Full 37-Minute Gentle Yoga for Older Adults: Relax and Release the Tension in Your Body
Have you already discovered Practice 1 of our Gentle Yoga Flows video workouts? Or simply someone who’s comfortable with our gentle yoga flow concept and looking for a fun, friendly and faster-paced workout.
In either case, welcome to Practice 2! In the asana portion of this 37-minute video, instructor Cat Kabira will guide you through the movements in her wonderfully warm and wise way.
Props? You may need a cushion or blanket, blocks and strap or belt. And, because some of the movements weren’t covered in Practice 1 or our Gentle Yoga for Seniors workouts, your 60-plus body may also need a slightly slower tempo.
So if you’re following along on YouTube, simply click on the gearshift icon at the lower right of the screen. Select Playback speed, set it for 0.75 and proceed at a more leisurely pace.
For a hint of the adventure ahead, read on!
Gentle Yoga Flows and the Beauty of Breathing
Like all of Cat’s yoga workouts, this flow begins with a breathing exercise. As she explained in the Gentle Yoga for Seniors introductory video:
Each time you’ll notice that I’ll have you start with some sort of breathing practice. I never actually mentioned this, but it’s actually called pranayama, or an opening meditation.
Meditation is another way to think of a way to focus, center and ground yourself. You know, no matter what we’ve been doing, it always is a kind of shift, a changing of the gears when we get on the mat to begin our practice.
So that really is the primary foundation. It’s really making this a practice of self-love, of nourishment, self-support, congratulating yourself being your own best friend, being the best supporter.
The meditation connects you with your physical, emotional and mental dimensions and directs your breath to the spots most in need of TLC. Anyone doing yoga after 60 is sure to have at least a few!
But you’ll also be encouraged to breathe deeply and consciously during the flow itself. Why?
Tackling Tension: Yoga Flows for Seniors
It’s a rare woman over 60 who isn’t carrying built-up tension. But yoga-style or “three-dimensional” breathing (as Cat calls it in Practice 1) can be a powerful antidote to chronically tense joints.
And just how do you do breathe three-dimensionally? Inhale so that your entire ribcage — front, back and sides — expands and rises. And exhale in such a way that it contracts and falls, while your belly and pelvis draw up and in.
As Cat says before the meditation, “Sometimes it’s nice to open your mouth as you exhale, just to let go. It also helps you feel your low abdominal and pelvic floor muscles as well.”
Exhaling through your mouth relaxes your jaw. And according to Cat, relaxing your jaw relaxes your pelvis. Who knew?
So forget about how mouth-stretching exhalations look and make room for them in your tension-relief toolbox. While you’re at it, reserve some space for this Cat insight:
When we do these movements, we’ll just think we need grand movements to really open. But we also want to get into the little, sticky areas that have some really nice, subtle tension. And those can actually make a big difference when you start to open that up.
In other words, graduating to gentle yoga flows doesn’t mean you stop listening to what your body needs at each moment. When it comes to defeating tension, a little stretch can go a very long way!
If our gentle yoga flows are a new experience for you, what’s been your impression? What are they doing for your physical and emotional well-being? Please share in our conversation!