The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

senior yoga pose

Regular exercise is very important for seniors. Of course, it has many impressive physical benefits, but can have amazing effects on the mind as well. When you start an exercise routine, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different and the level of activity they can handle will entirely depend on the individual. However, in most cases, seniors can take part in gentle forms of exercise, such as yoga. Let’s take a look at how yoga can benefit seniors.

Is Yoga Right for Seniors?

Regular yoga practice can have numerous benefits for seniors, including improved muscle tone, balance, strength, and better moods. It can also result in better posture, breathing, and can work to calm the mind and soothe anxiety. It can also result in decreased risk of heart disease, prevent falls through improved balance, manage pain from arthritis, and improve sleep quality.

One of the things that makes yoga such a great form of exercise for seniors, is that it’s easily adaptable. In a class, poses and movements can be modified to be made easier or more difficult, based on your fitness level. This allows everyone to have a customized workout, without having to worry about injury or not being challenged enough.

What type of yoga should seniors try?

There are many forms of yoga, ranging from very slow and gentle stretches to intense strength moves that require a lot of effort. For seniors, it’s these slower stretching routines that will work the best. Hatha yoga is a great place to start for beginners. It focuses on slow movements and breath work, which makes it ideal for those who are brand new to yoga. You could also try a more specialized class such as Iyengar, which uses special props to assist with poses, or Viniyoga and Kripalu classes, which focus on customizing each move to the abilities of the individual. It’s best if you can find a class designed specifically for seniors, but if you can’t find one, a beginner class is also great.

Many studios and community centres also offer forms of adaptive yoga, which are designed to make the practice of yoga more accessible to those with mobility issues. This includes chair yoga, in which all the poses are done while you sit down, and water yoga, which is performed in a pool and makes movements easier on joints. At Bria Communities, our residents have access to regular chair yoga classes, as they are part of our BriaFit programs. It’s a great way for them to experience the benefits of yoga in a way that is safe and comfortable.

How to get started with senior’s yoga

If you’re curious about yoga, it’s best to look for a senior’s or beginner class nearby to try out. Attending a class or a one-on-one session with a trained instructor is always best, especially for beginners. With an instructor in the room with you, they will be able to correct form and offer adjustments to make the moves easier and prevent injury.

However, if you aren’t able to find an in-person class to attend, you can also try to follow along with a yoga video. There are many free videos available online, or on DVD. Be sure to look for routines designed specifically for seniors or beginners, and make sure you never push yourself too far in any stretch.

Before you get started, make sure you have something to wear that will allow you to move freely. A light top and either leggings, shorts, or light pants are perfect for this. You’ll also want to bring a water bottle to keep hydrated as you move, a towel, and possibly a yoga mat to create a softer surface to move around on. (Though many classes can provide a mat if you don’t have one.)

With so many options available, yoga is an excellent form of physical activity for seniors. Give it a try and you’re sure to experience the benefits!