Best Yoga Postures For Elderly

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Yoga is one of the safest and most easy forms of exercise for the elderly. Having said that, if you are starting out, you might wonder, what are the best yoga postures for elderly? We will discuss the ideal yoga postures for the elderly and their benefits in this article.

Yoga benefits every age, and there are many yoga postures that the elderly can do. Yoga is an ideal low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the joints for seniors.

So here are some of the best Yoga postures that the elderly can start doing.

Yoga Postures for Seniors

Upward Salute 

Or the so-called Urdhva Hastasana is a routine that translates as raised hands pose. Other times, this pose is called a Talsana, or a palm tree pose.

Group of people doing Urdhva Hastasana pose

This can help strengthen the side of the body, like the spine, shoulders, and side belly. It is a starting position for more postures that can be done with yoga. 

Those who have neck and shoulder injuries should avoid this pose, and if you are unable to do it on standing, this can be done in a sitting position as well.

Be in a straight position in standing, or sitting straight on the chair. Take a deep breath, and raise your hands until it touches together. Look up, and stay in the position for 2-5 slow breaths. As you exhale, lower your arms.

Mountain Pose

The mountain pose, or Tadasana, is another standing yoga pose that promotes the strengthening of knees in standing, maintaining a position, and promotes balance.

Once again, being a standing position with feet slightly apart. Stand with both heels and relax your shoulders to start the position. 

People who have poor balance, and unable to tolerate standing positions for a long period of time, can do this in a sitting position or crossed leg on a mat.

Once in the position, spread your arms on the side with palms open. Stay in this position for at least 5-10 breaths. And if you want some challenge, close your eyes. Or raise your arms to the level of your shoulders.

Chair Pose

Also called utkatasana, is another modern yoga pose that is a standing position exercise. It involves the strengthening of the shoulders, buttocks, and lower legs.

It can also facilitate strengthening on the core area because of the position. Precaution on this pose is, if you are unable to bend forward, you can do the pose on the wall with your arms raised front. 

To do this position, stand straight with your feet slightly apart. Inhale, and lift your arms aligned to your shoulders upfront. Keep your shoulders down, and spine in a neutral position.

Exhale as you bend your knees and slowly sliding to the wall. This can also be a variety of exercises called wall squats, and you can maintain this position for about 5 – 10 breaths. 


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Child’s Pose

A child’s pose, or also called Balasana, is a common yoga pose that can benefit your back, hips, thighs, and ankles.

Senior Woman doing Balasana pose

It provides a stretch on these areas and can release the tension on your back especially if you’re been standing straight for a long period of time. Although, you can also confirm with your doctor if you can do this position if you have problems on your knees. 

In order to do this position, sit down with your knees folded, where your butt can seat on your ankles. Then, spread your knees as wide as your mat, where you are comfortable in the position.

Raise your arms on the front until they reach the ears, and rest your belly to your knees. You can adjust in the position, for as long your butt is touching your ankles. 

Do this pose for as long as 1 minute, or 10 slow, controlled breathes until comfortable. 

Hero Pose

Hero pose or the Virasana can be a starting position of the child’s pose. But it also varies if the patient is capable of putting the legs on the side while the knees folded.

Modification is letting your butt seat on your ankles start. This position can facilitate postural control, especially if you have problems maintaining sitting positions. You can also place a rolled blanket under your thighs for relief. 

Seated Spinal Seat

A seated spinal twist is one of the restorative yoga poses to promote spinal mobility . As well as good digestion, as yogists would say.

Postures that involve twisting can help tone the core, and as well as facilitate movement on the digestive system, which benefits the most in this post. It can be relaxing and can loosen the stiffness of the trunk. 

A modified version of this is sitting on the edge of the bed. Then, as your knees are together, hold your left knee with your right arm.

You can have support on your left arm to prevent any injury or avoid any pulling to prevent overstretching. You can also do this on the other side for about 3-5 slowed breaths

Best Yoga Postures For Elderly

But what is yoga anyway? Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning the unity of mind and body, which has been used in Eastern societies since 5000 years ago and has recently received much attention from Western countries.

