12 Yoga Tips and Poses for Seniors

Stay Young Physically and Mentally with Yoga

As baby boomers hit their golden years and the oldest of the Gen-X’er’s start pushing 50, the need for safe, effective ways to stay fit and active as we age becomes paramount.

The fitness industry has historically targeted the younger population; those interested in body building and extreme fitness. Now that we’re less interested in getting cut and more interested in longevity, the industry is slowly being forced to include these needs in their focus.

As that focus shifts toward us, ways to keep us safe while keeping us fit and healthy are being developed and now yoga classes specifically targeting mature audiences abound in most places.

If you’re an old hand at yoga, you already have the advantage of better mobility and flexibility. For those of you who are just beginning, here are some tips that will help make your first experience with yoga a success.

  1. Before you join, ask questions about the demographics of your class. Try to join a small class with people close to you in age.

  2. When you attempt to assume a pose, concentrate closely on the directions that your instructor is giving. Start with the top of your body and work your way down so that you maintain control of your entire body and don’t risk falling.

  3. Pick a spot directly in line with your eyes to focus on while assuming and holding your poses. This will help you maintain your balance.

  4. Maintain proper form. It’s better to hold the pose for a shorter amount of time properly than risk injuring yourself by trying to hold it longer and losing form.

  5. Don’t think that you have to jump straight from one pose to another. Take your time and transition slowly so that you’re not running the risk of losing your balance and falling. Also, if you try to change poses too quickly, you may pull a muscle. Better to do it slowly and correctly than worry about doing it quickly.

  6. If you need to use support for a pose, don’t be afraid to do so. Use a wall, the floor, or even bring a stable step or other prop that will help you hold the pose correctly while keeping your balance. Again, form is everything so if you need a little help, do whatever it takes. If you have a buddy in the class, use him or her for support – make it a buddy system.

  7. If you can’t hold the pose for as long as you’d like, repeat it later until you’ve built up the strength and stamina to hold it long enough the first time.

  8. If it hurts, stop! A little bit of a stretching sensation is fine but if it’s painful then don’t do it. The worst thing that you can do is pull a muscle or damage a joint. That’s counterproductive to what you’re trying to do. Just go as far as you can and if you can’t do a particular pose, repeat one that you couldn’t hold for as long as you wanted to earlier.

  9. Make sure that your instructor knows about any physical problems or limitations that you may have. That way, he or she can tailor the workout around your needs. This is one of the best reasons for choosing a small class with people your own age. Chances are good that you aren’t the only one with back problems, joint issues, or other common problems.

  10. If you aren’t exactly sure how to do a pose correctly, ask your instructor for help. That’s what they are there for and they’d rather have you ask for more detail than have you injure yourself doing the pose incorrectly.

  11. Be especially careful when you’re going into poses that require you to bear weight on your wrists. Ease into to pose – don’t just plop down.

  12. Invest in a quality yoga mat. These are great for a couple of reasons. First, you need the padding to protect your hands, hips and knees from the hard floor. Also, it gives you a little bit more traction than some floors. Just be careful stepping on and off of your mat.

Now that you have a general idea of how to get through a class without breaking a wrist, let’s talk about some common poses. These are just a few, but if you look them up in advance at least you’ll know a little bit about what to expect.

Since I’m horrible at Sanskrit and yours is probably a little rusty too, I’m going to use the English names. Your instructor will most likely use the English form, too. As a matter of fact, that’s a good question to ask when you’re choosing an instructor.

These 10 yoga poses are really common, especially in beginning classes. Some are them are used for flexibility, improved balance, and muscle tone and a couple of them are for relaxation and breathing. These are all components that make yoga one of the best forms of exercises for us boomers and X’ers – we need the activity but we also need to maintain our motor skills, range of motion, and mental focus.

  • Downward Facing Dog – hands and toes on floor, butt in the air
  • Easy – literally sitting crosslegged
  • Cat – hands and knees, back arched up, head down
  • Corpse – lying flat on your back, arms at sides
  • Mountain – standing straight up
  • Cow – on hands and knees, back arched down, looking up
  • Triangle – legs spread wide, one hand floor, other straight in air, looking up
  • Tree – standing straight, one foot on inner thigh of other leg, hands clasped high over head
  • Cobra – on belly, arms straight pushing you up from floor, back arched, looking up
  • Happy Baby Pose – on back, knees bent out, grasping toes

Click here now to find some great deals on yoga mats so that you can get started! I’ve narrowed it down to ones that were a 1/2 inch thick so that they’re exta comfy.

Do you do yoga? If so, please share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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