Yoga for Seniors- A fun way to stay healthy, happy and young at heart!
As the average lifespan increases globally, the amount of seniors in our society increases also. These seniors entering their golden years have different requirements than the average 30 year old. Usual fitness based classes or Dynamic yoga classes, that are ever popular in our aesthetically biased culture, do not cater for this group of people. Nor do these full power classes deliver the level of benefits that add up to a holistical improvement for the health and wellbeing of older people.
What is Yoga for Seniors?
This new older generation desire to look after themselves. Not only by staying in good shape physically but by feeling good mentally and emotionally.
Yoga for Seniors and Yoga in general fits this requirement perfectly. That is why Yoga for Seniors is becoming ever more popular. The classes combine physical yoga poses with mindfulness techniques, breathing and meditation. This type of yoga address’s each body as individual. Movements are tailored to each participant and work on areas of common complaint.
The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
- Maintenance of bone health
Many older people suffer from arthritis, joint pain, thinning bones and Osteoporosis. These are conditions which make people stiffer, easier to injure and more cautious in their movement patterns. There have been studies into the effects of yoga on people with Osteoporosis and their finding suggest that yoga can help to manage, maintain and in some cases even reverse the effects.
- Keeps the mind sharp and aids in relaxation
Yoga for Seniors, focuses on improving concentration. It also provides a place for the mind to deeply relax and if elements of mindfulness and meditation are added these have been shown to improve cognitive function in many people.
- Reduces anxiety and depression
The relaxation provided by Yoga for Seniors can help to enhance the mood and emotional wellbeing. The physical activity also helps to increase energy levels improving overall happiness.
- Improved balance, suppleness, flexibility and strength.
The steady pace and instruction of carefully chosen yoga poses helps to improve the balance and reduce chances of falls. The yoga asana or poses help to maintain joint health and alleviate pain, as well as maintaining muscle mass and improving strength.
- A place for connection and community
A great meeting place. As well as yoga’s health benefits group classes are a great way to meet people and help form a sense of community.
- Improves sleep
When the mind is more relaxed and the body is able to quieten any aches and pains it is given that sleep will improve. There ae many studies showing how yoga improves sleep quality.
5 Poses to Get You Started with Yoga for Seniors
1. Mountain Pose
By concentrating on the feet, which are the body’s foundation, you improve posture and balance.
Stand up tall. Ground down through your feet and spread the toes out. Lift your knee caps and engage your thighs. Pull your stomach in and up gently. Then roll your shoulders down and back. Now check the back of the neck is long and chin tucked gently in. imagine there is a string pulling you up through the top of your head. Take five to ten breaths.
2. Tree Pose
This yoga for seniors pose is great for balance, abdominal strength and concentration.
From mountain pose bring one foot to inner calf. If this feels ok, you may raise the foot to the inner thigh. You can take support and hold the back of a chair here if needed. Bring your hands to prayer, and breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths
3. Wall Dog
This yoga pose is great for people of all ages. It is beneficial for posture, strength and flexibility.
Facing the wall press step one leg distance away. Now press your hands against the wall. Allow your body to bend forward. Keep the spine straight and head level, don’t let it drop. Now engage legs from the feet up and engage hands pushing against the wall. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths.
4. Chair pose against the wall
Press your back against a flat wall. Press your arms and palms of both hands into the wall down by your sides. Now walk the feet forward as you bend your knees. The back and arms remain pressing onto the wall. Your knees should be directly over your ankles. The gaze is forward. Breathe deeply for 5-10 breaths.
To end yoga for seniors, always finish with Savasana. Savasana calms the nervous system and ultimately refreshes the body and mind.
Begin by lying down on your back, either on the floor or bed. Focus on the natural breath, close your eyes and slowly let your body become heavier and more relaxed. You may stay here for 5 minutes or longer if needed.
As with any practice if you feel unsure take professional advice before beginning something new. If you are ready to get started with a yoga for seniors practice, just remember to enjoy every minute, focus on the breath and enjoy the revitalizing effects on your body, mind and soul.