Can The Elderly Do Yoga Too?

By doing a yoga practice, you can slow down the aging process, which is great news for senior citizens. As you get older, your bones often get a little more brittle and your hips will get a little tighter. You might have a nagging pain in the back. Yoga can help with these aging symptoms and help you reduce your risk of falling by strengthening your muscles and toning your bones.

If you are a senior who wants to practice yoga, make sure you:

1. Check With Your Doctor
Before beginning with any yoga practice, you should check with your doctor. If you begin feeling pain while practicing it is okay to stop. Also, make sure to avoid overstretching the muscles in yoga class, which can cause you to pull a muscle.

2. Tell You Yoga Instructor Of any Ailments
Also, make sure you let your yoga instructor know of any issues that you have like a hip replacement or knee replacement. This way they can modify any of the poses for you. A restorative yoga class or a chair yoga class is a great place for a senior to start yoga if they have never had a yoga practice before.

3. Remember, You Don’t Have To Be Flexible
It is not about flexibility it is just about getting that blood flow to the places that it doesn’t normally get in your normal daily routine. The goal is to keep the muscles and the bones healthy.

4. You Don’t Have To Compete 
Keep this goal in mind and avoid competing with the person next to you in yoga class. There are no competitions in yoga.

5. Practice Yoga To Slow Down Mental Diseases Like Dementia 
The saying “use it, or lose it” applies here. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, but we do know that by being active we can slow it down and minimize the progression of the disease. This is because a lot of progression of these diseases is due to disuse.

6. Reduce Responsive Behaviors Associated With Dementia
Yoga practice facilitates deep breathing, which steadies your nervous system, which reduces these responsive behaviors.

7. Yoga Can Improve Sleep
Seniors often suffer from insomnia, but studies show that yoga can increase sleep duration and help you get to sleep faster.

8. Increase Range Of Motion Through Joints And Reduce Pain
Many seniors suffer from constant pain in their joints and muscles, commonly from arthritis. The good news is that yoga is shown to make pain manageable and reduce chronic pain overall. Yoga also stretches the muscles and lubricates the muscles and joints through physical postures, which improve your mobility and flexibility.

9. Yoga Reduces High Blood Pressure
Studies show that calming methods in yoga, like breathing cues, combined with physical activity can reduce high blood pressure levels.

Here’s an example of a good pose for seniors:

Name – One-legged Wind Relieving Pose

  • Benefits: This pose stretches the muscles in the back, hips, and reduces pain in the lower back.

How To Do This Pose:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the mat, hip-width apart.
  • Bring your right knee into your chest.
  • Comfortably hug your right thigh to your chest.
  • Slowly straighten the left leg with the foot flexed.
  • Make sure that your pelvis and right buttock remains on the floor.
  • Inhale as you continue hugging the right knee gently towards your body.
  • Contract the muscles in the left straight leg and foot.
  • As you grow more confident in this pose, bring your nose forward to your right knee. Hold for five seconds.
  • Exhale, release the head back down to the mat.
  • Repeat on the other side.

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