, 2013

UNION CITY, Calif. – In Sanskrit, yoga means “union” or “yolk”. And in a small studio in Union City, Filipino seniors swear by the
benefits this ancient tradition of uniting the mind, body and soul.

“My back used to hurt a lot. I would wake up feeling lousy. But when I started yoga, the pain disappeared,” Emelie Aberin said.

“I used to have to catch my breath. Now, I don’t need to,” Ester Tan added.

“Once you do yoga often, your pains and body aches go away. I used to also take cholesterol pills but I don’t have to anymore, because of yoga,” Celeste Olivares added.

Their teacher, Evelyn Villa, who facilitates a class for seniors at Worlds Yoga said people need to take a break from their day-to-day to-do lists.

“People focus on just accomplishing their checklists for the day: their job, kids, family. It’s like they took care of everyone else but themselves,” she said.

She said yoga will teach people to slow down. Villa explained, “It’s the only practice where you feel your body and your heart. You quiet your mind, so your spirit moves with you. It’s a loftier expression of yourself.”

Villa said yoga is becoming more and more popular among seniors. In fact, a recent study published from the Yoga Journal shows that close to three million seniors are already practicing yoga in America.

Seniors can benefit from yoga because it improves energy levels, cholesterol levels, bone weakness, arthritis, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and pain. It also helps seniors prevent weight problems, diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

Seniors should not get intimidated by yoga. Villa said, it’s an exercise that can be done by anyone, at any age, at any level. There are modifications at every yoga position and it’s non-competitive.

“My seniors here, they don’t really look at the mirrors to see if their poses are perfect. They know better than to go inward, and go by what they feel,” Villa said.

You may contact Henni Espinosa at for more information.

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