Seniors Celebrating International Yoga Day at The Ivy

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When Bianca Syriac planned the Yoga & Tai Chi on the Green event, she expected it would take place on The Ivy at Ellington’s gorgeous front lawn. The weather had other plans. Despite relocating the event to the assisted living community’s activity room, the event was a success, bringing together residents, family and friends, seniors, and community members to celebrate International Yoga Day in June.

Connecting with Community

When Syriac, the Marketing Director of The Ivy at Ellington, was planning the event, she reached out to all the local yoga studios. “Community involvement is a huge piece of everything we do at The Ivy,” she says.

Jen of Breathe More Yoga (where The Ivy at Ellington Executive Director Lindsay Redin regularly practices) and Lori with the Indian Valley YMCA hosted gentle yoga classes. “I knew I had to get Lucky involved, too,” Syriac says.

Lucky’s parents — Ruel and Adela — have been part of The Ivy at Ellington community for about two months. “But it feels like they have been a part of our family for a lifetime,” Syriac says. “They so quickly got involved in our activities and socials and just made themselves at home with our staff.”

A tai chi instructor with more than 40 years of experience, Lucky started leading tai chi classes at the assisted living community after his parents moved in. “He was 100 percent on board [with the event] before he even knew the details,” Syriac says.

 

Celebrating Yoga & Tai Chi

In addition to residents and staff, about 15 community members participated in the event — and the activity room ended up being the perfect place to host the celebration.

It was quiet and tranquil, with the lights dimmed and calm soundscapes playing,” Syriac says.

Adds Lucky: “It’s a very clean and bright facility, so it has a great vibe. And not just in the community room, but the entire facility is conducive to a positive feeling, which is healthy.”

Diffused throughout the room were essential oils — lavender for calming and relaxing energy, frankincense to improve attitude, and orange for some uplifting energy. Refreshments included strawberry basil and cucumber dill infused waters, bananas, and granola bars.

Syriac participated in both yoga classes, but her favorite part of the day was covering the front desk for the receptionist, Cindy, so she could participate in Lucky’s tai chi class. “She had been wanting to learn more, and International Yoga Day was a perfect opportunity,” Syriac says. “You could tell by her smile afterward that she had a very rewarding experience and she was eager to learn more about the tai chi practice.”

 

Maintaining Strength, Flexibility, and Balance 

The benefits of yoga and tai chi for seniors are countless. There is growing evidence that these mind-body practices have value in treating or preventing many health problems.

“Yoga and tai chi help us focus on the mind, body, and soul,” Syriac says. “It is a time to reflect on feelings and center yourself.”

Tai chi also addresses key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.

“I had one student who was going to quit my class because he said he wasn’t coordinated and his balance sucked,” Lucky says. “I responded with, ‘But that’s why you’re here!’” He stuck with it and ended up being able to participate in even more challenging tai chi classes, Lucky says.

Although Lucky’s parents haven’t taken one of his classes yet — “I think they probably would feel awkward, so I don’t push it,” he says — their fellow residents certainly enjoy it. Seniors don’t have to wait for International Yoga Day to participate. Lucky plans to visit at least once a month to lead tai chi and chair tai chi classes for the community.

If your loved one would benefit from this gentle form of exercise, stop by The Ivy at Ellington to participate in an activity and see what it’s all about or schedule a tour today.

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