Legs Up The Wall Pose
A great way to end your gentle yoga practice is with this restorative, calming pose. Legs Up the Wall Pose can be helpful in relieving anxiety, mild depression, insomnia, digestive problems, varicose veins, menopausal symptoms, and tired legs.
- Place a folded blanket flush against the wall and sit on the blanket with your right hip touching the wall and your knees touching your chest.
- Shift your weight so your back and shoulders are on the floor, with your sitting bone against the base of the wall and lengthen your legs until they are extended up on the wall in a restful position.
- Let your head and chest rest heavily. Relax the rest of your muscles and let your hands rest on the floor or on your belly.
- Helpful Modification: If you have a belt or strap, create a one-foot loop and wrap it around the legs, mid-way between your ankles and knees. Allow the weight of your legs to be supported by the strap.
- Sit in this pose for 10 to 15 minutes, fully releasing and relaxing your body and focusing on deep breathing.
As you work through your yoga practice, keep in mind:
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Yoga For Seniors Promotes Your Overall Well
Yoga practice is a wonderful form of exercise at any age. Research shows yoga benefits your mental and physical health, helping to strengthen muscles, improve balance, lessen anxiety, improve depression, and decrease your risk of falls.
When beginning a yoga practice, find an in-person beginner’s class or follow along with online videos. Be sure to find a type of yoga that works best for you, looking for classes titled restorative, hatha, beginner, or chair yoga.
When starting any fitness routine, be sure to speak to your physical therapist or healthcare provider. In addition, be sure to schedule your daily Snug check-in so youre not just healthy, but safe. If your family member or friend opted to receive your daily check-in, they know you safely completed your workout and perhaps your newly-formed fitness routine will encourage them to start their own.
Yoga For Seniors: Gentle Exercises
In late 2016, news articles about 98-year-old yoga instructor Täo Porchon-Lynch hit the interweb, stunning the world with videos and photographs of the senior yoga teachers body twisted into yoga postures that many 20-year-olds only dream of achieving. Her secret? Ms. Porchon-Lynch has been waking up at 5 am and teaching yoga for the past 75 years! So maybe the secret to youth is not botox and firming cream
Ms. Porchon-Lynch is a testament to the power that regular yoga practice has in slowing down the aging process. While certain factors, such as genetics and environment, can indeed influence aging, our daily practices and lifestyle decisions, such as practicing yoga, can overpower potential genetic and environmental health threats. And one of the best ways to maintain health, as Ms. Porchon-Lynch demonstrates, is with regular exercise and yoga. In fact, yoga is one of the best options for seniors, as it is a low-impact exercise that can be modified to accommodate physical limitations. Yoga asanas tone the body, keep the hormonal system in balance, and refresh the mind and spirit, all of which allow the body to age with grace.
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How To Start Practicing Yoga For Seniors
Yoga practice increased dramatically in popularity in recent years, with the number of yoga practitioners raising from 20.4 million to 36 million from 2012 to 2016 according to the Yoga Alliance. In addition, there are more older practitioners than ever before, with over 14 million practitioners over the age of 50.
These numbers tell you that yoga is for everyone including older adults. With that said, you should always exercise caution when starting a new fitness program. Work directly with your doctor or physical therapist when devising an exercise plan, and work within your fitness level.
Here are a few yoga-for-beginners tips to help you get started:
Find a yoga teacher: Check your local library, YMCA or YWCA, or Silver Sneakers clubs for a list of yoga classes. You may be surprised to find free or discounted classes for seniors.
Follow along on YouTube: If you live in a rural area or somewhere that in-person classes are not available to you, follow along with yoga videos online. Below, we’ll share a few yoga videos for seniors.
Find the type of yoga that works best for you: Hatha yoga, restorative yoga, and yoga with chair exercises are usually more suitable for older adults because they’re slower paced. They involve holding poses for longer periods of time. Vinyasa, ashtanga, and power yoga are fast-paced yoga practices, with inversions and other advanced movements.
Evaluate Your Physical Condition
While people of any age can get started in yoga, some movements are not advisable for folks with certain medical issues. For instance, people with glaucoma should avoid inverted or head-down positions because such poses can increase pressure on the eyes. That’s why it’s crucial to talk to your doctor before you try even a simple yoga routine.
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What Are The Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors
Yoga is suitable for everyone. Children can do yoga, and the oldest of the elderly can join in as well. Its truly a lifetime activity.
Its low-impact. You never have to do anything that yanks you, pulls at you or hurts you. Most of the standard yoga poses can be modified for those who have physical limitations. There are figures that can be done in a chair or even a wheelchair. If you have joint pain or reduced range of motion, its an ideal way to get the exercise that will help you feel better.
