Gentle Yoga Poses For Seniors
A yoga session should always start gently and easily. Take a few calming breaths and lets get started.
1. Mountain Pose
From looking at a picture, you might think this pose is nothing more than standing still. It would better be described and standing mindfully.
- Stand up straight with your legs hip width apart and your arms by your side.
- Build your posture from the feet up. Engage your ankle, legs, thighs and pelvis to support your upper body.
- Let your shoulders fall back and relax.
- Look straight ahead.
- Imagine yourself growing tall, as if the crown of your head is reaching for the ceiling.
- Hold the pose for 5-10 slow, deep breaths.
You can do this at the start of a session and also return to it after any standing pose. Also, you can stop for a minute during your daily life for a mountain pose break.
2. Lotus Pose or Easy Pose
Mountain pose is the basic standing pose, and lotus is the fundamental seated pose. Its difficult for most beginners. Heres how to do an easy version:
- Sit cross-legged on the floor with your knees atop their opposite feet.
- Lay your hands palms-up and relaxed on your knees.
- Draw your shoulder blades back.
- Lengthen your neck while looking straight ahead.
- Hold for 5-10 deep breaths.
Most of us have seen pictures of full lotus. It might be the first thing we think of when we think of yoga. Try it if you like, but you have to be pretty supple.
3. Child Pose
Benefits Of Chair Yoga For Seniors
With its safe and gentle strategy, chair yoga offers multiple variations that are perfect even for those with limited mobility. Yoga for older men allows them to experience many benefits of an active lifestyle without risks. These include
- Increased flexibility: Flexibility is essential in performing most of the daily tasks. Therefore, its important to stretch, bend and twist every day. Those who practice chair yoga push their bodies to maintain and increase flexibility and thereby improve overall mobility.
- Muscle strength: Although gradual, chair yoga can help build muscle strength with each pose. This, in turn, improves mobility and balance and buffers your body against injury.
- Better balance, coordination, and proprioception: Proprioception is the awareness of your bodys movements in space. In a chair yoga sequence, youre required to transition from one pose to another, and this improves proprioception, which in turn enhances overall balance and coordination.
- Reduced stress: Yoga inherently requires you to be mindful of your breathing and movement, shifting your focus off stressful thoughts. The movements are almost meditative and promote relaxation.
Chair Yoga For Seniors Beginner Friendly
A modified version of hatha yoga for individuals with health issues and the elderly, chair yoga has gained many new fans. Chair yoga refers to modifications of yoga postures to be done while sitting in a chair. These adaptations make yoga attainable for people who cannot stand, who lack the mobility to switch positions quickly from standing to sitting. Although the individual postures are pretty different, the primary body mechanics stay the same. Sitting on chairs, students can do twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends.
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Health Benefits Of Chair Yoga
There are many benefits of chair yoga, including reducing stress, pain, and fatigue. It can also help with joint lubrication, balance, and age-related issues such as menopause and arthritis. According to studies, yoga helps seniors lose weight. Other health benefits of chair yoga include:
- Getting more flexible
- Weight loss and healthier BMI range for seniors
Gentle Chair Yoga Seated Twist
Raise the heels of your feet but permit your toes to remain on the floor .
Bring your thighs together. Inhale and think of elongating the spine as the lungs fill with air. Exhale and slowly turn your torso toward the right. At the same time that you do this, shift your legs to the left.
Take 3-6 deep breaths in this twisted position, trying to move the upper and lower body further in opposite directions from each other. Then on an inhalation, return to the center. Repeat this seated twist to the opposite side.
You will experience a release of tension and tightness in the back as you perform this stretch. You may want to repeat it two times in each direction.
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What Are The Benefits Of Yoga
Weve mentioned some of the benefits of yoga already, but lets discuss it more. One of the leading causes of depression in seniors is lack of activity, chair yoga can be great for combatting this problem. It strengthens both body and mind. Indeed, its benefits are backed by scientific research. In 2017, The Journal of Geriatrics published a study about chair yoga and osteoarthritis. Participants who were struggling with this disease did chair yoga twice a week for 45-minutes each day. The experiment lasted for eight weeks. Afterward, participants reported a decrease in pain, improvements in their daily activities, and better walking speech.
