Yoga Poses for Seniors
Yoga for seniors has been gaining in popularity over recent years. In fact, yoga is currently one of the fastest growing fitness regimens in America. It appeals to all skills levels – beginner and advanced. And rightly so, yoga enables one to calm the mind, practice deep breathing, and increase one’s balance, agility, and strength.
There are many immediate benefits to yoga that seniors can enjoy, namely, restful sleep. Seniors who practice yoga for at least 30 minutes a day are able to fall asleep at night more quickly than those who do not practice yoga. These same seniors also report being able to sleep for longer periods at a time resulting in better mental and physical abilities the following morning.
The below are some top yoga poses for seniors (you can find descriptions of how to perform each pose on YogaJournal.com):
Downward Dog Pose
This pose increases circulation, enhances blood flow, and helps rid the body of toxins by building your upper body strength and offsetting the impact of osteoporosis.
This pose lengthens and stretches the back muscles and is useful in decreasing the pain associated with arthritis.
Used in conjunction with the cat pose, this position loosens up the tightness in the spine and helps promote increased flexibility in the back muscles and opens up the chest.
This pose gently stretches and lengthens the back and body while increasing blood circulation. It also helps open up the shoulders, hips, and thighs.
This pose helps center the body and provides constipation relief, indigestion relief, and decreases diabetes symptoms.
For those who have limited mobility, there are a number of poses that you can perform while seated.
Chair Cat-Cow Pose
Similar to the traditional cat-cow pose, this position is performed on a chair with feet flat to the ground and hands on the knees. Using deep breaths, slowly stretch and lengthen your back pulling your chest towards you as in cow pose, then slowly round out your back as in cat pose. This position will help promote increased flexibility and circulation.
Seated Spinal Twist Pose
This pose helps relieve sciatic nerve pain while stimulating internal organs and relieving pain around the spine area. Simply sit forward in your chair with feet planted firmly on the ground. Take a deep breath in and out. With a straight back gently pull your left arm over to your right hip and let your right hand hold on to the chair. While in this position lift your chest up and take long breaths in and out. Then twist to the opposite side and repeat.
Crescent Lunge Chair Pose
This pose helps strengthen your lower body while improving flexibility and strength. It also engages your lower back, chest, and arms. This is one of the best poses for seniors who sit for long periods of time as it helps reengage the lower body and supports circulation. Stand behind the chair with your hands holding the top of the chair’s back. Step your left foot backwards to lengthen your heel as far as you can comfortably go while keeping your right knee directly above your right heel. You want to feel like you are lunging in place. Take a deep breath in and out. Then raise your right arm directly over your head and take another deep breath in and out. Reverse sides and repeat. This position will help open up your chest and shoulders as well.
Yoga for seniors is a great way to improve strength, flexibility, and helps increase circulation throughout the body. After all, who can say no to a great night’s sleep too?
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