Yoga for Seniors

elderly woman meditatingYoga appears to be all the rage among the younger crowd. No matter where you go, you’re likely to find yoga studios and clothes. However, yoga isn’t just another fad. It’s a form of exercise that actually has benefits – for people of all ages. That’s right. Anyone can enjoy the added flexibility and balance that yoga offers – even seniors. While not every pose may be senior-friendly, there are still many exercises that can be done by those who suffer from mobility issues.

Benefits of Yoga

elderly class of students on beachYoga is a great way for seniors to look and feel younger. According to WebMD, we lose a half-pound of muscle every year that we’re not participating in resistance training. Yoga provides strength training to combat this muscle loss. The added strength it provides keeps bones strong, which helps reduce the risk of suffering injuries from falls. Exercise, in general, can help alleviate the aches and pains caused by old age, and yoga is no exception. It works well for women who are suffering from the ill effects of menopause.

Yoga has psychological benefits, as well. It can help reduce fatigue and stress – two conditions that commonly plague older people. Yoga can also be a social activity. Being social is important for seniors, as it keeps them mentally sharp. There are many yoga classes that focus on seniors. This allows seniors to stay active and make new friends.

There are many types of ways to exercise, but yoga is preferred by many because it’s a fairly low-maintenance activity. No special equipment is needed. Some may purchase a yoga mat, but, other than that, you don’t need anything to practice yoga any time, any place.

Types of Yoga Exercises

If your elderly patient is considering yoga, here are some poses to consider:

Outline of person doing yogaThe tree pose is a good pose to try because it improves balance, which can be helpful in the event of a fall. To start, place your arms over your head and stand with your legs together. Raise your left leg off the ground just a little. The toes should stay on the ground, with your heel touching the inside part of your ankle. Keep the position for at least 20 seconds, if possible. Then switch to the other leg.

Another good pose is the extended puppy. To do this pose, get on all fours, like a dog. Next, walk your hands in front. Your hips should remain over the knees and your chest should be near the ground. Press your arms and hands into the ground as you keep your head down. Do deep breathing exercises for about 30 seconds and then return to your original position.

Legs up the wall is a good pose for those who have trouble bending over. First, sit so that one side of your body is against a wall. Lower yourself so that your back is to the floor. Lift up your legs so they are flat against the wall. If this is too difficult, you can bend your knees slightly. Stretch and breathe deeply for up to 60 seconds and then bring your legs down from the wall.

The staff pose can stabilize the knees and improve posture. It’s also great for alleviating aches and pains. To do this pose, sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Sit up tall, pulling in your belly. Position your hands on the floor next to your hips. Pres your thigh muscles down to the floor as you flex them. Point your toes toward you and flex your ankles. Try to imagine your spine pressing into the floor. Try to do 10 deep breaths as you hold this position, then relax.

The Warrior II is a standing pose that can help strengthen bones and the lower body. First, stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Keep your arms at your sides. As you turn to the right, keep your heels in line as you make a wide step with your right foot. Raise your arms up to shoulder height as you inhale. Exhale as you bend your right leg. Your thigh should be parallel to the floor. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.

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