A smaller study in 2012 and a previous one in 2010 also found that chair yoga reduced seniors risk of falling and made them less anxious about the idea in general. This is an important finding to consider. After all, falling is a leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors. Other benefits of yoga that are backed by research include: improvement in anxiety levels, decreased stress, and reduced inflammation. Chair yoga can also help those dealing with PTSD-related anxiety and decrease the risk of heart disease. Of course, your loved one can only reap these benefits if they practice chair yoga on a regular basis and truly dedicate their time to the activity. So, if you have an elderly loved one whose health could be improved with yoga, encourage them to put in the work for a couple of hours a week. It will be worth it.
Do Yoga Asanas Boost Immunity In The Elderly
Here again, the Patanjali Yoga Sutras provide a clue. “Heyam Dukham Anaagatam. It means, Avoid the misery that has not yet come. As we grow older, the efficiency of the immune system deteriorates, paving the way for various diseases. Regular practice of yoga techniques such as asanas, pranayama and meditationcan help avoid these conditions. So make your life happier and more fulfilling with yoga.
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Is Chair Yoga Hard Enough To Work
Now, I know what youre thinking. How could sitting in a chair possibly be good exercise? Well, based on my own experience with chair yoga, I can tell you that it is surprisingly effective. Best of all, because it is so accessible, it is the kind of exercise option that you will do every single day.
Ive been doing chair yoga on a pretty consistent basis, and Ive been super happy with the results. In fact, I would argue that chair yoga was one of the main catalysts for my eventual return to lifting weights, doing cardio and taking group yoga classes.
To keep myself disciplined, I set an alarm to go off every few hours. Instead of doing 60 minutes of yoga all at the same time, I spread my yoga sessions throughout the day. For some reason, this was an easier approach for me to stick with.
As my flexibility improved and my stiffness went away, I started to see a whole world of workout possibilities in front of me. Now I still do yoga, but it is only one part of my routine.
The Solid Workout Can Help Improve Physical Flexibility And Reduce Fall Risks
If youâve ever come across photos of people doing yoga, you may have wondered how it was possible for the human body to get itself twisted into such incredible, pretzel-like shapes.
But thereâs more to yoga than fancy-pants poses. Thereâs also chair yoga.
Yes, itâs possible to do in the comfort of your own chair. Granted, you have to get out of the Lazy Boy for a few minutes and move to a metal folding chair , but other than that, you donât need to bring anything else but your breath, your body and an open mind.
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Work At Your Own Pace
Its important to work at your own pace and within your limitations. If you join a yoga class, youll likely be in a group with people of different skill levels. Its ok to push yourself a little, but be mindful not to hurt yourself. If youre in a pose and start to feel pain, back out of it slowly until the pain subsides. Some days you may feel more flexible or strong than others, so keep this in mind even when practicing familiar poses.
Most yoga poses can be modified to take into account joint pain and skill levels. Ask the yoga teacher for help before class or during a session if you want tips on how to modify a pose that may be hard for you.
Chair Yoga For Seniors Beginners The Reasons
Chair Yoga helps maintain flexibility and muscle strength in the long run. However, if you feel a bit sceptical about including chair yoga for seniors poses in your daily routine then read on below.
1. Helps Maintain Balance
A major health issue you might suffer from old age is the loss of body balance. It occurs as a result of loss of muscle mass and bone density. Practising different chair yoga poses corrects this issue and improve the bodys overall stability.
2. Yoga Chair Gives You Confidence
Any physical activity in daily life seems a bit hard especially after you reach the age of 50. Chair yoga provides you with an instant confidence boost. Regular practice gives you the confidence to take part in other activities.
3. Best for the Joints and Limbs
With age, the two body parts that suffer the most damage are limbs and joints. You should know that chair yoga for seniors beginners is the best exercise for keeping the limbs and joints free of age-related damage. Chair yoga is a natural way of dealing with chronic pain and other issues including osteoporosis, lower back pain, and sciatica.
4. A Chair is All You Need
What makes including chair yoga into your daily routine is no need for any extra equipment or costly gym memberships. Chair Yoga is perfect for senior members as you can practice this even from the comfort of your home.
