· By Chiru Roy
Yoga Poses for Seniors
Age is just a number when you practice yoga everyday. On a chart of comparison, there are more seniors practicing Yoga than any other age group, to promote healthy longevity. The risk of diseases requiring medical attention as well as muscles and joints problems increases with age. Seniors suffer emotionally and psychologically with higher stress and anxiety. These factors make Yoga more important for the elderly.The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors
- Better flexibility
- Improved strength
- Higher mobility
- Greater relaxation
- Improves chronic pain
- Stress relief
- Healthier heart
- Improved sleep
- Better concentration
1 Tadasana or Mountain Pose It is a gentle yoga pose for seniors and can be practiced at any time of the day.
Method: First stand tall with closed feet, and heels slightly apart. Relax your arms by your sides, breathe out, pull your abdomen in and lengthen the spine, while evenly balancing the weight on both legs.
Duration: Hold the pose for about 10-30 seconds and increase gradually.
Health Benefits: The pose improves balance, strengthens thighs, calf muscles, ankles, tones the abdomen, improves posture, reduces flat feet, and relieves sciatica.
2. Balasana or Child Pose It resembles the child’s position in a womb, hence the name. This beginner level pose must be practiced in the morning on an empty stomach.
Method: Sit back on the heels with the knees hip width apart. Bend down with arms stretched overhead until palms rest on the floor. Now bring the arms back to the sides with palms facing up. Relax the shoulders and neck.
Duration: Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds to one minute or as long as possible.
Health Benefits: This pose calms down the mind, releases tension, improve body functioning, reduces anxiety, improves blood circulation, stretches muscles of back, chest, and shoulders.
3. Baddha Konasana or Butterfly Pose or Cobbler's pose Also referred to as bound angle pose, can be practiced anytime.
Method: Sit comfortably, then match the soles of the feet, relax the knees so that they touch the floor. Sit tall and bring the soles of the feet together as you open your knees out to the sides. You may bend forward for a greater stretch, but avoid rounding too much.
Duration: Hold for a minute, relax and then repeat.
Health Benefits: Helps seniors fight constipation by stimulating the bladder, kidney, and urinary disorders, helps in sciatica, good for female reproductive health relieves fatigue and anxiety.
4. Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose The term comes from Sanskrit word “bhujanga”, meaning snake. This healing yoga pose is great to resolve back problems, can be practiced in the evening after 3-4 hours from the last meal.
Method: Take a face-down position with legs stretched apart. Hands should fall under the shoulders with palms pressing the ground and open fingers. Touch the lower body down, while raising the upper body off the floor, keeping the navel on the floor. Now arch back.
Duration: Hold the asana for 10 seconds or more.
Health Benefits: Improves flexibility, strengthens spine and chest and abdominal muscles and elevates mood.
5. Vrikshasana or Tree Pose Stand grounded like a tree to improve balance and strengthen your legs, abdominal muscles and back, best practised in the morning. If seniors find it difficult, they may start with taking support, and eventually, do it by themselves.
Method: Place your right foot high up on your left thigh, making a triangle. The left foot should be placed firmly. With a straight spine, inhale and raise your arms over your head to bring the palms together. Exhale and bring your hands down. Repeat the same with the other leg.
Duration: Start from 30 seconds and then increase gradually.
Health Benefits: Improving leg, hip mobility and abdominal strength.
6. Adho Mukho Svanasana or Downward Facing Dog Pose Another seemingly difficult but easy to do pose for seniors. This should be practiced in the morning. “A ‘Down Dog’ a day keeps the doctor away” is a popular saying.
Method: Come down on hands and knees and lift your hips up to form a triangle. Press your heels down, let your head hand freely and tighten your waist.
Duration: Stay for five to eight breaths, lower down, and repeat two more times.
Health Benefits: Great to energise, improve joint health and flexibility. This helps you become more active, stretches hamstrings, enhances blood circulation, boosts immunity, sharpens the mind, and helps prevent Alzheimer.
Conclusion These yoga poses are gentle and appropriate for seniors as well as beginners. Yoga for seniors can make a real difference in both mental and physical health and well-being.