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Seniors can benefit a lot from yoga – right from improved flexibility, to better breathing, better posture, and also increased concentration. Read on for Lets50’s recommendation on some of the gentle yoga postures for seniors.
Stand with your feet spread wide apart then bend forward from the hip joints. As your body bends, try and reach the floor with your fingers as much as you can without hurting yourself. Hold this position for as long as you can or 30 seconds maximum, do continue breathing through the sequence. If you are just starting out, don’t hold the pose for too long. Slowly return to the original position. This yoga pose helps improve blood circulation above your waist. It also improves the blood flow to your brain which helps in de-stressing you by working on the tensed nerves around your shoulder and neck area.
Kneel on the floor with your hips rested on your ankles joined together such that there is a wall behind your back. Now bend down with your hands stretched forward and roll over to your back. Now slowly raise the legs and place them straight onto the wall. Note if you are more flexible you could get your hips as close to the wall as possible else keep one or two palm distance so the position feels comfortable. Stretch our arms out on both sides facing up, relax your shoulders and ensure your forehead is placed higher than the chin. Use a blanket, pillow or towel roll under your neck for the same. Stay in the pose and relax as your body rejuvenates. We would advise you to try the yoga with socks and long layers as these help keep you warm through the pose. You could also feel the tingling effect of loss of sensation in parts of your feet and it will be advisable to bring them down while joining both soles with knees stretched out briefly before continuing again. This should help with the problem.
Get onto your ‘fours’ by making your hands and knees touch the ground. Keep your knees around 6 inches apart. Now move to the position where you form an inverted “V” with your spine pointed towards the ceiling. As you attain this position, get your chin to touch your chest. Hold this position for 2 breaths and then move your spine down while getting into a kneeling position similar to the way a cow sits down. Try and lift your chin up during this time. Again, hold this for 2 breaths. Do this for as long as you feel comfortable. This yoga pose can be done easily. It will help alleviate your back pain. Do take precaution if you happen to be in late stages of pregnancy or have a history of any wrist injuries.
Lie down straight with your hands beside you and palms facing up, shoulders in a relaxed position and the feet comfortably straight. Let your neck be relaxed and not stretched. You could use a pillow or a blanket for support under your head if the need arises. Now shut your eyes and breathe in deeply. Hold it for a few seconds then breathe out slowly and repeat 10 times. After you are done, don’t get up immediately. Instead turn to your right side, keep lying down, and breathe normally for a couple of seconds before getting up. This will avoid any feeling of dizziness. This yoga will help improve the breathing and will also help you feel more energized.
Sit in the floor, cross-legged and hands on the side. Hold your spine straight. Now touch your left knee with your right hand. Next, depending on how flexible your body is (and don’t try to over stretch) turn to the left. Hold it for a count of 5 and then bring your hand back to normal position. Repeat this with the other hand as well. Repeat the set 5 times and increase the sets with practice. This yoga asana will not only strengthen your spine but will also improve your digestion.
Stand erect with your hands by your side and the feet a little apart. Interlock your fingers in the front and raise them over your head with palms facing the ceiling. Slowly inhale, and as you do stand on your toes and stretch your arms towards the ceiling with straightened elbows. Make sure that you use both your feet’s toes evenly while balancing. Tighten your thigh muscles when you do so. Now exhale slowly and return to original position. Then repeat the steps to a count of 5 and as your balance improves you can increase it to a count of 10. This is easy to do and has immense benefits. If done regularly it will improve your posture, relieve constipation and also alleviate any back pain that you might be suffering from.
You should attempt this asana only when your body has gained some balance and flexibility. Stand erect with your palm pressed together in Namaste position near your heart. Find a spot in front of that you can concentrate on for balance. Now slowly raise either leg up and rest its heel and sole high up on the inner thigh of your balancing foot so that your knee of the raised foot protrudes sideways. Ideally as a senior you should be able to hold this pose for about half a minute. Then repeat this process with the other feet. Lift only as much as you can. Initially you might find that you are able to touch only the shin of the other leg. With time you will be able to lift it till your knees or higher. When you are beginning and you feel that you are not able to balance on your own, you can hold onto a stable piece of furniture. This pose will give strength to your feet muscles and also give you more stability when you stand and walk.
Stand with your feet apart. Now take one step with your left foot in front. Slowly go down till your right knee touches the ground and supports your weight and left knee is straight out. Push forward to align the ankle and knee of your left foot and push the right knee backwards to feel the stretch between your lower left thigh and upper right thigh. Once you are in this position, slowly inhale while you lift your hands and join them above your head and gently bend backwards as much as you comfortably can. Hold this position for as long as you can (maximum being half a minute). When you bring your hands down, exhale and slowly stand up and relax. Repeat the yoga posture with the other leg. Don’t try to over stretch or achieve all from the word go as you might pull a muscle or land a cramp. Take the time necessary to complete and perfect the posture. In fact, initially, you could keep a cushion to support the knee that is touching the ground. This yoga posture will stretch your muscles and strengthen your knees.
Lie on your back on the ground. Pull your knees up and keep them in parallel position, hip width apart. Keep the soles on the floor and hands stretched out to be able to touch the heels with your stretched finger if you can. Now slowly hoist yourself up from the hips leading with the arched chest bone. Keep your hands on your side and press your palm down on the floor as you rise. Hold for half a minute and then come down slowly and place the back on the floor gently. Join the knees together for the body to find its balance and relax. This exercise will increase the strength of your upper arms and also your belly. It will also give you a better posture and flexibility by working on your aging spine.
Stand with your legs apart. Now turn your left foot outwards and slowly bend to your left. Your aim would be to touch your left toe with your left hand or as much as your body allows. While you do this, you should not bend forward or from your knees. As you get into the position, try and open up the ribs as much as possible. Your right arm now should be raised to point your fingers to the sky. Start looking up to see your right hand if your neck allows or look forward instead. Hold the posture for a few breadths before rising up and returning to yours standing position. Inhale as you bend down; and exhale as you stand up. Repeat with the other leg. This posture will help to strengthen your hip region and will also help reduce your blood pressure.
Yoga is a form of exercise that one can do at any age. So, even if you are now in your fifties and just starting off, there is no reason to be anxious. Just take it slowly and find yourself getting fitter with practice.