yoga elderly

Yoga Exercises for the Elderly

Simple Yoga Exercises

If you are looking to stay healthy and fit into the later years of your life then follow the example of this amazing Yoga Teacher, who is yes 91 years old.  She is not the only example of the wonderful benefits of yoga, if you are looking to live a long and healthy life.  Just look around at the yoga teachers you know, and I am sure you will notice that their energy and body do not reflect their age. 

Yoga is perhaps one of the best ways to preserve your youth, as it works on so many different levels of your being.  From helping you stay strong and flexible, to helping you reduce stress and anxiety, to helping you unleash your full inner potential so that you can live a satisfying life, yoga does all that and more.  In this article I will present the inspiring video link of Senior Yoga Teacher and below that I will outline some nice yoga sets and breathing exercises to help you regain your vigor and energy, no matter what your age. 

If you are looking for more inspiring videos of seniors doing and TEACHING yoga, just stop by YouTube and do a quick search.  Many more inspiring videos are available there.

Senior Yoga Guidelines:

Of course if you are elderly please first check with your medical service provider before starting any new fitness or yoga routine.  Then also please take it slow and gently, allowing your body to adjust and develop as you deepen your yoga practice.  Below also are some important article with guidelines that you should follow when practicing yoga and pranayama (yoga breathing exercises).

Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Practice
10 Important Guidelines to Kundalini Yoga Practice
Beginner’s Guide to Pranayama Practice

 

Yoga Breathing Exercises for Seniors

A good way to start off your yoga practice is with a good set of breathing exercises.  These exercises have a wide range of wonderful benefits, which are detailed in each of the articles referenced below.  You can do this set sitting on a chair or sitting cross legged.  The full details of this particular set can be found in the article: Simple Chair Yoga for Energy and Stress Relief.  Again, please make sure you go nice and slow and don’t overdo it.

 

Simple Yoga Breathing Exercises Set:

Follow the step-by-step instructions below to do the Simple Yoga Pranayama set:

  • Sit up nice and straight and have your feet flat on the floor.  Try not to use the back support of your chair if you are using one.  
  • Elongate your spine upwards and bring your neck back slightly, like a soldier at attention. 
  • Place your hands on your knees, relax your shoulders and let your stomach become soft and relaxed as well.  You can close your eyes of if you like. 
  • Now begin the beginner’s version of Bhastrika Pranayama.  Here all I want you to do is breathe deeply.  Let your abdomen and chest expand fully on the inhalation, and let them contract completely on the exhalation.  Continue to do this long deep breathing for 1 full minute.  This exercise will relax you and help your entire respiratory system. 
  • Next begin Breath of FireKundalini Yoga style for 1 full minute.  Keep in mind that if at any time you start to feel dizzy or feel you are overdoing it, either slow down or switch to normal breathing till you feel ready to continue again.  The other key with Breath of Fire is to make sure your inhalation and exhalation are equal, or you will end up with too much or too little air and have to reset and restart.  Breath of Fire is going to wake you up, get your energy flowing and harmonize your entire system. 
  • Next do 1 minute of the wonderful Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama.  This is a great exercise to optimize your health and help your body heal.  While doing this exercise make sure you visualize any negativity leaving your system with each exhalation. 
  • Finally, do the following breathing pattern for the last 2 minutes to really soothe your system, focus your mind and help you feel integrated, centered and connected.  This is called Step Breathing.  Inhale slowly taking 5 seconds to complete the inhalation, hold your breath in for 5 seconds, exhale slowly taking 5 seconds to complete the exhalation and then hold your breath out for 5 seconds.  So 1 entire cycle will take 20 seconds, and you will be able to do 6 full rounds of this breathing in the 2 minutes.  If the 5 second intervals are too much initially, just start with 2, 3 seconds or 4 seconds and work your way up. 
  • After you are done with your set close your eyes and relax for a few minutes. 

Yoga Exercises for Seniors:

For the yoga set and yoga practice I have 2 good recommendations for seniors and the elderly.  They are the following 2 yoga sets which you can find on the website.  Both are excellent to do and both consist of simple, but highly rewarding exercises.  These 2 sets are the Spinal Warm-up Yoga Set and the Basic Yoga Set for Beginners.  You can even do both sets if you like, with Spinal Warm-up first, followed by the Basic Yoga Set for Beginners.  I have provided a modified version of the Beginner’s Yoga Set which I think will be even more suitable for seniors below.

 

Spinal Warm-up Yoga Set for Seniors:

As mentioned above the Spinal Warm-up Yoga Exercises is excellent for seniors and you can start with that set if you like.  Here is the video for that set.

 

Simple Yoga Set for Seniors:

Remember that each title is a link to the article with full details on each pose.  Also, in each of those respective articles, modifications for beginners is given whenever required, so make sure you use those modifications as you start out.

1. Kundalini Yoga Butterfly Pose:

  • Duration: 2 – 3 mins 
  • Breath: Breath of Fire
 

Butterfly Pose

2. Kundalini Yoga Cat-Cow Pose:

  • Duration: 1 – 3 mins 
  • Breath: Inhale in cow pose, exhale in cat pose
 

Yoga Cat Pose (Exhale)

 

 

Yoga Cow Pose (Inhale)

3. Yoga Cobra Pose:

  • This is a very basic yoga pose that is part of every school of yoga practice.  It can be done with the elbows bent and also done with the elbow straight.  Beginner’s should be careful with their lower back and elbows, and should take frequent breaks if they get tiered holding the pose.
  • Duration: 1 – 3 mins
  • Breath: Long deep breathing.
 

Cobra Pose w/ Straight Elbows

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