Yoga is, of course, no panacea – but it has an embalming effect on people. Mostly older adults can use it to give their quality of life more space again. Research has confirmed how our attitudes and also ideas about the ageing influence our attitude towards life, both physically and mentally. Through yoga, relaxation and joy can occur, complaints can be reduced, and self-confidence can be regained. The connection with yourself becomes stronger again! Learn more about yoga in old age here.
Yoga for Seniors: Small Steps With Significant Effect
If you are now wondering how older people should perform the movement-intensive and complicated yoga exercises, then you are starting in the wrong place. Yoga exercises – the so-called asanas – with more senior people live on smaller successes. The most significant difference between yoga with younger people is the amount of effort required. Often an asana lasts longer or is a little more stretching and flexible – but this need not be a barrier to a sense of achievement.
The usual complaints of this lifetime – such as stiffness and tension – require a modified yoga that responds to these needs. And therefore it is quite clear: even seniors can do yoga! The harmony of body, mind and soul can still be found at any age. Already in the “Patanjali Yogasutras” it is clear: “A yoga exercise is that which can be performed stably and comfortably”. If seniors use a chair instead of a mat, the positive effects are in no way diminished.
After all, the most significant added value of yoga in all situations in life is the sense! The sense of taking care of yourself, taking time for yourself and doing something good for yourself. Especially in nursing homes, everyday life often does not move far away from the favourite armchair and the dining table. Making your joints more mobile again and mastering proper breathing often turns out to be far more exciting and, above all, more beneficial. Especially pranayama and meditation are convincing ways to bring relief and new energy into your life.
The Best Yoga Exercises and Tips for Seniors
Of course, yoga practice with seniors also brings with it many challenges. To be able to cope with them, it is worthwhile to pay attention and mindfulness to a few aspects:
Yoga Tip 1
Sukshma Yoga, or gentle yoga, is an excellent alternative to power-intensive asanas. From these relatively simple and gentle exercises, hands, feet, ankles and hips, but also the jaw, neck, eyes and tongue benefit. Schedule about 20-30 minutes daily for these exercises. You will see that if you go deep inside yourself, you will feel exactly that you are doing an asana correctly.
Yoga Tip 2
Warming up is best done, if possible, by running briskly, or even circling the joints. Also start with coordination exercises: stretch out both arms and let your hands circle against each other in the wrists – stand up and breathe from your stomach.
Yoga Tip 3
Advantageous yoga exercises while standing are Konasana (triangular position) and Kati Chakrasana (turning practices while standing).
Yoga Tip 4
Badhakonasana (butterfly), Marjariasana (cat), and Shishuasana (child position) are particularly suitable for seated asanas, as is body rotation.
Yoga Tip 5
If you want to do your exercises lying down – on your back or belly – try asanas like Shalabhasana (grasshopper), as well as Pawanmuktasana (belly press) and Bhujangasana (cobra), or body rotation. Be sure to do more repetitions rather than holding a position for a long time.
Yoga Tip 6
Yoga Nidra, also known as “sleep of the yogi”, helps especially seniors to feel the effects of the asana even more effectively. By reaching a deeper layer of consciousness of yourself, you can relax deeply while remaining in clear consciousness.
Yoga Tip 7
Whichever asanas you ultimately decide on – in addition to competent instruction, always perform them at your discretion. If you would like to use a chair to help you, then do so. Re-train your body’s coordination, learn to use your hands consciously again and train your brain with it. The reciprocal nasal breathing Nadi Shodana can also help with coordination and is also suitable for blood pressure. Even patients with Parkinson’s disease can experience a significant improvement in coordination with a lot of practice.
Yoga Tip 8
Try to acquire knowledge and understand what asanas are and what exactly they can do in you. Everyone wants to know why you do something. Pranayama is especially essential if you spend a lot of time in a forward bent posture. People in a wheelchair, for example, squeeze their chest through their stance and therefore breathe shallowly. The correct abdominal breathing can be rediscovered in yoga practice. This improves the absorption of oxygen, which also allows more prana to be absorbed.
Yoga Tip 9
Yoga is also a perfect remedy for inertia. The asanas strengthen the immune system – this means that you can still prevent diseases in old age. Your body may deteriorate over time, but you can help it to be better prepared against external influences in a very natural way!
Yoga Tip 10
Always perform your asanas slowly and consciously and concentrate on your breath. Try to clear your inner energy channels and release blockages. This cleansing will give you more strength, flexibility and relaxation again – all this is also good for your nervous system.