Are you looking to connect with your inner self? Pursue the harmony between mind, body, and soul. Because if you are, then yoga is the perfect path for you to take. Yoga is a form of exercise known for its ability to develop one’s physical health and mental well-being.
It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. But when it comes to seniors, what makes yoga the must-try-fitness workout because it can be done from the comforts of sitting in a chair!
Let’s pull up a chair and see how yoga can help you stay physically active and spiritually connected.
The origins of yoga
Today, you can find yoga fitness classes anywhere in the city or online. Though yoga has become not only popular and mainstream in our eyes today, it is essential to know the rich history attached to its roots!
Yoga was first conceptualized and practiced in India over 5,000 years ago and created as a method to help people achieve a heightened level of consciousness. It is based on the idea of forming a balance between the body, mind, and spirit.
If you did not know already, the term ‘yoga’ actually comes from the ancient Sanskrit word “Yuj.” It means to unite or to join. By connecting the physical points of our bodies, yoga is said to link and channel the spiritual flow of the body as well.
The health benefits of yoga for seniors
Like many forms of activities, yoga has various health benefits for seniors or older adults. Yoga for older people helps to increase their flexibility, balance, and strength mainly. Here is a list of the benefits of yoga that seniors will enjoy once they begin.
- Better flexibility: Yoga can help older adults improve their flexibility and help them perform everyday activities, and reduce the risk of injury.
- Improved balance: Several yoga poses require balance. Practicing those specific poses can help seniors improve their balance and reduce the possibility of falls.
- Reduced anxiety and stress: Yoga is known to help reduce anxiety levels and also lower stress levels. In addition, it can benefit seniors dealing with age-related health issues or life-changing events, such as moving into a retirement facility.
- Increased muscle strength: Some yoga poses require a person to hold the body’s weight in specific positions, which can help improve muscle strength and tone the physique.
- Improved cardiovascular health: Some styles of yoga involve flowing through poses that can increase heart rate and improve cardiovascular health.
- Reduced inflammation: Certain yoga poses have been known to help reduce inflammation inside the body, which can benefit seniors dealing with arthritis or other inflammatory health conditions.
- Better sleep quality: Yoga has been shown to help improve sleep quality and reduce the chances of sleep disturbances, especially for seniors dealing with insomnia.
- Heightened mindfulness: Yoga boosts mindfulness and present-moment awareness, which can help seniors stay mentally sharp and attentive.
- Healthier digestion: As such, proper food intake, yoga poses, and breathing techniques have been shown to improve digestion and reduce symptoms of intestinal issues like constipation and bloating.
- Improved overall well-being: Practicing yoga frequently can help older adults feel more calm, energized, and balanced, leading to a complete sense of well-being.
What you need to know before starting out
Before starting yoga, it is essential to consult with a healthcare or trained professional to ensure that it is safe for you to do so. In addition, older adults who have chronic health conditions or injuries may need to adjust or avoid specific yoga poses.
For example, if you are a senior needing assistance with daily activities, consult a professional. Here are the crucial factors to keep in mind:
Do some simple breathing exercises
Inhale and exhale rhythmically, in small intervals, as it will help relax the muscles and clear the air!
Start as slowly as possible
Remember, yoga is about patience. Seniors should start with gentle yoga poses and focus on stretching and flexibility.
Seniors can use props such as blocks, straps, and blankets to modify poses and make them more accessible.
Seniors should practice poses that improve balance, as this is a crucial aspect of fall prevention.
Listen to their bodies
Seniors should listen to their bodies and avoid any poses that cause pain or discomfort. It’s essential to work within their limitations and not push themselves too hard. By keeping these things in mind, seniors can safely and effectively practice yoga and reap its many health benefits.
The best 5 yoga for the elderly
There are many different types of yoga, but not all are suitable for seniors or the elderly. The best yoga for elderly men and women is gentle and focuses on stretching, breathing, and relaxation. Here are the top 5 yoga seniors can practice without too much physical strain!
