When creating an exercise regimen for seniors, safety remains the first concern. Yoga is a low impact activity that yields great physical benefits. Practiced worldwide from Rishikesh, India (the birthplace of yoga) to Tacoma, yoga is wonderful because it can be done virtually anywhere and requires very little in the form of equipment. Yoga can be tailored and modified to accommodate those challenged with mobility or flexibility. If these are too difficult at first, try chair yoga to get the hang of it.
The tree pose is a great introduction to yoga and can help prevent falls. It requires focus and improves balance. If this pose is too difficult at first, hold onto something. This is a favorite position of Dr. Andrew Weil.
1. Begin this pose by standing tall with your hands together, lifted over your head. Position your weight evenly between both feet.
2. Shift your weight onto your left foot and bring your right leg slightly up, keeping your toes touching the ground. Place your right heel to the inside of your left leg.
3. Hold this balancing position for 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Repeat using other leg.
As you get better, you can eventually place your foot on the inside of you inner thigh (picture above).
The Bridge position might seem difficult, but it is quite simple and safe for beginners. This stretch improves blood flow, can reduce fatigue, and strengthens the core – something all aging adults need.
1. Start by laying on the floor with your legs bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your sides.
2. Press your hands to the ground and take a deep breath in.
3. Tighten your stomach muscles and exhale.
4. Now tilt your pelvis upward and lift your back off the ground, forming a bridge position.
5. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and lower yourself slowly.
If this pose seems uncomfortable around the neck area, place a fitness pad or towel under your shoulders for extra support.
This well-known position is great for meditation plus you can focus on your breathing techniques. Child’s pose can alleviate lower back soreness, improve flexibility and is known for calming of the mind.
1. Start on the ground, place your big toes together and sit over your feet.
2. With you knees apart, stretch your hands in front of your body, extending as far as you can. Exhale while you do this.
3. Your chest should be close to your knees, with your hands reaching far in front.
4. Hold this resting pose for 20 to 30 seconds, breathing normally.
Published on March 2, 2016.