The benefits of yoga are vast and well-documented. Yoga can improve flexibility, strength, and balance, and it has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. For seniors, these benefits can be especially important, as aging can often bring about a decline in physical abilities and mental health. In this article, we will discuss the basics of yoga and provide a practical guide for how seniors can get started with this beneficial practice.
Top Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors
If you are a senior citizen who is curious to try yoga, or if you are already practicing it and want to get the most out of it, read on for the top benefits of yoga for seniors:
- Improved Balance and Coordination: Yoga helps improve balance and coordination which can be crucial for seniors as they age. A loss in balance can lead to falls which can cause serious injuries.
- Increased Strength and Flexibility: As we age, our muscle mass decreases and our flexibility declines. One of the great things about yoga is that it helps increase both strength and flexibility.
- Reduced Stress Levels: Yoga helps reduce stress levels which can be beneficial for everyone, but especially for people who suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure.
- Pain Relief: It is well known that various forms of exercise help relieve pain such as arthritis or back pain caused by conditions like fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, or osteoporosis.
- Better Sleep: A study conducted on seniors with sleep-related issues shows that practicing yoga can help improve one’s sleep due to its relaxing effects on both body and mind.
Yoga Poses For Seniors
- Mountain Pose – Through the feet, this yoga stance aids with balance and grounding. With your large toes touching and your heels together, stand tall. Relax your shoulders down and back while you draw your abdominals in and up. Take five to eight deep breaths.
- Tree Pose – Leg and abdominal strength are both excellent. Balance and attentiveness are important for seniors. Stand tall and place one foot, either above or below the knee, on the opposite inner thigh. Bring your hands to a prayer position and hold for five to eight breaths while you open your leg to the side.
- Bird Dog – Supports the abdominals as well as the back. As we become older, the health of our spine becomes increasingly crucial. Begin by crouching down and extending one arm forward and the other back. Draw your belly button towards your spine while holding a teacup on your back. After then, switch sides and stay for a while.
- Downward Facing Dog – This is a great position for joints and all-over body strength. Start on your hands and knees, tuck those toes under to lift hips up into a triangle shape with legs providing pressure from below as well so that you can bring the weight back down again without letting it spill out too far forward or losing tightness along the neck/shoulder area during folds.
- Sphinx – It’s great for strengthening your upper back and avoiding forward head syndrome. Sphinx is a mild exercise that works the back deltoids and opens up the chest. Place your forearms on the mat and your elbows beneath your shoulders while lying down on your stomach. Draw your shoulder blades together and down your back with a strong grip on your arms. For five to eight breaths, lift your abdominals in and up.
Yoga And Fall Prevention
There are many reasons why yoga is effective at preventing falls. For one, it helps improve balance and stability. A good posture is also essential for seniors as it helps them maintain their balance.
The other reason why yoga can prevent falls in seniors is that it increases flexibility and strength. A study published by the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research found that participants who practiced yoga three times a week experienced significant improvements in their balance, lower back pain, flexibility, and strength after just eight weeks.
Yoga is a great way to help maintain your physical and mental well-being, regardless of age. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of yoga for seniors or want some ideas on what poses can be used by those who may need it most, contact Yoga Flow SF today! Our wellness experts would love to discuss how we can make sure that you’re doing all that’s needed to live an active lifestyle.
Do You Need Senior-Friendly Yoga Classes You Can Trust?
In the beginning, Yes. Especially if you have not maintained an active lifestyle. We suggest for you to begin with Yin yoga or classes labeled level ‘1-2’. Our Walnut Creek studio also has Gentle Yoga with Massage Therapy Balls. We are known for Vinyasa Flow classes at Yoga Flow SF which mix traditional yoga poses with athletic movements to create a vigorous and balanced workout for practitioners. We get Seniors in these classes! Our motto is to do what you can, forget the rest and rest when needed. Our instructors’ energy during the class is infectious, making it an empowering experience for all levels of practitioners—from beginner to advanced. We offer modifications that simplify the poses to be more suitable for beginners or some that amplify them for our advanced practitioners so you can choose which one is better suited based on your skill level! Specifically, this type of yoga really helps with creating strength and flexibility in both body AND mind while challenging us to grow into stronger versions of ourselves. Book your first class now at one of our San Francisco locations or our new location in downtown Walnut Creek!