Written by Jordan McElwain — Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2023
Staying active can have tremendous benefits for your body and mind, regardless of age. You can remain active in countless ways—one activity especially popular among seniors is yoga. Practicing yoga can benefit people of all ages by maintaining flexibility, balance, and strength while also improving overall well-being. With the right yoga poses, seniors can enjoy a wide range of health benefits, including reduced stress levels, improved sleep, and increased flexibility and mobility.
Below, you will find a set of poses you can use daily to hone your yoga practice! We recommend using a yoga mat or a padded towel to help mitigate any joint tension as you stretch. Feel free to modify any pose by using a chair for support.
**As always, you should consult a medical professional to make sure you are able to undertake physical exercise. Remember not to overstretch to avoid injury, and if you ever feel any physical pain either before or during your exercise, please stop and consult a doctor before continuing.
Easy pose, or Sukhasana, is one of the most basic poses used in yoga and meditation. Easy, in this case, means “with ease,” so be careful not to strain your body when getting into this pose. This pose can help to calm the mind and improve flexibility in the hips and lower back.
To perform the pose, sit on a yoga mat or towel with your legs crossed (like a pretzel) and your hands resting on your knees. Close your eyes and breathe deeply, focusing on the sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body.
Mountain Pose is a simple yet effective yoga position that helps to improve posture and balance. For this move, stand with your feet together, your arms at your sides, and your palms facing out. Then, focus on grounding your feet into the floor while lifting the crown of your head towards the sky.
Warrior 2 Pose is another standing yoga pose that improves balance, strength, and stability and promotes good posture.
Begin in mountain pose with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Step your left foot back, keeping your left foot at an angle. Bend your right knee, so it is directly above your ankle. Turn your head to the right and gaze over your fingertips as your arms lift parallel to the ground. Hold this pose for several deep breaths, then switch to the other side. This pose is a bit more complex than others, so for additional instruction, view the video below.
Cat-cow is a spinal stretch that can help to improve mobility and ease tension and pain in the spine. Begin on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Inhale and slowly arch your back, bringing your chest forward and looking up. Exhale and round your spine, tucking your chin to your chest and bringing your belly towards your spine. Repeat this stretch as much as you want while linking your breath to your spine's movement.
Downward Dog is another spinal stretch that aims to stretch and strengthen the upper body and spine.
Begin this pose on your hands and knees in a tabletop position with your hands shoulder-width apart. Slowly lift your knees from the floor until they’re straight (not locked) and your body resembles an upside-down V shape. Now, extend your spine by pushing through your hands and the balls of your feet. If you want an active calf stretch, you can alternate pushing your heels toward the ground, then raising them. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths, then release by bringing your knees to the floor.
Savasana is a relaxation pose that helps reduce stress and promote deep relaxation. Savasana is often the last pose in a class or yoga flow and a favorite of many beginners.
For Savasana, lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and palms facing up. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Relax your entire body, from your toes to the top of your head. Stay in this pose for as long as you like, enjoying the feeling of deep relaxation—it’s okay if you fall asleep here!
Yoga can feel intimidating if you’re just starting. If you’d prefer to watch a video that walks you through yoga poses that are great for seniors, check out Yoga by Adrienne’s popular senior yoga video below.
Yoga can be a wonderful way for older adults to improve their physical and mental health. These yoga poses are safe and effective for seniors, but listening to your body and avoiding any moves that cause pain or discomfort is important. We understand how starting an exercise like yoga can be challenging. However, there's always time to try it out and reap the many benefits. The great thing about yoga is that people at every skill level can participate, and many poses have modifications to make them easier for beginners. So, what are you waiting for?! Roll out your mat (or towel) and try these mindful stretches!