Are you considered a senior and looking to start your yoga journey? Maybe you don’t have an interest in yoga specifically but are looking for ways to improve your balance and live a healthier lifestyle.
Well, look no further!
We’re going to take a look at eight yoga poses suitable for seniors that promote balance and stability. These poses can be done one at a time or in a sequence and can basically be done anywhere, at any time.
We’re also going to show you how you can modify these poses to suit physical limitations due to illness or injury. Let’s get to it!
What Are the Benefits of Practicing Yoga Poses for Seniors?
Obviously, a huge benefit of yoga poses for seniors (and likely the reason why you’re here) is that it improves balance and stability. While having improved balance and stability is important at any age, this only increases as you get older.
Did you know that yoga has a wide variety of additional benefits with some of them being exceptional for seniors? Some benefits of yoga for seniors in particular include:
- Promotes good bone health and helps preserve bone density
- Increased flexibility
- Can relieve menopausal discomfort
- Improves blood lipids levels and blood glucose
- Keeps the mind sharp and balanced
- Helps relieve joint pain
- Improves strength
- Improves sleep and lessens fatigue
- Increases lung capacity
Keep in mind that nobody expects you to do these yoga poses with no modifications. Some of these poses can be difficult to master as a first-time yogi, no matter what your age.
So, how can you modify your yoga poses until your balance improves? By using a chair. Continuously practicing gradually improves your balance to the point where you will no longer need modifications.
If you never feel ready to try some of these poses without a chair, that’s perfectly okay – relying on a chair still counts as doing yoga and you still reap many of the same benefits.
Also, if you do feel confident enough to do these positions without the chair, don’t worry if you can’t hold them for a full 20 to 30 seconds at a time. Hold the pose for as long as you can comfortably hold it and come back into the pose when you’re ready to go again.
Is It Normal to Feel Pain or Discomfort?
The idea of pose modifications is that you do not feel pain or discomfort. If you do feel pain or discomfort while doing any of the following asanas, stop and modify the pose, whether or not you’re using a chair to assist you. You can work your way up to a better form.
The most important part of practicing these poses is that you’re making the effort to do them in the first place. You progress at your own pace.
8 Yoga Poses for Seniors
Onto the poses! We’ve come up with some easy yoga poses that are fantastic for balance training and stability as well as having an array of additional benefits. While this is not a step by step guide on how to do these poses, we’re going to provide you with some tips on modifications to use until you think you’ve mastered the pose.
If you need to make these modifications a regular part of your routine, that’s fine, too. Here are our 8 yoga poses for seniors.
1. Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is arguably the most well-known yoga pose and one that is great for balance and stability. It focuses on balancing your entire body by strengthening and stretching out your arms and hips down to your ankles. This pose truly tones your entire body and opens up your chest and your shoulders.
If you have high blood pressure, consult with your doctor before taking on Downward Facing Dog. Dropping down into the Dolphin pose for this asana can take some of the pressure off of your arms. This can be achieved by simply resting your elbows on the ground with your hands and arms flat out in front of you.
2. Chair Pose
The chair pose is initially challenging and resembles – you guessed it – the stance of a chair. The chair pose helps build balance in your entire body as well as increasing stamina in your legs, strengthening the thighs and ankles, and opening up the chest.
Other benefits of Chair Pose include toning of the digestive organs and heart as well as the butt, hips, back, and shoulders. If you’re finding the balance aspect of this pose difficult, use the wall behind you to support your hips!
3. Tree Pose
Tree Pose helps with balance and stability by stretching and strengthening your body. Your ankles and calves are strengthened as your abdominal muscles are toned followed by a great stretch in your groin, thighs, and shoulders.
This pose requires you to keep your eyes open to focus on your balance. It’s a little different from most asanas when they recommended keeping your eyes closed to focus on the pose and on your breathing.
This pose is also beneficial for sciatica by relieving tightness in the lower back, hips, and glutes. Using the wall to help keep your balance may be beneficial for this pose.
4. Bridge Pose
The Bridge Pose has a variety of benefits that go beyond strengthening virtually your entire body. While the bridge pose may sound scary, there are plenty of modifications that can be made to make this pose easier.
This asana not only strengthens your body but also opens up your chest and heart as well as stretching your neck, shoulders, and spine. This asana has a variety of additional health benefits, including alleviating stress and anxiety, improving digestion and stimulating the thyroid, lungs, and abdomen.
5. Low Lunge
If you’ve ever tried to do a Low Lunge, you know that it requires a surprising amount of balance!
While the low lunge focuses on stretching and strengthening the muscles in the legs, knees, and ankles, it also has many other internal benefits. It can help with lower back pain as well as improving your overall posture.
It also helps to stimulate your abdominal organs which can help relieve constipation. To help improve your balance until you can do this asana with no modifications, face a wall and press the big toe of your front foot against the wall.
6. Cobbler’s Pose
Cobbler’s Pose is a perfect asana for seniors. Not only is it easy to do but it also stretches and opens up the hips, inner thighs, groin, and knees and provides increased strength and flexibility. In turn, this provides an increase in balance and stability while standing.
The Cobbler’s Pose has a variety of other internal benefits, such as stimulating the heart and improving general circulation. This asana also helps to relieve fatigue and helps soothe sciatica. Feel free to use a pillow to support the hips as you sink into this pose.
7. Mountain Pose
The Mountain Pose is an incredibly simple asana that poses a variety of benefits for seniors. This asana is great for improving posture which in turn helps improve balance and stability by strengthening the entire lower body, from your ankles up to your buttocks. It can also help reduce back pain and relieve sciatica when practiced regularly.
The Mountain Pose encourages a free flow of prana to the spine which creates space within the body. This improves circulation, respiration, and digestion. Practicing this asana by way of leaning against the wall is helpful for providing some additional back support.
8. Corpse Pose
While Corpse Pose doesn’t necessarily focus on balance and stability, it’s an absolute must to practice at the end of any yoga routine! Not only can everyone benefit from this asana but its benefits are fantastic for seniors.
Corpse Pose helps with insomnia, which is an extremely common issue for seniors. It also improves concentration and general mental health as well as constipation. Take time out at the end of your yoga practice to sink into your Savasana for 10 minutes or longer.
Yoga for Seniors: The Facts
There is no denying that yoga is highly beneficial for seniors. With a variety of modifications available, you can practice yoga no matter what your skill level or physical capability. Not only will your balance and stability be improved but your general health improves as well. So, why not give it a shot?