Yoga for Seniors

yoga-for-elderlyYoga for the Elderly

Growing old is the stage when you have more time for yourself, your family, for leisure, recreation and relaxation. However, it is also the time when you are more susceptible to some ailments that are linked to old age like Arthritis, rheumatism, incontinence, and high blood pressure. This raises the need for the seniors to stay fit and healthy during this age. Though the degeneration of the body also set some limits to the types of exercises they can do. This leads to the practice of milder forms of exercise such as jogging, brisk walking, and even Yoga.

Yoga is a form of exercise that adapts to your needs and abilities that it can be done even by senior citizens and pregnant women, and deals with your whole being. It makes your body fitter, the mind calmer and more relaxed. Yoga is also beneficial in the prevention and control of common health and emotional problems that is linked with old age. It helps you in becoming more in touch with yourself and your body enabling you to accept who you are and the state you are in which creates a positive approach in life.

Some Yoga Asanas are designed to normalize your blood pressure and balance the nervous system and are essential in the prevention of heart ailments and problems in the nervous system. The breathing techniques can make you feel refreshed and cleanses the air passages which can help prevent respiratory ailments.

In practicing Yoga, know your body and respect its limits. Do not push yourself too hard in a pose. Yoga can only be effective if you practice it properly. The harder you try, the more you expose yourself to injury. Do not put more stress to your already stressed out body. Remember that Yoga aims to quiet the mind as you exercise the body. If you feel pain, stop what you are doing. The following is a basic Yoga session for the elderly. You do not have to do all the poses, stop when you already feel tired.

Yoga Session for the Elderly

Kapalabhati    
Kapalabhati is a Breathing Technique used specifically for cleansing. If you have a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the chest it is often helpful to breathe quickly. This article will introduce you to this breathing techniques and show you its its benefits.

Seated Poses – Easy Pose (Sukhasana)    
This is one of the classic Meditative Poses and is usually performed after doing the Corpse Pose. The Easy Pose helps in straightening the spine, slowing down metabolism, promoting inner tranquility, and keeping your mind still.

Warm-Up Poses – Cat Pose (Bidalasana)    
The Cat Yoga Pose teaches you to initiate movement from your center and to coordinate your movement and breath. These are two of the most important themes in Yoga practice. Keep in mind that the Cat Pose may not be advisable if you have any chronic or recent back pain or injury.

Backbends – Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana)    
The Dog Pose improves flexibility of your spine, stretches the hips and middle and low back, rejuvenates the body, and helps in preventing back problems. Take note that this Yoga Pose should not be performed if you have serious back pain or injury.

Supine Poses – Double Leg Raise    
A Double Leg Raise is similar to a Single Leg Raise, only this time, you will raise both legs. In doing this Yoga Pose, make sure that the full length of your back is resting on the floor and your shoulders and neck are relaxed. This section covers the steps and guidelines on how to do this pose properly.

Twist Yoga Poses – Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)    
If done properly, the Half Spinal Twist lengthens and strengthens the spine. It is also beneficial for your liver, kidneys, as well as adrenal glands. Practice this Yoga Pose under the supervision of a Yoga instructor. In this section, learn how to perform the Half Spinal Twist.

Backbends – Locust Pose (Salabhasana)    
If the Cobra Pose works mainly on the upper back, the Locust Pose targets the lower part. This posture also strengthens the abdominal area, arms, and legs. Another thing that makes it different from many poses is that it entails rapid movement. Check out how it is done in this section.

Supine Poses – Wind Relieving Pose (Pavanamuktasana)    
The term Pavanamuktasana comes from the Sanskrit word ‘pavana’ which means air or wind and ‘mukta’ which means freedom or release. The Wind Relieving Pose works mainly on the digestive system. specifically, it helps in eliminating excess gas in the stomach.

Yoga Exercise – Corpse Pose (Savasana)    
The Corpse Yoga Pose is considered as a classic relaxation Yoga Pose and is practiced before or in between Asanas as well as a final relaxation. While it looks deceptively simple, it is actually difficult to perform. Learn more on how to do it with the help of this article.

Reprinted from abc-of-yoga.com

FURTHER RESOURCES (from IYM):

1. Chair Yoga for Seniors:  eHow.com offers a free video Series
Yoga is a meditative practice that strengthens the body and helps alleviate stress. Learn some helpful Yoga stretches with Chair Yoga for seniors from a registered Yoga teacher in this free video series. There are 15 videos in this series.

2. Yoga for the Young at Heart
Susan Winter Ward offers Yoga for seniors DVD, and classes for those with limited mobility and more. Visit Susan’s website.

3. Lilias! A.M. & P.M. Yoga Workouts for Seniors:  Lilias Folan, the Grande Dame of Yoga in the USA, now a senior citizen herself, offers this program on DVD.

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