Energizing Yoga for Seniors
Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee next time you have a low energy day, try doing some energizing yoga for seniors. We’ve selected four yoga poses which help dispel fatigue. After performing one or more of these, you’ll feel revved up and ready for the next part of your day.
The first two poses can easily be done by yoga novices and can be performed in a chair. The second two poses offer a bit more physical challenge and involve using a yoga mat.
Seated Lion Pose
This pose permits you to imitate a lion’s roar. You will feel a sense of intensity and energy as you do this pose. Since it involves the facial muscles, you may also feel like you are a kid making a funny face. Go ahead and laugh if you want! Laughter can actually enhance the benefits of yoga. By opening up the throat region, this pose energizes the entire body-mind.
Sit upright and alert in your chair, placing your palms on your knee. Inhale deeply through your nostrils, then open your mouth wide and extend your tongue as you exhale through your mouth. Lean slightly forward as you do this and let a leonine roar emerge from deep in your chest.
Seated Camel Pose
Sit toward the front edge of your chair seat, with your shoulders directly above your hips, chest open, collarbones wide. On an inhalation, reach your hands toward the back of the chair as you tilt first your chin and then your heart to face the ceiling. Permit the back of your ribcage draw slightly forward and upward. Keep the front of the throat long, without tensing the back of the neck.
Exhaling, slowly return to your original seated position. This pose helps open the lungs, and reverses the hunched posture we often assume when feeling tired or discouraged.
Downward Facing Dog
If this pose is new to you, you might want to observe more closely next time your dog or cat stretches. Both these animals frequently stretch their front legs forward while drawing their hips backward and upward. This movement lengthens their spines. By imitating this stretch, you can get the kinks out of your back and also re-charge your energy.
On your yoga mat, come to all fours. Place your knees beneath your hipbones and your feet directly behind your knees. Begin by placing your hands shoulder distance apart, but put them slightly forward from the shoulders so they are in front of your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide apart to flatten your hands on the floor (think of being a dog with big paws, a Great Dane, rather than a Chihuahua).
Curl your toes into the floor, then lift your knees off the floor and press your tailbone backwards and upwards, reaching it toward the top of the wall behind you. Try to move your body weight backwards off of your hands.
Relax your neck, letting its weight draw the top of your spine downward while you use the strength of your arms and legs to press the base of your spine backwards and upwards. Hold the position for five breaths or more, then slowly lower your knees back to the floor.
Start as for downward dog on all fours on your yoga mat. This time, you will want to keep your arms stacked up directly under your shoulders. As with downward dog, spread your fingers wide and flatten your palms into your mat. Then extend your right leg backward from your hip, so that your toes curl into the mat, but the entire leg is off the floor. Repeat the leg movement to the other side. Keep your hips slightly lower than your shoulders.
You will know when you are doing this pose correctly because arm muscles will feel very active and so will the muscles of your abdomen. If your abdominal muscles do not feel actively engaged, slightly shift the height of your hips, making sure you are not lifting them too high or dipping them too low. Your arms should not be doing all the work of the pose! Keep your face pointed toward the floor, lengthening the back of your neck. To come out of the pose, lower your knees back to the mat.
What is your favorite yoga pose for feeling energized? Have you every tried yoga for seniors? Please add your thoughts in the comments below. Also, remember to check out our gentle yoga video series that we filmed for you in beautiful Bali.