The Best Yoga Exercises for Seniors

Age is just a number, and yoga is accessible to all.

Yoga for seniors is especially helpful to maintain balance as you age.

Yoga is a great way to add strength, flexibility, focus and a sense of calm to your waking hours.

If you’ve never tried it before, or if you have and want to get back into it—now’s your chance! In terms of activities for seniors, yoga is a great choice.

Poses range from beginner to advanced and regardless of skill level—there’s something for everyone.

Elderly woman smiling while doing a yoga pose

Four top yoga poses for older adults

Yoga is one of those exercises is accessible to all, regardless of age. Yoga for seniors is especially helpful as it helps older adults to maintain balance and flexibility as they age.

To practice yoga, you simply need comfortable clothes, a yoga mat and a quiet area where you can spread out. Shoes are optional, and most prefer not to wear any!

The following four beginner poses are easy to do—yet yield just as many benefits as more difficult poses:

Seated pose

Perfect for bringing attention to your breath and heartbeat, the seated pose is a common way to open your yoga routine.

Sit on your mat cross-legged, or with your legs out straight—whatever is most comfortable. Then, rest one hand on your chest and the other on your belly.

Keep your eyes close your eyes and breathe in and out, slowly and deeply.

Notice your heart beating in your chest and your belly rising and falling with each breath.

Take a moment to notice any pain or discomfort you might be feeling that day, and consciously let your breath go to that area of your body.

Then, let go of any thoughts or worries, and focus on your breath.

Cat and cow pose

Young woman demonstrating the cat and cow yoga pose

On your mat, put your hands shoulder-distance apart and your knees square under your hips. Arch your back like a cat and let your head hang down. This is cat pose.

Breathe out. Slowly, begin the transition to cow pose—bring your head and tailbone up and push your torso towards the mat. Breathe in.

Repeat this movement between cat and cow for several breaths.

This is good for your balance, focus, flexibility, and arm strength.

Warrior I

Next, you can move to a very popular yoga pose—warrior I. You’ll repeat this pose on each side of your body, leading with each leg.

Starting with your right leg, position your foot behind you, pointing toward the edge of your mat at a 45-degree angle, with your balance focused on the outer edge of your foot. Keep this leg straightened.

Your left leg should be in front of you with your foot pointed forward and square your hips facing forward.

Then, bend your left knee at as close to a 90-degree angle as you can, keeping your knee right above your foot.

Reach your arms overhead and look up at the ceiling.

Hold this pose for a few seconds, and feel the strength in your left thigh and shoulders.

Repeat on the other side, with your right leg forward.

Warrior II

A common transition from warrior I, warrior II continues to help you build strength and balance.

You may decide to transition directly from warrior I on one side of your body directly into warrior II on that same side.

Keeping your back foot at a 45-degree angle with your back leg straightened, and your opposite leg forward with knee bent, open your hips to face the side of your mat.

Next, open your arms, hands in line with your shoulders, and reach in opposite directions.

Turn your head to look directly over the arm facing forward.

Finally, hold this pose for a few seconds as you feel the strength in your front thigh and shoulders.

How to end your routine

Return to your mat in the seated pose. Close your eyes and put your hands in prayer position in front of your heart.

Try to breathe deeply, and once again notice your heartbeat. Focus on your breath.

Finally, hold this pose for a few seconds, as you reflect on what you’ve accomplished during your yoga workout.

Interested in exercise and fitness for seniors?

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