5. Practice at Own Pace
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The Benefits Of Yoga For Older Adults
Yoga cultivates a mind-body connection, combining stretching and strengthening postures with deep breathing and relaxation. Despite its roots in Eastern philosophy, yoga as practiced in the West is generally focused on physical fitness. It still has a spiritual aspect, but it is not overtly religious. People of all faiths and belief systems can benefit from participating in yoga.
Because the poses can easily be modified or adapted to suit an individual’s needs, yoga is safe for seniors of all fitness or ability levels. In fact, it can be an excellent way to keep your body strong and healthy without the joint stress that comes from other activities like weightlifting or jogging. And it’s never too late to begin: You can start yoga at any age.
Here are some of the benefits of yoga for seniors:
Chair Yoga For Senior Beginners The Poses
It does not matter how much time you spend practising different chair yoga poses. Chair Yoga still does wonders when it comes to handling all the stress and anxiety of daily life. The good news is you need not rely on any health club memberships to start the practice.
Chair yoga has specific poses to help you age gracefully by avoiding many health problems that follow ageing. Let us find out about these poses in detail.
1. Seated Mountain Pose
Guidelines for Performing Tadasana
1) Take in a deep breath and sit straight on a chair. Make sure you extend the spine.
2) During the exhale, root down into the chair with the tailbone.
3) Keep both legs at a 90-degree angle and knees directly over the ankles. You should have some space between the knees.
4) Now, take a deep breath and exhale. Roll the shoulders down the back and pull the belly button towards the spine.
5) Relax both arms on the sides.
6) Lastly, engage both legs by lifting the toes and pressing into all four corners of the feet.
2. Seated Forward Bend
Guidelines for Performing Seated Forward Bend
1) Start in the Seated Mountain pose and inhale.
2) Focus on extending the spine and fold over both legs. You should start by resting both hands on thighs and sliding them down the legs which you fold for extra support.
3) Take at least 5 or more breaths in this pose. It provides a soothing massage to the intestine and helps with digestion. You also get support in lengthening the spine and stretch the back muscles.
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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.
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.
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Chair Spinal Twist Ardha Matsyendrasana
Chair spinal twist is a variation of Half Lord of fishes pose . While seated sideways on a chair the body is twisted to the side holding the back of the chair in chair spinal twist.
This gentle twisting of the body squeezes the internal organs including digestive system, kidney, and liver. It brings enhanced blood flow to these organs and pelvis. It strengthens the muscles, joints, and promotes overall health.
Chair Yoga For Every Body
YES, YOU can do Yoga! Even if you have limited range of motion you can still receive the benefits of yoga from the comfort of your own home. We will build strength, flexibility and help reduce stress and anxiety. Yoga has so many benefits and I want YOU to experience them with me!
Chair Yoga is a practice where poses are done seated, as well as, standing with proper technique. However, you can still remain seated throughout your practice.
Remember Chair Yoga allows you to modify your practice based upon your health, flexibility and mobility. Are you ready to begin your Chair Yoga practice? Click below and YOU can get started immediately!
“Cheri is a great yoga instructor! Norma and I did this at our club house together but now because of Covid she is doing it on FB!! Join us. it’s a good way to start yoga and stretch!!”
~Dolores, Senior Yogi
“She is a great, positive person with a unique personality, always upbeat and a TERRIFIC yoga instructor”
“Cheri provided me with the motivation to improve my lifestyle and attitude, but she also supplied me with tips and tools to implement. After listening to Cheri’s personal story, advice for overcoming obstacles, and how to adopt an optimistic mindset, I have made leaps towards a more healthy, balanced, and positive lifestyle.”
~Ariana, Sigma Kappa Alpha Mu Chapter
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Yogapedia Explains Chair Yoga
Just like a regular yoga practice, Chair yoga increases flexibility, strength and body awareness. When standing poses are included in a Chair yoga class, the chair is used to help with and improve balance. Chair yoga may also include pranayama breathing techniques and meditation to promote focus, mental clarity and relaxation.
Just about any standard yoga pose can be modified for chair yoga, including backbends, twists, hip openers and forward folds. For example, in the chair version of mountain pose, the yogi sits with the feet flat on the floor and the knees at a 90-degree angle. The arms are then raised to the sky with the palms facing. The gaze is between the palms. Forward fold another basic yoga pose can be performed seated in the chair or standing with the hands grasping the back of the chair for support.