Yoga can improve the lives of people of all ages in a variety of ways, including reducing stress, anxiety and depression, improving performance at work and in sport, reducing risk of heart condition, obesity, diabetes and cancer and speeding up recovery from training. Yoga makes us feel good all-around, improving our sense of well-being and making us feel lighter, more connected to ourselves and appreciative of the important relationships in our lives.
Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors
Many of these benefits are no different for seniors (55+). As we get older, muscles tend to stiffen, our joints lose their range of motion and we become more susceptible to chronic problems such as osteoporosis, arthritis and heart disease. Yoga can help slow down the effects of the ageing process by maintaining muscle softness and flexibility, keeping the mind alert and awake, encouraging relaxation and strengthening muscles and joints. Its multi-pronged approach can encourage the body, mind and spirit to remain healthy and strong while reducing the effects of many age-related issues.
If you are a senior, regular yoga practice (2-3 times/week) can play an important part in keeping you healthy, because yoga helps:
- Reduce swelling in joints
- Increase joint mobility and strength
- Improve balance and stability
- Reduce chances of having a fall
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Aid digestion and elimination
- Improve sleep
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Improve blood flow
- Improve mood and well-being
- Recovery from surgery
- Aid in the grieving process
- With depression and anxiety
Where Should You Start?
The classes listed below are taught by experienced yoga instructors who know how to accommodate older yoga students. They are arranged in order from the most gentle at the top to the most challenging at the bottom. We recommend that you begin at the top and work your way down. As you gain more strength and flexibility and feel comfortable with the poses, the classes further down will be more accessible to you.
YOGA MATS, YOGA BLOCKS, BLANKETS, EYE PILLOWS AND YOGA STRAPS ARE PROVIDED / SESSIONS ARE ALWAYS CATERED TO THE ABILITY OF EACH STUDENT / IN CASES OF IMMOBILITY, STUDENTS MAY DO SIMPLE BREATHING EXERCISES AND GUIDED MEDITATION, BOTH HAVE BEEN PROVEN TO PROVIDE MANY OF THE SAME BENEFITS.
Chair Yoga for the Upper Body
Duration: 27 mins
This gentle beginner's yoga class is all done in a chair. You would be surprised how much you can do! Your Instructor shows you how you can stretch most of the major muscles of the upper body in a thorough and effective way. She makes the poses more accessible by using a strap. As you progress, you can move your hands closer together. Yoga straps are provided.
Chair Yoga for the Lower Body
Duration: 16 mins
We can also effectively stretch and strengthen the lower body while sitting in a chair. In this chair yoga sequence, your Instructor shows you how it’s done. Using a strap, she takes you through how to stretch the back, front and sides of the legs, as well as the hips and lower back, which will help encourage blood flow to your feet and strengthen your balance and body awareness.
Release the Neck
Duration: 16 mins
This class can be done seated on the ground, standing or sitting in a chair. Your Instructor shows you how to help relieve a stiff sore neck and headaches with this effective series of stretches and movements that are designed to release all of the muscles of the neck. Once you learn to do this stretching routine, you will be able to do it on your own, whether you’re watching TV or waiting in line at the bank.
Yoga for Seniors: Hips, Knees and Feet
Duration: 19 mins
This class is more rigorous and move at a quicker pace, which may feel more challenging. The Instructor focuses more on strength through rapid and repetitive movement, while stretching key muscle groups and improving range of motion. In this class, the focus is the hips, knees, ankles and feet. It's a fun, challenging yoga class for beginners.
Yoga for Seniors: Thoracic Park
Duration: 12 mins
The thoracic area is the upper spine or upper back. Your Instructor takes you through a series of yoga poses that stretch, strengthen and improve the range of motion in the muscles and joints of the upper back, most notably the upper back, shoulders and neck. This class will be helpful for avoiding arthritis and pain in your neck and upper back.
Wrist stretches for Seniors: Right-On-Wrists
Duration: 18 mins
The hands and wrists are vulnerable to pain and discomfort as we get older through arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other uncomfortable and often painful conditions. The teacher takes you through another rigorous beginner’s yoga class where she teaches you how to thoroughly and effectively stretch the hands, wrists, arms and shoulders, keeping the extremities strong and healthy.
Gentle Hatha Yoga for Lower Back Pain
Duration: 22 min
Lower back pain is very common, particularly as we get older and our muscles tighten. Even if you don’t have lower back pain, it’s a great idea to do a class that helps prevent it, since it can be difficult to find relief once lower back pain has set in. This gentle, beginner’s yoga class teaches you how to care for your back by taking you through a self-massage routine using tennis balls and a series of stretches that release key muscles in the hips, legs and back.
Duration: 22 min
This class is great for beginners and seniors, since it is a very thorough stretching of the entire body, allowing you to release most of the tight areas of your body. Beginning and ending with deep relaxation, this longer yoga class for seniors, beginners and tighter yogis moves slowly and deliberately through a gentle sequence of poses that helps you stretch and feel calm and balanced.
Please Note: You need to be able to sit on the ground to do this class.
Stabilize and Stretch
Duration: 53 min
The teacher spends more time in this session on alignment and stability so that you can safely stretch the hips, legs, back and shoulders. Do this class to reinforce alignment principles while increasing the range of motion in your joints. This is a great class for increasing the strength of the small muscles around your joints that aid in stability.