Hi folks Phil here. I started doing Yoga probably 40 years ago, to help with my lower back pain. It’s been such a benefit and relief to me in so many ways, that I strongly recommend it to everybody. Even more if Stress or Lower Back Pain is a part of your life.
Bad news I’m not a Yoga expert, good news for you my friend Angie is. She’s agreed to do this guest blog for me and you. Please try it, it’s EZ.
You can leave questions or comments here, but please take the time to go visit Angie’s site for additional information and resources.
5 Yoga Poses for Overall Well-Being
In recent years, yoga has really become really popular among older adults. Actually, compared to other fitness activities, it’s the ideal kind of exercise for older adults because it’s not as straining on the body as other fitness activities could be.
Yoga could help strengthen the muscles so back pain could be alleviated, it maintains bone strength by maintaining bone density and strengthening your core, and it improves concentration with its simple breathing exercises.
I’d like to talk about 5 senior yoga poses for overall well-being that are easy and can be done every day to support your health, strengthen the body, and relieve stress and pain.
FYI: One breath is a deep breath, in through the nose and out through the mouth.
The Easy Pose
The name of this pose is pretty much the truth. It’s an easy pose. The hardest thing to do in this pose is cross your legs.
All you do is cross your legs with your arms outstretched in front of you and rest them on your knees. Keep the palms of your hands up.
Close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Take deep breaths while in this pose.
Every couple of minutes, alternate the cross of your legs. Hold this position for about 8 breaths.
This pose is great for strengthening the back, strengthening the knees and ankles, and calming the brain. Great pose for meditation and it opens the groin, hips, and outer thigh muscles.
If you have a knee injury or your hips are very tight, this may not be a good pose for you. Never force the pose, you could try like the woman in the picture with your legs not all the way down and hold the pose as long as you can, stop if you start to feel pain. Don’t overdo it!
The Sunbird (or Balancing Table) Pose
This is a pelvic floor safe yoga pose and it promotes core muscle endurance and strengthening.
It also promotes healthy coordination and balance and promotes hip stability and strengthening.
Just do the pose as it looks in the picture. If you lift up your left leg, then lift up your right arm. If you lift up your right leg, then lift up your left arm. In other words, alternate. Take deep breaths while doing this pose, several breaths in and out per side.
If you’re having difficulty holding the pose, just put down your arm and leg for a while and then try again when you think you’re ready to try again. Avoid hyperextending your arms or legs or you could injure yourself, only lift your arms and legs as much as you can.
If you start to feel pain, stop the pose and relax. It’s enough of this pose for today. Again, don’t overdo it! Yoga shouldn’t hurt, just do as much as your body can do.
Avoid this pose if you’ve had recent or chronic injury to the back, knees, arms, or shoulders.
Variation of the Camel Pose
This is a variation of the camel pose (see picture), the full camel pose is touching your feet with your hands.
But the easier version is with your hands slightly behind the feet, parallel to your shoulders. This is easier on the back, but you get a lot of the same benefits without injury.
If you could touch your feet with your hands without pain, then do that and get the full benefits of this pose.
Take deep breaths while holding this pose and hold for 4 to 8 breaths. Take breaks in a seated position when you need to. Stop if you start to feel pain.
This pose is great for improvement in spinal flexibility and it stretches the front of the body.
Avoid this pose, or do it for less time, if you have migraines, high blood pressure, and insomnia. This pose could also cause neck and back injuries so don’t overdo this pose. If any discomfort happens, stop the pose and try again at a later time.
The Wind Relieving Pose
This is an easy pose where all you have to do is lie on your back and bring your legs to your chest and hold your legs with your arms, tightly against your body.
Tuck your chin into your chest and press your shoulders and back against the floor, both as much as you can. Relax your feet, hips, and legs while holding this pose.
Take deep breaths while holding this pose, hold for 4 to 8 breaths. After releasing the pose, exhale and put your arms and legs to the floor.
The benefits of this pose is that it stretches the lower back, improves digestion and elimination, and lengthens the spine.
Avoid this pose if you’ve had a recent hernia or if you’ve had recent abdominal surgery. Also be careful, or avoid this pose all together, if you have any of these aliment or conditions: high blood pressure, back or neck injury, slipped disc, heart issues, or hyperacidity. Ask a doctor before doing this pose if it’s ok for you to do.
The Tree Pose
This is a standing pose, which is different than the previous poses. It’s supposed to resemble a tree.
To do this pose, simply stand and bend your right leg up to the side and rest your right foot with the arch of your foot in the groove of your left knee.
Then, bring your arms up into Namaste mudra, which is prayer position (see the picture for assistance).
Hold the pose for as long as you can, focusing on your natural balance.
Then, release your foot down and alternate sides. Hold, again, for as long as you can.
The benefits of this pose is that it develops balance, poise, awareness, and concentration. This pose also strengthens feet, ankles, legs, and hips.
Avoid this pose, or only do this pose for a short period of time (depending on what your doctor recommends), if you have vertigo, suffer from headaches, or have any injury of the foot, knee, or hip.
The best thing to do as you age is to keep moving. Yoga is a great way to keep the body moving smoothly and it prevents aches and pains. Always consult a doctor before starting any kind of fitness activity. Not all exercises are for everyone. Some yoga poses could make you feel worse, depending on your aliments.
Here’s a video of Easy YOGA – Senior Exercise Video. It includes easy movements that could help keep the body flexible and stretch your muscles.
For more resources to learn yoga, check out these pages:
- Yoga Training Programs
- Yoga DVDs
- Yoga Books
- Yoga Ebooks
- Yoga and Health Magazines
- Music for Yoga– CDs and MP3