Yoga for Seniors is a growing trend in the yoga community and I’m SO happy to see this happening! I think yoga is great way to get moving even as we age. Yoga is great for improving balance, focus, mobility, and body awareness– all of which become even more important as we age. Especially if we want to age well!
Here’s a few poses that are great for seniors to start off with. They’re simple but effective.
1. Chair Overhead Stretch.
Seated comfortably in a chair, interlace your fingers and reach the arms overhead. If the fingers don’t fully interlace, simply hold onto opposite ends of a towel instead. Do this for 3-8 breaths depending on your level of comfort. This is fantastic for improving posture, lengthening the side body, and even improving the breath. When we can loosen the tension in the muscles around the ribcage, our lungs can inhale more freely and the breath is less restricted.
Keep a slight bend in the elbows if necessary. Ensure you don’t pull the shoulders up to the ears as this can cause tension in the neck.
2. Seated Chair Twist.
Sitting comfortably, gently twist from the torso while continuing to breathe in and out through the nose for 4-10 breaths, depending on comfort. The intention here is to gently break up tension in the musculature around the spine and core. It will improve posture and mobility as well as aid in relieving stubborn, day-to-day back pain.
Caution: Do not twist so deeply that it restricts the breath. The breath should flow easily and fluidly. Also, do not twist so deeply that you’re intentionally cracking your back.
3. Assisted Tree Pose.
Balance can be difficult to maintain but becomes especially crucial as we get older. Practicing this assisted tree pose is a great way to improve your balance. Holding onto a sturdy chair (or counter or wall), gently bring one foot up to your ankle or calf. A little bit of shakiness is okay and totally normal! If you feel wobbly, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it “wrong,” it just means your muscles are adjusting and that’s a good thing. Feel free to step out of the pose at any time and readjust if necessary. Hold this shape for 4-10 breaths depending on comfort.
Caution: Be sure to hold onto something that’s sturdy enough to support your weight!
4. Half forward fold.
Standing behind a sturdy chair or counter top, gently hinge from the crease of the hip to a half forward fold. This is great for lengthening the hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Especially if you find yourself sitting down a lot of the day, it’s super important to make sure the backside of the body is not neglected. You can do this periodically throughout the day, but hold for 4-10 breaths each time.
Caution: This should not be painful. You want to feel some gentle resistance in the back of the legs, but anything beyond that is going too far. You do NOT have to bend as far down as I am in this picture. In fact, once you feel that gentle resistance, I want you to hold there rather than pushing further. Ensure the back stays nice and long and try to avoid rounding the spine in order to achieve this shape.
Over to you! Have you ever done chair yoga? How about yoga for seniors? Do you think you’ll continue practicing as you get older?