We’ve all heard the saying, “age is just a number” or “you’re as young as you think you are.” Unfortunately, for the body of a senior, that is seldom the case. Once you hit a certain age, joint pain, diabetes, and high blood pressure become commonplace, and lethargy and immobility become unwitting companions. Fortunately, there are easy yoga poses for seniors that can keep them away.
Doing yoga not only helps you shoo away these troublesome visitors, it offers great mental health benefits, and keeps your body active.
So, here are 10 of the best yoga poses for seniors recommended by experts of geriatric care in Chennai. All of them can be done at home and you don’t need any extra equipment other than a simple mat or rug.
(Note: If you are suffering from any injuries or have any serious physical conditions, do consult with your physician or Patient Care Taker trying them out. )
1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Tadasana is a good starting and one of the best standing yoga poses for seniors. Stand straight with your big toes and heels touching together. Relax your back and shoulders while drawing your abdominals in and up. Take six to eight deep breaths.
This pose helps with your posture and keeps you from slouching. It also increases blood circulation, improves digestion, and is extremely good for your feet. You can do this particular pose at any time of the day, and it doesn’t have to be on an empty stomach.
2. Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
This pose is great for elders who want to improve their strength. Stand with your legs at least 3 feet apart and extend both arms. After bringing the arms at the shoulder level inhale slowly, raise the right arm, and bend your body towards the left. Point the right arm at the ground and lookup. Maintain your breath, stay for 30 to 60 secs, and slowly come up. Repeat on the other side.
This asana improves blood circulation and reduces stress. It also helps reduce fat in the waist and thigh. Concentration also increases with this pose.
However, if you have high or low blood pressure, it is not advisable to practice this pose. You can choose to practice the next pose as it’s great for controlling BP.
3. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose 2)
This asana is one of the most graceful poses in the yogic world. To do this stand with your legs apart with a foot perpendicular to the mat and the other pointing forward. Root down all corners and bring your hands up. Bend your front knee as much as you can without stressing. Like in any yoga pose, never force your body.
The pose gives you strength and makes your legs very strong. It also stretches your ankles, shoulders, and legs. Your lungs also get a good expansion and make breathing easier. If you are someone who experiences a shortage of breath often, this pose is perfect for any yoga for seniors sequence.
4. Bitilasana (Cow Pose)
Get on your hands and knees with wrists under your shoulders. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers. Make sure your knees are exactly beneath your hips. Finally, bring your chest up towards the ceiling and tilt your pelvis up.
This posts power-ups your brain and improves focus. It also helps in maintaining spinal health and increasing overall body coordination.
5. Marjaryasana (Cat Pose)
This pose is a follow up to the previous asana or Bitilasana. From the cow pose position, bring your back at level with the ground and arch your back upwards. Push down on your palms and make sure to keep your fingers spread very widely.
Marjatyasana stretches your entire upper body and aligns your spine properly. It also stimulates your abdominal muscles and therefore helps in breathing. Your kidney also benefits from this pose.
6. Dandasana (Staff Pose)
Sit straight and extend your legs outwards. If you are leaning back, it may mean your hamstrings are tight. You can sit on a blanket or a cushion to lift yourself if that happens. Keep your legs together and try to sit straight without forcing yourself. Pay attention to your breath.
This asana is an energizing pose and improves your posture. It stretches the shoulders and also the muscles in the chest. This is also great to strengthen the back, making it good for those with back pain.
7. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
This pose is a deep stretch for your pelvis and you can transition to it from the Dandasana. From the previous pose stretch your arms overhead with an inhale and slowly bend forward with an exhale. Try to touch your toes and go as far as you can. Never force yourself to reach more than you can.
This pose is highly beneficial if you have asthma or abdominal discomfort like diarrhea. If your body is stiff, this will also help in reducing that. However, do this pose under supervision if you have a back injury or had one in the past.
8. Baddha Koṇāsana (Butterfly Pose)
The butterfly pose ranks among the top seated yoga poses for seniors. To do this pose, first sit up straight and tall. Then bring your feet together and open your knees out to the sides. Try to make your knees touch the ground as much as you can without forcing. For a deeper stretch, you can fold forwards without rounding your back and hold for around eight breaths.
This pose stimulates your kidneys and helps you stay free of bowel issues. It also relieves fatigue and anxiety. For senior women, this asana also smoothens the menopause process greatly.
9. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
This pose is perfect for seniors who sit a lot on chairs and sofas. To do this asana, cross your legs, widen your knees, and bring each foot under the opposite knee. Try to form a triangle with your legs and torso. Sit up straight and breathe slowly.
Sukhasana is a relaxing pose and calms the mind. It specifically targets your back and strengthens it. Your knees and ankles are also stretched in this pose. Therefore, if you had a past knee injury this pose should not be done.
10. Shavasana (Mrtasana)
This is one of the easiest and most calming poses you can do in yoga. All you have to do is lie on your back with your palm towards the ceiling. However, the catch is, there should be zero movements in your body except for your breathing. Concentrate on your breathing and think about nothing else.
This particular asana is great for those that have trouble sleeping. It is also beneficial for those that have diabetes and suffer from constipation regularly. Practicing this regularly will also improve your concentration and keep you active and fulfilled. Try doing this at the end of every yoga session. It’s a great way to cap things off.
Practicing these 10 asanas every day will help you maintain a healthy body and improve your overall well-being. Apart from them, there are chair yoga poses for seniors that can be done on a regular basis. You can also insert a meditation session to nurture both body and mind. Also, don’t worry if your body is stiff in the beginning or you can’t do the full pose; it will come with time. The important thing is to start your yoga journey.
“I don’t have the time with all these household chores,” you say? Well, don’t worry. Get your daily tasks like laundry, housecleaning, groceries, and medical shopping done by services providing Geriatric Care in Chennai. It will truly help you exhale the negative and inhale the positive.