Erin and I (can you tell we do almost everything together?) were musing recently that we wanted to increase how accessible yoga is to the everyday person.
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can do yoga. And that includes seniors — an often forgotten population. There are actually many studies that prove seniors who do yoga are better able to regulate feelings of anger and anxiety, as well as have an increased sense of well-being, community and self-efficacy. Nowadays, there are so many options — there’s even such thing as chair yoga and aquatic yoga!
The benefits of yoga for seniors are the same as for someone younger: increased muscle tone, balance (so important for seniors), stability, flexibility, joint health, strength and breath capacity. It improves sleep and posture, while reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
We decided to take the Modo Yoga sequence and adapt it for people over the age of 60. We hosted a workshop at the Centre Greene, a community centre in Montreal.
This is how we did it:
- Ardha Savasana (Half Corpse pose);
- Breathing exercises with intention setting and mindfulness;
- Small movements with fingers, toes; moving to wrists and ankles to get the blood flowing;
- Parsva Balasana (Thread the Needle pose);
- Moving to a fetal position to come to table-top position;
- Cat-Cow movements.
- Ardha Chandrasana (Crescent Moon pose);
- Utkatasana with legs hip-width apart (Chair pose);
- Garudasana (Eagle pose) with option hands on shoulders, toes on the ground;
- Half Sun Salutations (3x);
- Banarasana (Runner’s Lunge pose);
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior I);
- Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II);
- Trikonasana (Triangle pose);
- Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend pose) with hands on hips/block;
- Patanvriksasana (Toppling Tree pose) with hands on a chair/bar;
- Vriksasana (Tree pose).
- Savasana (Corpse pose);
- Pavanamuktasana (Wind-Relieving pose);
- Hastasakthipidasana (Hands to Thighs) for abs;
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose);
- Bhujangasana (Baby Cobra pose);
- Poorna Salabhasana (Full Locust pose) with options arms along side;
- Anahatasana (Heart Melting pose) or Balasana (Child’s pose);
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spinal Twist pose) with option sitting on a block, one leg long;
- Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend pose) with option sitting on a block, knees slightly bent;
- Badhakonsana (Cobbler’s pose);
- Kapalabhati (Skull Shining Breath);
- Savasana (Corpse pose).
If there’s anything I’ve learned from the workshop, it’s that it’s never too late to start doing yoga. It was pretty cool to be able to bring this practice, which we love so much, to a whole new group of people.
If you know of a seniors’ group who could benefit from a workshop or class, let us know!
Articles consulted for this blog post:
- The health benefits of yoga and exercise: a review of comparison studies
- Does yoga engender fitness in older adults? A critical review
- Yoga for seniors with arthritis: A pilot study
- The psychological benefits of yoga practice for older adults: Evidence and guidelines
- Teaching yoga to seniors: essential considerations to enhance safety and reduce risk in a uniquely vulnerable age group
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