Yoga is mentally and emotionally positive. There are studies that indicate yoga can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, and even make those who use it more hopeful.
And of course there are the physical benefits. You improve your balance, flexibility and strength during every session, and you get to take those improvements along with you even after you pick up your yoga mat and go about your day. Theres evidence that yoga leads to better sleep, loss of unwanted weight and that it reduces the risk of falling or of developing chronic health issues.
You can practice yoga alone or in a group. Either is fine, but group yoga is a social activity that promotes camaraderie and lifts peoples spirits.
Yoga For Better Sleep
Many older adults have trouble falling asleep, and get less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night.
Regular yoga sessions may provide a safer alternative to medications, which arent without their side effects.
Recent research found that seniors with insomnia experienced significant improvements in overall sleep quality, fatigue levels, and general well-being with regular yoga practice. Other studies have shown that older adults in nursing homes who practice yoga enjoy improved quality of life and sleep quality.
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The Frustrating Truth About Yoga For Seniors Dvds
A few years ago, not long after I started Sixty and Me, I found myself looking for a yoga for seniors DVD. Like many women my age, I was feeling a little stiff after six decades of walking, working, raising a family and traveling. When I was in my 20s, I spent a year backpacking through India, reading, exploring and doing yoga. Now, 40-years-later, I was ready to give my body the love and attention that it deserved.
Smiling broadly, as I imagined getting back into yoga, I fired up Google and started my search. This is going to be a breeze! I thought to myself. There must be hundreds of yoga programs for people my age. The reality, as I soon discovered, wasnt quite so simple.
Yoga Poses For Seniors In Wheelchairs
Almost any pose suited for a regular chair can be done in a wheelchair as well. When doing wheelchair yoga, its a good idea to have a spotter on hand.
11. Chair Mountain Pose
Mountain pose is a great way to start a standing session, and it’s a top kick-off for a wheelchair session as well.
- Sit up straight in the chair.
- Rest your hands near your knees.
- Build the posture starting at the base of the spine. Straighten up and rise through the spine and chest.
- Let the shoulders fall back and relax.
- Look straight ahead.
- Imagine that your head is rising with the crown stretching toward the ceiling.
- Take about 5 deep, slow breaths.
You dont need a wheelchair to enjoy this pose. Do it any time, in an office chair or sitting at a table.
12. Chair Hand Raises
A simple exercise to help maintain posture.
- Sit in the chair with your hand on the outside of the arms. The fingers are straight, together and pointed toward the floor. Alternately, rest your hand on your thighs inside the arms.
- Relax your shoulders and rib cage. Center your body on your sit bones.
- Inhale and raise your hands straight over your head, or as straight as you can get them.
- Exhale and lower the arms to starting position.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
13. Chair Cat and Cow
Cat and cow is a luxurious spinal stretch normally done on the hands and knees, but it works in a chair as well.
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What Is The Best Beachbody Yoga For Stretching
I’m sorry if I’ve confused you. My sympathies go out to you! Even yet, it is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. If youâre still unsure which type of best beachbody yoga for stretching is best for you, I recommend comparing the characteristics and functionalities of the best beachbody yoga for stretching listed above. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
Improved Balance & Posture
The importance of good balance for seniors should not be underestimated. Not only is it one of the first things we start to lose as we age, its key to preventing falls – the leading cause of injury and death among older adults.
The slow and precise movements of yoga, along with its strengthening and challenging poses, help maintain balance, improve posture, mobility, and agility into old age.
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What Kind Of Asanas Are Best For Seniors
If you are easily fatigued, it is best to substitute warm-ups for walking and gentle joint movements, such as wrist and ankle rotations.
Standing yoga postures such as Triangle Pose and Standing Spinal Twist are great for seniors who are comfortable standing, as are sitting yoga postures such as Butterfly Pose, Cradling , Body Rotation, Cat Stretch, and Child Pose .
Yoga postures done while lying on the back or stomach, such as Cobra Pose , Locust Pose or Knee to Chin Press can help to strengthen the back and increase flexibility in the spine.
Yoga Nidra, or Savasana , is by far the most essential part of any yoga practice, and with age, the pose becomes even more essential to help assimilate the effects of yoga practice into the body.
A Closer Look At These Chair Yoga Exercises:
Unless you have some experience with chair yoga, you probably need more than a graphic to perform the exercises above. Proper technique is important for your personal safety, and to make sure youre getting the most out of these exercises. Read more about the exercises below for a closer look at these essential chair yoga poses.
