Yoga for Seniors: Addressing Common Health Concerns as We Age
While it’s true that older adults derive deeper benefits from yoga for seniors the longer they practice, you don’t have to take years of classes to reap all of yoga’s many rewards.
It may take a while to cultivate a natural state of calm and relaxation, but you can use small doses of yoga now to help heal common senior health challenges.
Can Yoga for Seniors Help to Facilitate Healthy Aging?
In this article, we will explore a few of the many benefits of yoga for seniors. Please make sure that you check with your doctor before trying any of the exercises mentioned below.
Sit on a chair with one leg bent so the sole of foot is on the floor, other leg extended straight out, heel on floor, toes lifted. Hold on to chair seat or arm with hand of bent leg side, as you exhale and fold forward over the straight leg. Relax your neck, folding forward from your hips, keeping your back as flat as possible. Hold for five to ten breaths. Then inhale and come up. Repeat to other side.
While sitting on a chair, slide forward slightly so that your sit-bones are closer to edge of the seat. Bring your legs close together, and lift your heels, so your feet are tiptoed. Keeping the knees close together, move legs to the right, then turn head, neck, shoulders, and rib cage to the left. Take five to ten breaths in the twist, then switch sides.
Rest on your back on your yoga mat – or on your mattress if getting down to and up from the floor is difficult for you. Exhale and slowly bend your right knee, bringing it toward your belly and using your arms to clasp your thigh close to the body.
As you bring your leg up also slowly lift your head and neck, bringing your face toward your right knee. Inhale and release, slowly straightening and lowering the leg while you also lower your upper body back to the floor. Repeat the movement with the left leg.
Arthritis Pain in the Hands
Place a heating pad, or a small towel fresh from the dryer, on a desk or table. Pull a chair up to the table and place your hands flat on the warm surface, spreading your fingers as wide apart as possible to flatten the palm down into the heating pad. Press down firmly using arm strength to “iron” the hands on the table. Next, turn both hands palm upward, keeping fingers fanned wide apart. Try to get as much as possible of the back of your hands pressed into your heating pad or towel.
Your Own Personal Yoga “Medicine Cabinet”
While we don’t always have access to quiet yoga studio conditions, as far as possible, try to eliminate external distractions when you do these exercises by turning off your phone and television. You will get more benefit out of each exercise by breathing deeply (add link to breathing article here).
Think of these yoga for seniors exercises as your own mental “medicine cabinet” which you can carry with you everywhere you go.
Do you practice gentle yoga? Have you found that it has helped you to address any common health issues as you have gotten a little older? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.
Here are a few short videos that explore the benefits of yoga for seniors.