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5 Gentle Yoga Exercises for Older Adults

Yoga exercises are one of the best options for older adults looking for an effective and safe way to improve their physical health and well-being.

The breathing patterns, stretching, and low-impact asanas of yoga come with a plethora of benefits for seniors. They help improve flexibility and balance, reduce stress, promote good sleep, and prevent chronic pain and illnesses.

As these poses can easily be adapted to suit specific fitness preferences and needs, yoga is considered safe for older adults of any fitness level. Moreover, a regular yoga workout can be an amazing way to keep the joints and muscles healthy and remain independent.


Yoga Exercises for Seniors

Here are five of the easiest and safest yoga poses for older adults;

1) Trikonasana or Triangle pose

The triangle pose – one of the best yoga exercises for seniors – helps stretch and strengthen the hip area. It regulates blood pressure and keeps heart disease at bay.

Benefits:

This pose stretches and strengthens the back and leg muscles, including the spine, chest, hamstrings, calves, and inner thighs. It also improves balance, increases focus, and stimulates the abdominal muscles.

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2) Katichakrasana or Standing Spinal Twist

The standing spinal twist is one of the safest yoga exercises for seniors. It gives a gentle stretch to the waist and also makes the muscles more supple and flexible.

Benefits:

The standing spinal twist is a great pose for easing constipation. It improves the flexibility of the waist and spine and also opens up the shoulders and neck. This pose strengthens the lower back and abdominal muscles, prevents slouching, and is also excellent for the legs and arms.

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3) Balasana or Child’s Pose

The balasana is one of the best resting yoga exercises that offers gentle stretches to different parts of the body, including the hips, back, ankles, and thighs.

Benefits:

The child’s pose help stimulates blood flow to the head, ensuring blood circulation to each corner of the body. It relieves tension in the lower back, chest, hamstring and shoulders, relieves backache, and also improves mobility while calming the nerves.

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4) Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose

The cobra pose is an excellent heart-opening backbend yoga exercise that stretches the upper body. It offers relief from stiffness in the shoulders, back pain, and upper body muscle soreness.

Benefits:

The bhujangasana helps fight fatigue, boosts energy level in the body, helps build confidence, improves posture, and counteracts the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. It also enhances blood circulation, and strengthens the shoulders and back.

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5) Salamba Bhujangasana or Sphinx Pose

The sphinx pose is one of the most relaxing yoga exercises for the neck and back.

Benefits:

The salamba bhujangasana helps stimulate the abdominal muscles and opens up the shoulders and chest while also developing strength in the back.

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Important Tips

If you are above 60 and starting your yoga journey, here are a few things you must consider.

First of all, make sure to work under a certified yoga practitioner to avoid pain and any possible injury. Find the type of yoga exercises that works best for you considering your health and fitness. When performing any pose, do not stop breathing; rather keep on breathing easily so that you attain all the meditative benefits of yoga.

Always use a good quality yoga mat, and make use of yoga props, such as blocks and bolsters, when needed, to help with the exercises. Wear comfortable clothes so that you can move your hands and legs easily. Most importantly, listen to your body, and rest when you need it. Feel free to take as many breaks as you want to. Keep challenging yourself, but do not push your body beyond its limit.

Use yoga props when needed. (Photo via Pexels/Mikhail Nilov)
Use yoga props when needed. (Photo via Pexels/Mikhail Nilov)

The benefits of yoga exercises go far beyond just physical ones. Many older adults turn to yoga sessions to work on their memory, alertness, focus, and concentration. Regular yoga practice and meditation can lead to a healthy and happy life, no matter what age you are.


Bottom Line

While yoga exercises offer great benefits, they are not suitable for everyone. Thus, it’s important, especially for seniors, to always exercise caution when starting any new fitness programme. It’s best to consult a doctor or physical therapist before attempting any exercise to determine whether the moves are safe and effective.

It’s normal to experience a gentle stretch while doing these asanas. However, if you experience pain or any type of discomfort, such as a muscle pull, immediately stop, and take a break for a few minutes. Continue the workout only when the discomfort goes away completely.


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