Staying active is important at any age. If you are over 60 and looking for a way to get moving, why not try something like yoga? It’s a very popular exercise that is suitable for all ages.
While you may think of younger people doing complicated, intricate poses, yoga is actually an incredible exercise for seniors. It has health benefits for any age. Simply the act of doing yoga is important, not how complicated or how long you practice. So prepare to breathe deeply and learn more about yoga and how it can benefit your lifestyle.
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What is Yoga For Seniors?
Practising yoga has an effect on both your body and mind, making it suitable for anyone. Although it is not intense, it gets your entire body moving to help you stay active in retirement. Classes designated for seniors tend to be gentle and slow-moving, an encouraging way to enjoy physical activity.
If you have any health concerns, be sure to check with your health practitioner before going to a class. They can outline any areas of caution so you can speak with an instructor for modifications before practising.
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What Are The Benefits of Yoga For Seniors?
The benefits of yoga are well known, from toning muscle to building flexibility, to helping improve balance and mood! But many seniors may not be aware that these benefits extend to their age group as well, and may even be amplified. Practising yoga can help improve flexibility and joint health, common concerns for an ageing individual.
It can also help improve posture as you focus on how you are holding your body in different yoga positions. Plus, physical activity is known to help you sleep better. If there is a specific concern that you want to alleviate or improve, you can certainly find help with yoga.
Types of Yoga For Seniors
There are many classes on offer now that are designed specifically for seniors. Before starting your practice, you’ll need to know the difference between the types of classes available. We’ve shared information about the different types to help you navigate this space and discover the perfect class for your needs.
Chair Yoga For Seniors
This type of yoga is extremely gentle and is great for those who have difficulty with their balance or use a wheelchair. It’s a perfect fit for those who are looking for a slow way to start into yoga practice.
These modified poses use a sturdy chair where you remain seated for the entire class, but still offers the same benefits of stress relief and added flexibility. It can also be a fun way of keeping your yoga practice fresh as you are doing the same poses with an accessible twist.
Gentle Yoga For Seniors
Taking you through poses at a slow and steady pace, this is a great option for beginners and those who want to focus on their body and how it is feeling. It can complement a basic beginners’ yoga class nicely, allowing you to incorporate more yoga under the purview of a trained instructor. Gentle yoga is not easy by any means and provides a bit of a challenge without being strenuous or physically demanding.
Best Yoga Poses For Seniors
With a wide range of poses, yoga can be right for anyone from the beginning student to advanced practitioners. We’ve listed a few of the best poses to try, grouped by the basic stance.
Mountain pose is a favourite here. Stand with your feet touching and breathe in, allowing your body to rise up towards your shoulders. This pose is great for stretching out your abdominal and leg muscles to contribute towards proper posture.
Tree pose is another great one to help with improving balance and strength building. Stand with your feet together, then slowly lift your right foot to rest on the inside of your left shin, pulling your knee out to the side to open your hips. It’s especially accessible with modifications, such as keeping the ball of your foot on the ground in the pose or holding onto the wall for support.
Cobbler’s pose is another simple pose that’s part of seniors yoga classes. Sit straight up on your yoga mat with the soles of your feet together, knees to the sides. This will open up your hips and keep things flexible. Plus, with your feet in front of you, you can massage your soles to relieve pressure and tension.
Cow pose starts on your hands and knees with your head looking downwards. As you inhale, you’ll lift your chest towards the ceiling and your butt outwards while your belly drops towards the yoga mat. Lift your head so you look straight forward. As you exhale, return to your original position.
Despite the name, these poses are not usually a part of chair yoga. Since you’re seated on your yoga mat, they tend to use your legs in ways that are not suitable for a seated position.
Cobra pose involves lying on your stomach, pushing up your upper body with the palms of your hands. Lift your shoulders and head to the ceiling, trying to keep as much of your lower body to the mat as you can. For a modified pose good for seniors, you can use your forearms and bend at the elbows, lifting your body from this support system.
Savasana pose is the way most classes end. You’ll lie on your back, palms up to the sky. Relax your body of any tension that may linger in your muscles and breathe deeply for as long as instructed.
With this information, you should feel ready to take a yoga class for seniors. This is the best way to learn as an instructor will lead you through a sequence of poses designed for maximum benefit. These routines are a great introduction to different poses in yoga so you can get started.
Instructors will demonstrate how to do the pose as they lead you through a class, which can be important for your first class! They’ll also watch your form to ensure you are doing things in a safe and healthy manner. They can also offer modifications if you need them to enjoy the class.
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