June 21 was proclaimed as International Day of Yoga by the United Nations in 2014. Yoga is a great exercise choice for senior citizens because it can be modified to fit a broad range of physical ability. From intense Vinyasa classes to restorative Yin classes, there is likely a type of yoga that will benefit your specific body. Some teachers even offer senior-focused classes, with poses and modifications that are tailored to older people.
Wondering where to start? We rounded up five yoga poses that have senior-specific health benefits below.
1. Tree Pose
Tree Pose develops your sense of balance and coordination, which can help to prevent falls. With many ways to modify, it’s one of the most accessible balancing poses in yoga. This pose benefits those with sciatica by promoting good posture and opening the hips.
Place the foot either above or below the knee, never directly on it. If your balance is unsteady, place your toes on the ground next to your standing leg and use them as a kickstand. You can also place your back against a wall for stability.
2. Bridge Pose
Bridge Pose promotes spinal flexibility which can combat the effects of osteoporosis. Since this pose opens the heart and chest, it can also help those with difficulty breathing. Bridge Pose is known as an inversion, which means that your head is positioned below your heart. Inversions have numerous calming benefits that encourage relaxation.
For a more restorative version of Bridge Pose, place a yoga block at the base of the spine at whatever height is most comfortable for your body – a yoga block is a brick-shaped block of wood, cork or hard foam that helps assist you in your desired yoga pose. This gives you all of the heart opening benefits without straining the legs.
3. Seated Spinal Twist
There are seven directions of spinal movement, and a robust yoga practice will include all of them. Spinal Twists are excellent poses for preventing back injury and stimulating circulation because they develop spinal rotation and increase spinal flexibility.
If spinal rotation is difficult, sit with your back to a wall and brace your hands against the wall to help you stay in the twist. You can also modify this pose by sitting in a chair and using the chairback to help you twist.
4. Downward-Facing Dog
Downward-Facing Dog is often overlooked as just a transition between other poses, but this pose is actually a mild inversion with many benefits. It strengthens the shoulders and aids back health by elongating the spine. This can negate some of the effects of hunching at a desk or in a car. It also can help relieve arthritis pain by stretching and strengthening the hands and wrists.
Place yoga blocks under your hands to help open the shoulders and/or decrease wrist pain. If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knees as much as you need to.
5. Standing Forward Bend
The act of folding forward calms the nervous system and reduces anxiety. This is beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure or heart disease. This movement promotes greater flexibility by stretching the entire back of the body and stimulates the kidney and liver for better digestive health.
Bend your knees until your chest touches your thighs. This will prevent you from rounding the spine and locking your knees. If the floor feels far away, place your hands on yoga blocks.
To reduce and avoid injury, check with your doctor before beginning any fitness program. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. One Reverse Mortgage will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of information shared on our website.