Yoga for seniors can be challenging for a variety of reasons, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges. There are many different types of yoga, including Iyengar, Chair, and Restorative. Learn which one is right for you and your body type. Here are five poses to consider for seniors:
Aside from focusing on self-soothing and relaxation, restorative yoga for seniors helps improve healing capacity and rebalance the nervous system. In fact, there are 14 million senior citizens practicing yoga in the United States alone. While it’s not an alternative medical treatment, it can be an excellent supplement to any medical regimen. As an added bonus, many of the poses can be done at home. For those who are limited by time or unable to attend a class, a restorative yoga class is a great way to enjoy a long meditative stretch.
Restorative yoga for seniors focuses on posture and breathing techniques to help seniors achieve a deep state of relaxation. This 33-minute class begins with a warm-up pose on the floor and progresses to a supported bridge pose. Then, seniors will move on to a 12-minute standing sequence that strengthens their core and legs. This class is best suited for seniors with limited mobility. While the poses are gentle, they are highly effective for those who have limited mobility or who are recovering from an injury.
Iyengar yoga is an excellent exercise program for older people. Its methodical nature and emphasis on proper form makes it an excellent option for senior citizens, especially those who have chronic health issues. Props and modifications are common in this style of yoga. Some seniors even practice Iyengar yoga as a way to relieve pain and maintain a healthy weight. The benefits of this exercise program are endless and can be found online.
As an added benefit, Iyengar yoga is not a vigorous workout. The emphasis is on the process of moving into poses and the use of props. Unlike a traditional yoga class, Iyengar yoga does not count as a cardio workout. The emphasis on proper body alignment also means that you won’t need a cardio workout. And because it isn’t a vigorous exercise program, you won’t be able to gain weight.
Yin yoga is a practice where poses are held for two to seven minutes and focus on deep connective tissue. This deeper tissue is less elastic than muscle, so longer holds help to release tension and improve flexibility. This form of yoga was developed in ancient China and India, which shared many similar philosophical concepts. Yin yoga combines physical exercise, breathing exercises, and meditation. Seniors can benefit from its many benefits, including improving joint mobility and stress reduction.
Yin yoga focuses on the connective tissues in the body, which help to link bone and muscle. The practice may also improve range of motion. The poses of Yin Yoga feel like a form of meditation, with the focus on finding the edge of a stretch and breathing deeply. The practice may help relieve stiffness and pain and may be more beneficial for people with limited mobility. Whether or not you are able to do this form of yoga, it can benefit your daily life.
Seniors with limited mobility can benefit greatly from chair yoga. Many people who practice chair yoga report that their muscles feel looser and they’re more limber than they’ve ever been. After three months of class, most participants have regular bowel movements and don’t need to take medication for it. Some even find that it helps them sleep better! The benefits of chair yoga go beyond relieving stress. The exercises improve blood circulation, strengthen muscles and joints, and reduce blood pressure.
The first chair yoga pose is the seated forward fold pose. This stretch strengthens the shoulders, lower back, and hips. It also helps release tension in the neck and shoulders. As you practice, make sure to breathe deeply and hold for a few breaths. You can also use a table instead of a chair. For added support, place a block under the front foot. Repeat the same sequence as many times as necessary.
Whether you’re an old-timer looking for a workout or an active senior looking to keep in shape, vinyasa yoga can offer numerous benefits. This fast-paced style of yoga has the added benefit of being meditative, with its blend of physical effort and introspection. It also has no set time, but classes usually last an hour or less. There is no set sequence, so you can flow from pose to pose at your own pace.
A Vinyasa class generally incorporates a series of different poses, including the sun salutation, downward-facing dog, and cobra. Each pose is performed with conscious breathing, and the emphasis is on flow rather than holding or focusing on one thing. You can even customize a Vinyasa class to fit your schedule. The variety of poses in each class means it will never be boring.
Senior citizens are encouraged to consider Bikram yoga because of its numerous health benefits. It improves body alignment and strengthens muscles. The exercise burns calories and promotes mindful eating. The classes are typically held in hot rooms at over 100 degrees, with 40 percent humidity. Because it is extremely strenuous, seniors should find a class that suits their fitness level. Senior citizens may also benefit from the meditation and chanting elements of the class.
Another benefit of Bikram yoga is the consistency of the sequence. Many teachers follow a strict script. This script allows a teacher to give a large group of students the same exercise routine every time. The script uses push language to instruct students to “lockout” their joints, “go beyond flexibility,” and “engage.” Unlike other styles, a Bikram class requires engagement. This means that senior citizens may benefit from the gentle pace of a class with a knowledgeable teacher.