5 Best Yoga Exercises for Seniors
Most people over 50 think that they are too old for yoga, but the truth is you can practice yoga at any age. It is just a matter of choosing what type of yoga you want to do and practicing within your fitness abilities and health. Various studies also suggest that yoga exercises for seniors might even help them age better by keeping their bodies flexible and developing strength through low-impact and easy postures.
Benefits of Yoga Exercises for Seniors
Yoga is one of the best ways to stay healthy and active. It is a safe exercise option for the senior population, which helps them maintain their flexibility and balance, keep their muscles strong, restore bone health, and reverse age-related mental slowing down. It improves focus and reduces insomnia and depression. Therefore, yoga is an excellent option for seniors to gain physical and mental health. It is cost and time effective, too.
5 Yoga Exercises for Seniors
These five simple asanas are a great starting sequence for older adults looking to begin regular yoga practice.
1. Mountain Pose
The mountain pose helps with grounding through the feet and achieving balance. It’s a foundational pose that’s best suited for seniors to keep their legs strong and healthy while also improving their posture.
Stand straight with your big toes touching and position your heels together. Tighten your abdominals and relax your shoulders back and down. Breathe deeply while engaging your leg muscles as you ground through the feet.
2. Tree Pose
The tree pose is another great strength-building and balancing pose for seniors. This asana helps increase muscle strength and stability in the legs.
Stand with both your feet together and palms on your chest. Keep your gaze straight and hold a steady gaze to maintain your balance. Lift your left foot off the floor and slowly open your knee out to the left side. Place the sole of your foot on the inside of your right leg, shin or ankle (whatever is comfortable). Once you feel steady, move your arms above your head and hold the pose. Repeat the entire pose with your opposite leg.
3. Legs Up the Wall
Legs up the wall is a calming and restorative yoga pose that helps ease mild depression, anxiety, gut problems, insomnia, and menopausal symptoms. It also helps relieve tired and sore legs.
Lie on the floor in a way that your hips are touching the wall and both your legs are extended up on the wall in a restful position. Your back and shoulders should be on the floor and your head should also rest safely on the floor. Relax the rest of your muscles and allow your hands to be on your sides or your belly. Stay in this position for a few minutes and relax your body while focusing on deep breathing.
4. Warrior II
Warrior II pose in yoga helps improve bone density and develops lower body strength. This pose also gently stretches your inner thighs, groin, and hips.
Start with your feet hip-width apart and your arms straight on your sides. Turn to your right and step your right foot out 2–3 ft while positioning your heels in line. Turn your right foot to a 90-degree angle and raise your arms straight to your shoulder level on your sides. Slowly bend your right leg until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your left leg should be stable and straight at all times. Hold the pose, switch legs and repeat.
5. Butterfly Pose
Butterfly pose helps improve bowel movement and promotes digestion. It stretches the knees and thighs and also reduces joint pain and stiffness.
Start in a seated position with your knees bent. Press the soles of your feet and interlace your fingers around the side of your feet. You can also place your hands on your shins or ankles. Elongate your spine and widen your chest. Move your shoulders back and downwards and stay in this posture for a few minutes.
Regular practice of the aforementioned poses can potentially help seniors lead healthier and more fulfilling lives, in terms of emotional and physical well-being. These asanas will not only strengthen the muscles but also improve mental stability and allow the older adults to be independent.
Although yoga helps to make the mind and body strong, offering a plethora of benefits to seniors, it is not a substitute for medical treatment. Therefore, it is important to start the practice only after consulting a doctor and practicing the asanas under the supervision of a certified trainer.