What are the Benefits of Yoga for Seniors?

Pamela Cannaday by Pamela Cannaday | Licensed since 2011
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This article was updated on: 09/15/2018

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What is yoga for seniors?

Yoga is a mind/body practice with historical origins in ancient Indian philosophy, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Yoga may combine physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Yoga for seniors may be the same as yoga for younger adults, but yoga postures should be modified based on individual abilities. Hot yoga may involving moving in humid environments in temperatures as high as 105°F. People with heart disease or lung disease may avoid hot yoga.

What are the benefits of yoga for seniors?

According to NCCIH, yoga may help people with lower-back pain achieve reduced pain and improved function. Yoga may also reduce heart rate and blood pressure and have mental health benefits, such as relieving anxiety and depression. It’s still unclear if yoga helps people with arthritis.

Different yoga poses benefit different muscles and improve flexibility, balance, and strength in different ways according to AARP.

For example the pose “Warrior II” (standing with arms held open, feet wide, a bend in one knee) strengthens quadriceps and improves hip flexibility. The “tree pose” (standing on one foot with free foot pressed against supporting leg) is excellent for improving balance. “Plank” (facing the floor and raising body up on hands and feet or knees and hands) strengthens abdominal muscles and is good for upper body strength. “Lunge” strengthens the legs. “Cobra” (pushing the upper body off the floor with hands) strengthens the arms and upper back.

What do I need to practice yoga for seniors?

Yoga beginners don’t need a lot of equipment according to the site Very Well. As a beginner practicing yoga for seniors you will need:

  • A form-fitting shirt that won’t slide down when you do forward bends
  • Exercise pants or shorts
  • No shoes (yoga is often practiced barefoot)
  • A yoga mat to provide cushion and traction
  • Straps and blocks to help you reach (optional)

How often should I practice yoga for seniors?

According to the site doyouyoga, commitment is key to practicing yoga since yoga doesn’t typically have quick, dramatic physical results. It may be beneficial to practice frequently for shorter amounts of time (15-30 minutes) than to have fewer longer yoga sessions. However, according to doyouyoga, even practicing yoga for seniors once a week will still have benefits. Of course, talk to your doctor before starting any exercise regime to make sure you’re doing activities that are safe for your health and situation.

How should I get started doing yoga for seniors?

You can practice yoga at home on your own. However, you may wish to get started with a yoga class for guidance. You can find yoga classes at dedicated yoga studios, your local gym or fitness club, or even some community centers.

Do you want to find a Medicare plan that might cover yoga classes?

To get information via email, or to schedule a telephone consultation, use one of the links below. See plans in your area you may qualify for by clicking the Compare Plans button.

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