Yoga for Seniors: 3 Poses to Try
When many of us think of yoga, we might picture hip young people bending themselves into pretzel-like contortions. But that’s the extreme side. Yoga is actually a low-impact way for people at every age to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Of all the different kinds of exercise, yoga might be the most versatile. You can do it practically anywhere, don’t need any special equipment, and most poses can be easily modified to accommodate for arthritis, limited mobility, or other physical concerns.
It’s also a perfect fit with our commitment to help seniors thrive in mind, body, and spirit. Here are a few poses for seniors to try on National Senior Health & Fitness Day (May 25) or anytime. Before attempting these poses, or starting any new fitness regimen, you should first consult with a physician.
This playful-sounding pose is seriously effective at lengthening your spine and strengthening your upper body, while minimizing knee and hip discomfort.
- Get down on all fours, with a towel under your knees to cushion them. You’ll want to make sure your knees are aligned directly beneath your hips, your wrists are under your shoulders, and your back is flat, like a tabletop.
- Walk your hands out in front of you so your chest gets close to the floor, but not so far that your hips move in front of your knees.
- Keep your head down and press your arms and hands into the floor.
- Breathe deeply while staying in position. The goal to work toward is 20 to 30 seconds.
- Slowly walk your hands back to the starting position.
Even if you haven’t been active in a while, this pose lets you gently release tension and increase the flexibility of your lower back and legs.
- Sit next to a wall with one side of your body pressed against it.
- Stay in contact with the wall as you slowly bring your back down to the floor.
- Walk your legs up the wall while your body pivots away from it, until the backs of your legs are against the wall.
- If the backs of your legs need help staying flat against the wall, push your body away from the wall slightly and allow your knees to bend. Your arms should remain relaxed at your sides.
- Breathe deeply through the stretch. Your goal to work toward is 30 to 60 seconds.
- Slowly walk your legs back down from the wall.
To increase your balance, try this standing pose—but only when you can grab onto something stable for support when you need to.
- Stand with your legs together and arms straight up over your head. Press your palms together.
- Keeping your toes on the ground, bend the right knee and slowly lift the right heel off the ground so it touches the inside of the left ankle.
- Try to balance in this position. The goal to work toward is 20 to 30 seconds.
- Do the same sequence with your other leg.
- Over time, as you build up the balance to hold this pose longer, work toward lifting the heel of the bending leg until it rests above the knee of your supporting leg.
Summer heat poses a greater threat of heat exhaustion to senior citizens. Read our summer heat safety tips on how to stay safe outdoors this summer.