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How Does Yoga For Seniors Differ From Yoga For Younger People
Täo Porchon-Lynch is a shining example of the way in which the terms old and young refer to the state of the body, rather than numerical age. In fact, many older adults have greater flexibility than sedentary young people. In general, though, cardio-heavy flow practices and asanas that require abdominal strength can be more challenging for seniors, as can holding postures for long periods of time.
Seated Spinal Twist Pose Parivrtta Sukhasana
- Step 1: Start in easy seated pose with the arms and shoulders relaxed
- Step 2: Breathe-in to extend the arms up. Breathe-out to twist to the right, place the left hand on the right knee and right hand behind the back
- Step 3: Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths
- Step 4: Breathe-out to unwind. Repeat on the other side.
Variations: Place a folded thin blanket under you if there is any discomfort in the lower back. Or try the chair yoga version of this pose. Take the assistance of yoga instructor if needed.
Benefits: This is a great pose to improve flexibility of the spine, neck, shoulders and hips. It strengthens the lower back and is great for aiding digestion.
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Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors
My back has never felt better.I can walk the stairs without losing my breath.My wife would never let me stop doing yoga, she says Im just happier and way less stressed.
These are just some of the things Ive heard from my students. As a yoga teacher, teaching several senior classes, I have experienced the benefits of yoga for seniors through my students. But you dont have to trust my word more and more research is showing the same results.
One thing I would like to mention right away is that its not just the postures, breathing techniques, and meditations. It is the way they are practiced. A good yoga instructor will tell you to listen to your body and to only go as far as what feels right for you in the moment. Do not compare yourself to others. Do not compare your day to yesterday. Just be present in the moment in your body. This is one of the real benefits of yoga, learning to be in your own body, becoming aware of your limitations and possibilities, and finding the balance between effort and ease.
Lets take a look at six of the notable benefits of yoga for seniors. Yoga
Chair Yoga Poses For Seniors
Most yoga poses are standing poses or floor poses, but you dont have to stand or get down on the ground to enjoy the benefits of yoga. Chair poses can be easy, but there are challenging seated poses as well!
8. Forward Chair Bends
The chair version of a popular standing pose.
- Sit straight in a chair.
- Inhale and raise the arms directly over the head.
- Exhale and fall forward. If the hands go that far, rest the backs of them on the floor.
- Relax into this position. Let the upper body sink. Take a few breaths.
- Repeat the rising and falling motion several times.
9. Seated Eagle Pose
Another modification of a standing pose. You can do the full pose, or skip the lower body portion and do only the upper part.
- If youre including the leg part of the pose, cross your right thigh over your left. Otherwise leave your feet flat on the floor.
- If youre one of the agile seniors who can, tuck the right foot under the left calf.
- Cross your left arm over your right at the elbow.
- Bend your elbows and bring your palms to touch.
- Lift the elbows and let the shoulder drop.
- Hold 3-5 breaths.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
10. Seated Pigeon Pose
This odd position opens the hips, helps you sit in different positions and may aid with digestion.
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Seek Out A Qualified Teacher
It’s important to find a trained instructor who understands the unique challenges faced by the 55-plus crowd. Yoga Alliance maintains a voluntary registry of yoga teachers throughout the U.S. who meet certain standards. Also, Yoga for Seniors offers a directory of instructors who have undergone special training to enable them to adapt yoga programs specifically for older adults.
Ask potential teachers how long they’ve been leading classes and whether they have any experience teaching seniors or people with health issues. If possible, observe an actual class to get a sense of the teacher’s techniques. And once you choose an instructor, be sure to tell him or her about any physical limitations you have, such as arthritis, balance problems, back pain, or high blood pressure.
The Best Types Of Yoga For Senior Citizens
Whether you’re aiming to get stronger and more flexible or you just want to decompress and still your mind, yoga can help. But with the dozens of different styles that exist, it can be tough to figure out which type is most appropriate for you. Remember that a key consideration is your physical condition and fitness level. Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Here are eight types of yoga that may offer what you need:
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Yoga Improves Your Physical Health
Yoga is a safe and effective way to increase strength, balance, and flexibility. In addition, some studies show yoga can help you lose weight, prevent chronic health issues, and sleep more soundly.
According to the NIH, you lose range of motion in your joints, strength, balance, and flexibility as you age. This puts you at greater risk of developing osteoarthritis, low back pain, and curvature of the spine, and increases your risk of falling. By developing a regular yoga practice, you increase muscle mass often lost due to aging, improve your posture, and strengthen your balance, thereby reducing your risk of falls.