Yoga has gained popularity for its positive effects on mind and body. It’s an ancient practice that has deep spiritual and philosophical roots, consisting of:
- Yama: Abstinence from unhealthy food and practices
- Asanas: Postures or movements
- Dharana: Meditation
- Pranayama: Breathing techniques that promote mental and physical well-being
- Ahaar: Diet practices
When performed correctly, yoga is believed to balance “chakras” or points of energy in the body, helping to maintain optimal health and mental wellness.
What are the benefits of yoga for seniors?
Older adults who struggle with pain, joint stress, imbalance, osteoarthritis, and other physical limitations can benefit from incorporating a yoga practice into their daily routine. Strengthening the core muscles and improving balance also prevent the likelihood of falling, which can be a common concern as people get older.
Physical and mental benefits of yoga include:
- Building muscle strength
- Enhancing balance, flexibility, and mobility
- Alleviating aches and pain cause by bad posture
- Promoting better breathing and helping with lung issues
- Supporting heart health
- Helping with addiction
- Reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain
- Improving sleeping habits
- Encouraging mindfulness
- Improving joint stiffness
- Managing psychosomatic diseases (diseases that are triggered by stress) such as diabetes, hypertension, and allergies
- Helping with weight loss
What are the best yoga poses for seniors?
Yoga is great for older adults, but it’s important to attempt yoga poses only after consulting a doctor and only under the guidance of a trained professional. Those with conditions such as uterine prolapse, glaucoma, disk herniation, or advanced arthritis may need to avoid certain yoga poses.
Standing yoga poses
Trikonasana (triangle pose)
- Helps strengthen and stretch the hip region
- Helps regulate blood pressure
Katichakrasana (standing spinal twist)
- Helps keep the spine straight, preventing slouching
- Helps strengthen the arm and leg muscles, encouraging stability
Sitting yoga poses
Badhakonasana (butterfly pose)
- Helps clear bowel movements, regulating digestion
- Stretches the thighs and knees, reducing joint stiffness and pain
Shishuasana (child pose)
- Calms the nervous system
- Relaxes the back and helps relieve backache
Marjariasana (cat-stretch pose)
- Makes the spine flexible, reducing the stiffness that comes with age
- Reduces back pain
- Improves digestion
- Tones the abdomen
- Encourages blood circulation
- Relaxes the mind
Lying down yoga poses
Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
- Improves blood circulation
- Strengthens the back and shoulders
Shalabhasana (locust posture)
- Tones the neck and back muscles, increasing flexibility
- Tones the abdominal organs and improving digestion
Pawanmuktasana (wind relieving pose)
- Helps release gas and relieve digestive issues
- Increases blood circulation to the hip joints, releasing tension in that area
Chair yoga poses
Also called desktop yoga poses, these are convenient because they can be performed while sitting on a chair. Neck roll, cow stretch, seated forward bend, eagle arms, seated spinal twist and temple rub are all chair yoga poses that have huge health benefits:
- Relaxes the neck and back muscles
- Helps alleviate body pain, tension, and fatigue
- Increases flexibility
- Improves balance
- Increases overall muscle strength
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