This basic form of yoga focuses on physical postures. It is slow-paced and involves a series of sitting and standing poses. Hatha is also perfect for beginners because it stresses (pun intended) stretching and breathing over forceful movements.
This meditative yoga method releases tension inactively without stretching. Instead, props are used to support the body, and poses are held for a long time, generally up to 10 minutes. This yoga is ideal for seniors who want to nurture relaxation and contentment.
This yoga style involves identical breathing with a series of continuous physical movements that flow from one to another. It can be physically dynamic and is often compared to dancing. Vinyasa yoga is great for seniors who are reasonably fit and healthy.
Kundalini is known as the yoga of mindfulness. It is perfect for seniors interested in yoga’s spiritual and physical aspects. This style combines physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and harmonized chanting.
This is considered the best yoga for older adults. ‘Chair yoga’ is an altered form of yoga that is done while sitting in a chair. It is great for seniors or older adults with difficulty standing, balancing, or mobility issues.
Beginner yoga seniors have to try
Here is a list of beginner-level yoga poses that older adults can try without breaking a sweat!
- Mountain pose: This basic standing pose can improve your posture and balance.
Tree pose: The tree pose can help build lower body strength and improve balance. You can adapt it by leaning on or sitting in a chair.
- Downward-facing dog: This pose stretches out your calves, hamstrings, and lower back while opening up your chest. If you have difficulties with wrist movements, you can modify it by keeping your forearms on the ground.
- Cat-cow pose: These classic yoga forms stimulate your spine’s flexibility and strengthen your abdominal muscles. You can also do them by using a chair.
- Plank: This pose is excellent for developing core stability and upper body strength. It is widespread, and chances are you have seen it somewhere. It’s like getting into a push-up position but without lowering yourself. You can alter it by keeping your knees on the ground.
- Triangle pose: The triangle pose helps work your hamstrings, hips, and core and can help relieve lower back pain and significantly improve digestion. It can also be done while seated.
- Warrior I pose: This pose strengthens your calves, ankles, and thighs while opening up your chest and hips. If reaching up with your arms is too tricky, you can keep your hands on your hips.
- Child’s pose: This is a resting position that can stretch your spine, hips, and lower back and help you relax and relieve tension.
If you think yoga is stimulating, read our articles on other stimulating activities for adults!
If you have reached this far, then you are ready to begin the ultimate connection between mind, body, and soul! Remember, it does not matter if you are 20, 50, or even 60! Yoga is for everyone. Though seniors have to be slightly cautious, this article can help you get in shape and relax the mind, even if you are doing it by sitting in a chair!
What type of yoga is safest for the elderly?
Any form of yoga that does strain an elderly’s body can be considered safe. However, out of all the yoga poses that seniors can perform, chair yoga is the safest form. This is because older people can perform simple movements like stretching and turning without putting too much strain on their bodies. It also helps seniors whose mobility is limited.
What are the benefits of asana yoga for seniors?
As with any yoga, asana yoga helps seniors with better balance and flexibility. In addition to that, this kind of yoga is also suitable for improving a person’s mobility and strength. Other benefits include stress reduction, lessening certain forms of aches and physical pain, and are known to help strengthen bone structure.
What are yoga guidelines for people over 60?
Though there is nothing specific, it is best to do some basic breathing exercises like inhaling and exhaling first. Then, some light stretching of the arms and legs follows them. If you are a senior in a retirement home, like assisted or independent living, and they have instructors there, it is best to consult with the professionals.
What are the benefits of yoga for seniors?
How a good diet helps the body internally is how yoga can help externally. The benefits of yoga, especially for seniors, is that it mainly helps them be active and in touch with their inner selves. At a specific age, the best way to exercise and relax at the same time is to do yoga.
What is chair yoga?
It is a simple and gentle form of yoga that is performed by sitting, preferably on a chair. The reason why chair yoga is popular amongst seniors is that it helps them to keep balance, and sitting is more accessible to older adults. The poses that can be done in chair yoga are cat-cow, warrior, and even forward folds.