Yoga is a great exercise for a senior to replicate at home. With it being so versatile and adaptive to varying physical abilities, it is perfect for seniors. Low-impact moves are great to assist seniors with balance, strength, and flexibility. With no special equipment required, a towel can easily replace a yoga mat.
Along with the physical benefits, yoga is proven to relieve stress and anxiety in seniors. It is an art form that works to calm the nerves and focus on the body. Many different moves are out there for seniors to safely replicate at home, and we’ve outlined some top favorites.
1. Tree Pose
Tree pose is a great pose to help improve balance and limit the chance of a fall. For this exercise:
- Stand strong with your legs together and your arms raised straight over your head, palms touching together.
- Carefully raise your right leg slightly off the ground, but just so that your toes are still touching the ground, and the heel is touching the inside part of your ankle.
- Balance for 20 to 30 seconds, if possible.
- Repeat with the other leg.
- Hold onto something if needed. It’s always safe to start some moves by holding a chair or counter in order to judge balance ability.
2. Warrior II
Standing poses, such as the Warrior II, are great for improving bone density, as well as lower body strength.
- You will start with your arms down by your side and feet hip-distance apart.
- Carefully turn toward your right side, and step your right foot out wide. Your foot should be about 3 to 4 feet wide while keeping your heels in line. Turn your right foot out to a 90-degree angle.
- Raise your arms to shoulder height and inhale.
- As you exhale, bend the right leg and make your thigh parallel with the ground. The left leg will need to remain straight.
- Concentrate on your breath, and hold this pose for up to 30 seconds.
- Repeat pose with other leg.
3. Extended Puppy
This move is incredibly similar to Downward Dog; however, this version alleviates any discomfort that could occur in the hips and knees. This pose incorporates the child’s pose and works as a great stretch to help lengthen the spine.
- In what is called the tabletop position, start on all fours with your knees aligned under your hips and wrists under your shoulders. A towel can be placed under your knees if necessary.
- Carefully walk your hands in front until your chest is close to the ground while your hips stay over the knees.
- With your head down, press your arms and hands into the floor.
- For 20 to 30 seconds, breathe deeply before then returning slowly to tabletop pose.
4. Low Lunge
For those who are familiar with lunges, this move won’t feel so foreign. This pose works to relieve tension and allows a wonderful stretch in the muscles.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms by your sides.
- With your right foot, step forward and bend the right knee until it’s just over your ankle.
- Your left leg will stay behind you. You will then take your left knee and let it lower to the floor.
- Inhale and press your hands into the ceiling while in this position.
- Lift to the starting position after eight breaths, and repeat with the other leg.
Savasana is the closing pose for any yoga routine, where you simply lie on your back and try to reach the ultimate state of relaxation. Although it may sound simple, clearing the mind and achieving contentment is harder than it may seem. Some call this the hardest pose because it often either makes people fall asleep, or they just struggle to truly concentrate on just that moment.
Savasana is about reaching a conscious and alert state while being the most at ease you could ever be. You simply focus on relaxing every muscle and slowly inhaling and exhaling.
Chair Yoga and Other Modifications
Yoga for seniors should not be practiced in a studio or at home without first consulting their primary physician. If they have preexisting health conditions that pose a risk of being agitated, it is best to know what to do to work around them.
Chair yoga for seniors is a common at-home variation for seniors with limited balance and mobility. It often involves the original poses meant for standing but simply integrates the chair as a helpful tool.
Live Online Classes
In these times of social distancing, some are unable to visit yoga studios, but thanks to Ompractice, there are live video yoga classes that anyone can attend. This is great for seniors who have a harder time being able to leave home, or prefer live instruction while they practice the various techniques. With a regular daily schedule catered to all levels of difficulty, there is the opportunity for even newbies to get started.
At Kensington Place, we love to involve our residents in regularly scheduled life enrichment activities to help preserve cognitive and physical health. Our on-site therapy team assists those in recovery or treatment for conditions stemmed from memory loss, as well as other injuries or ailments. Wellness programs work with seniors in assisting them with maintaining their wellbeing after recovery and helping to prevent further injury.
If you have questions about how our two memory care neighborhoods work to provide expert and compassionate care, give us a call today. Our team is dedicated to keeping your loved ones safe, as we promise to love and care for your loved ones as we do our very own.