Yoga For Seniors: Poses, Techniques And Benefits

Yoga For Seniors: Poses, Techniques And Benefits

Today at THE DAILY MEDITATION office I received news of amazing new research into the benefits of yoga for seniors.

There are so many reasons for seniors to do yoga. And I very firmly believe that we should be giving classes of yoga at nursing homes.

In this guide I will show you how to do yoga for seniors safely, the benefits of yoga for seniors and some friendly tips on how to practice yoga nursing homes or, indeed at your own home.

You will definitely want to read my guide to anti-aging meditation too.

Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors

This morning, news swung by the office that science has once again proven the anti-aging effects of yoga for seniors. The University of Edinburgh reviewed 22 clinical trials that investigated the benefits of yoga. They found that the majority of  the traditional styles are anti-aging.

The researchers found that people over the age of 60, in particular, can significantly improve quality of life by practicing yoga daily. That’s right, if you’re a senior, yoga can massively improve your quality of life.

The researchers compared it to other exercises in the over 60s, including aerobics. And they also considered the effects of different exercise programs—from 1 to 7 months and individual sessions from 30 to 90 minutes.

What they discovered was that there are serious benefits of yoga for anti-aging. Specifically:

    • It can keep you looking young
    • It helps seniors sleep better
    • Reduced symptoms of depression in seniors
    • Improved muscle strength and flexibility
    • Reduced symptoms of arthritis
    • Increased vitality
    • It reduced blood pressure

A large proportion of older adults are inactive, and do not meet the balance and muscle strengthening recommendations set by government and international health organisations.

Based on this study, we can conclude that yoga has great potential to improve important physical and psychological outcomes in older adults.

It is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases.” –Divya Sivaramakrishnan, Physical Activity for Health Research Centre

Yogic workouts or other exercises?

Yoga is one of the best exercises for seniors, the researchers at the University of Edinburgh discovered.

Researchers compared it to other exercises for over 60s and found that it more effectively enhances muscles strength and flexibility, while also improving mental health conditions such as depression.

Divya Sivaramakrishnan tells us:

“A large proportion of older adults are inactive and do not meet the balance and muscle strengthening recommendations set by government and international health organizations.”

Yoga is one of the best exercises for over 60s to improve strength and flexibility, the team tells us.

Plus, it is easy and adaptable. It can be modified to accommodate for the various challenges and needs ot people over 60.

“Based on this study, we can conclude that yoga has great potential to improve important physical and psychological outcomes in older adults. Yoga is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases.”

How one elderly lady changed her life with yoga

For people over 60, yoga can massively improve quality of life, says Fiona Mmour, 61, in an article on THE SCOTSMAN.

An art teacher from Edinburgh, Fiona Amour has been practicing yoga for 4 years and regularly does Vinyassa (flow). which she says is one of the best types of yoga for seniors.

“I was in my late 50s and had always been quite healthy but was beginning to feel the stresses of getting older. I had thoughts like ‘what am I doing?’, ‘where am I going?’ and wondering if I’d been successful enough.

“It takes you through both breathing and movement.

“When you go in to a class there is the typical chatter of the mind. But when you are instructed to ‘inhale, move your arm this way’ for a whole hour it slows your breathing.

Ms Armour added: “It only takes a minute of slowing breathing down to calm someone down. “I’m a swimmer and it changed my swim stroke. All for a sudden I could my whole spine could move better and I was walking more freely.”

How To Do Yoga For Seniors

At over 60, yoga needs to be approached gently and wisely. Remember, we want to help our bodies with gentle exercise, we certainly don’t wish to do any harm. For that reason, if you want to do some seniors yoga poses, you are best to take it slow and steady and to keep it safe.

Here’s some tips when practicing yoga as a senior:

1. Quality over quantity

You know the song, “It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it. That’s what gets results…?”. Well, that really is what gets results.

If you want to do yoga as a senior, do remember that your body is not as fit as it used to be. Go slowly and gently.

The best way to do yoga as a senior is take it slow and gently.

Forget about how long you can hold a pose for, and instead focus on how conscious you are of the yoga poses. When you experience muscle tightness, consciously relax the tight area.

 2. Find A Good Local Yoga Studio With A Gentle Practice Or Do Yoga At The Nursing Home

When it comes to doing yoga, seniors should go gently and should practice in a supportive yoga group. There are some classes at nursing homes these days. And there are also specific classes of group yoga for seniors.

The important thing is to go gently.

Going gently reduces the chance of injury. It is also better for the mind to slow down and be more conscious when practicing.

Some teachers are better at teacher yoga to seniors than others, as explained in this article on Gaia.    

A good teacher will also help you to be aware of potential dangers such as decreased bone density and balance problems.

Plus, they will have the best props, such as bolsters and straps, to help you with your practice.

3: Use Props

 If you want to do yoga at home, get a good yoga prop set like this one on Amazon.

A good prop set like the one above contains all the tools you need for a healthy, successful practice.

Be sure to take a look at that link above. So you have everything you need to successfully practice at home.

  • TIP: If you’re going to do yoga at home, take it easy and support your body with a good yoga chair.

3.  The Best Anti-Aging Yoga Poses For Seniors

The best yoga poses for seniors are ones that do not rely on balance. Sadly, as we age we lose our balance and the last thing we want to do as seniors in yoga is fall over.

The best yoga poses for seniors are poses that offer plenty of support to the whole body. Think Downward Dog and Sphinx (DoYouYoga has a great article listing some of the best yoga poses for seniors. Read it here)

Some of the best yoga poses for seniors include:

  • Downward Dog
  • Sphinx
  • Bird Dog
  • Mountain Pose
  • Tree Pose Low
  • Lung Pose Bridge Pose
  • Legs-Up Wall Pose

4. Have Fun

I am firm believer in the idea that emotions heal.

Happiness and fun produce positive energy that can heal the body. That’s one reason why you should focus on using yogic poses for positive energy.

Make it fun and enjoyable. Not only will this boost your mood, but it will also help to relax your body and to release any tension. Happiness is a healer.

5. Combine It With Meditation

Make sure you combine your physical yoga exercise with mental exercises. To do this, practice yogic meditations.

When you combine asanas with meditation you get the best of both worlds. You exercise your body and your mind at the same time. And of course, there are very many benefits of meditation too.

For the best seniors’ yoga for over 60s, combine mindfulness exercises with physical poses and exercise your entire being.

When starting, try 20 minutes of poses followed by 20 minutes of meditation. In just 40 minutes you will exercise your entire being, ad you will feel great!

And That’s How To Practice Yoga As A Senior

There are so many benefits of yoga for seniors. It offers a gentle exercise that improves balance, coordination and strength. It improves cognitive skills as well, and can even help to slow memory loss.

As we age we need to take better care of the body and mind. And yoga is one of the best ways to do this.

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Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher and writer. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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