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6 benefits and yoga excersizes for the elderly

6 benefits and yoga excersizes for the elderly

Yoga is the journey of the Self, through the Self, to the Self – The Bhagwat Gita.

Staying healthy and feeling your best is important at any age and that doesn’t change just because you have a few more grey hair.

Yoga can be one of the best ways to stay healthy and active. Undoubtedly yoga has innumerable health benefits for people over age of 60, from healthy bones to flexibility to anxiety relief.

Here are 6 benefits of yoga:
1) Benefit of movement – without the strain
Exercise is one of the essential elements of healthy ageing. But one has to take care that the exercise is not too strenuous for seniors. Yoga can be one of the best low-impact exercise options that is easier on the body as compared to other rigorous activities like running or weight-lifting.

2) Reduce anxiety
As seniors grow older they experience major life changes, including retirement, children leaving home, loss of loved ones and of course physical changes, leading to anxiety and stress. Yoga has a relaxation impact on the entire body and help reduce the impact of stress.

3) Boost Mood
Yoga’s combination of breathing, meditation and movement creates an overall sense of well-being. In fact, studies show yoga has a greater impact on enhancing mood and reducing anxiety than other forms of exercise. The reason being yoga boosts levels of the brain chemical GABA, which helps calm nerves.

4) Build strength and balance
Practicing postures that emphasize standing and balance can help build strength and confidence, too. As the elderly gets more sedentary, their sense of balance atrophies. The principle of ‘use it or lose it’ really does apply.

5) Sharpens your mind
Breathing exercises such as alternate-nostril breathing help harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of the personality.

6) Promotes good health
Practice of regular yoga exercise shows improvement in chronic illness including arthritis, helps in weight management and diabetes management. Also researchers of India found that people who have mild to moderately high blood pressure were able to reverse it by practicing yoga.

Here are the 6 Yoga practices for seniors:
1) Tree Pose

  • Stand with your legs together and your arms straight over your head, palms together.
  • Raise your right leg slightly off the ground so that the toes are still on the ground and your heel is touching the inside part of your ankle.
  • Balance for 20 to 30 seconds if possible.
    Repeat with the other leg. Hold onto something if necessary.

2) Warrior Pose I
Any standing pose helps to improve bone density.

  • Begin with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms straight at your side.
  • Turn to the right, and step your right foot out wide about 3 to 4 feet while keeping your heels in line. Turn your right foot out to a 90-degree angle.
  • Inhale and raise your arms straight to the sides to shoulder height.
  • As you exhale, bend the right leg until your thigh is parallel with the floor. Your left leg should be straight.
  • Hold pose for up to 30 seconds while concentrating on your breath.

3) Warrior Pose-II

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Keeping your right foot stationary, bend your right knee deeply and place your left foot about 3 feet behind you, pointing your left toes outward.
  • With your front knee bent at a right angle, raise both arms near your ears and look up. Take three breaths, and then return to a standing position.
  • Repeat.

4) Half chair at the wall

  • Stand about 1 foot away from the wall, with your rear touching the wall.
  • Raise your arms forward and up over your head, with your palms facing each other.
  • Bend your knees and squat halfway to the floor. Hold for five breaths, and then stand.
  • Repeat.

5) Upward facing dog

  • This posture releases tension from the back and shoulders.
  • The bend in the lower back should be small.
  • Chest should be lifted and the arms strong.
  • Let your belly come off from the floor slightly as you establish a foundation with your thighs.
    (Those who have severe back pain or injury are advised not to try this pose)

6) Relaxing Pose

  • Lie flat on your back, pillow under your head, eyes closed.
  • Allow your feet to splay to the sides.
  • Rest your arms alongside your body, palms facing up.
  • Then relax, surrender to the floor and breathe deeply.

One may think it is difficult to start practicing yoga at an older age, but the truth is a gentle practice for beginners can be a safe and excellent way to stay active and lower stress levels. Ninety-four-year-old yogi Tao Porchon-Lynch swears by yoga as a way to maintain a positive attitude, relieve stress and age gracefully.

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