It is well known for the postures and poses, but the main goal is to expand spiritual energy by using breathing methods with mental focus

Recently, it has been a growing trend in the fitness industry, and even on physical therapy as part of contemporary medicine interventions to help individuals, especially elderly people to be attuned to their body while moving. 

It is a low-impact routine you can add to your day and can help you relax with the breathing methods done when doing poses and postures.

It is rare that individuals report injuries with yoga, but if they do, it can mean that they are not supposed to do those poses, or was done in a different manner than what is instructed. 


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Benefits of Yoga In Older Adults

Lowers Blood Pressure Levels

A systematic review from 2013 has revealed that there is a significant decline in systolic and diastolic blood pressure with patients who has pre-hypertension, and hypertension.

This is significant if compared to no treatment. Still, yoga can be combined with active interventions like exercises or interventions like medicine intake. 

Researchers reported a reduction in blood pressure with three components of yoga: postures, meditation, and breathing.

They recommend yoga with slow, controlled breathing inherent in yoga practice. Wherein, as it activates the parasympathetic system of the body, the blood pressure slows, down and relaxation occurs. 

Be mindful that there are some poses that could not be allowed with elderly people who have hypertension. Standing poses, backbends, and inversions should possibly be avoided.

Any poses or posture that doesn’t feel easy, or doesn’t make you uncomfortable can be stopped. Consulting your doctor or healthcare provider is necessary. 

Strengthen The Bones

If an elderly has complained of morning stiffness, unable to sleep because of pain from arthritis, especially on the knees. Yoga can benefit them.

Senior Couple Sitting with Yoga Instructor

Poses and postures on yoga can help reduce joint pain and promote flexibility and function. This can lower their stress, and tension to have better sleep.

Not only arthritis but yoga can help people with osteoporosis. A study from 2016, has studied individuals who have osteoporotic bone loss.

They concluded that a 12-minute daily yoga routine has an increase in bone mass density on the hip and spine. Though promising, Harvard Health suggests comprehensive studies to prove this matter. 

“But poses and postures on yoga have twisting motions.” There are particular poses and postures for people with arthritis that they can maintain for a short period of time, and if tolerable, a longer duration.

What is important in maintaining the position is your breathing, and focus on what is going on in your mind. 


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Brings Mental Focus

As part of the benefits of yoga in the overall health of an individual, mental focus and relaxation are some of the principal benefits of the said practice.

It can be an alternative option that’s nonpharmacological, and minimal adverse effects if done properly. Therefore, there are several studies that promote yoga as part of an elderly’s routine. 

Elderly individuals are encouraged to do yoga exercises because of their effect on cognitive function and mental health. One systematic study from 2020, has opened that yoga affects positively executive function, memory, attention, and language.

Meanwhile, can help cope with depression. 

Another study that conducted a 12-week yoga therapy program on the elderly woman of a hospice was proven affected.

It is recommended that yoga should be a part of health-care facilities for the elderly as it can enhance the quality of life by improving their overall mental health status. It gives them a positive outlook and mental clarity. 

Lose Weight

There are certain variations of yoga that can help you burn calories, and even can prevent weight gain.

Early elderly ages can do this, especially if they are healthy or active can do Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and power yoga. Several routines on these types of yoga are usually active, and almost constant. 

The best part of using yoga as part of the weight loss journey is doesn’t necessarily cover only losing weight, but several aspects that contribute to gaining weight like stress, anxiety, and depression.

Yoga appears to decrease stress by downregulating the HPA axis response to stress. Perhaps this is the pathway through which yoga reduces stress-related eating.


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Parting Thoughts on Yoga Postures for the Elderly

The ancient exercise form off Yoga remains a very popular and easy workout for the elderly. The fact that it is low impact thus easy on the joints and does not require a lot of physical stamina, makes it ideal to get started.

We hope that with this article, we have been able to answer your question – what are the best yoga postures for the elderly.

Stay fit and healthy.