Yoga for Seniors: Poses and Practices to Support Health and Well-being

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Yoga for Seniors is a popular type of meditation exercise practiced by millions of people around the globe. This physical exercise is very ancient, meaning it has been practiced since the early days. From, mild stretching, breath control, and diet control, to establishing harmony within the self, yoga is proven to offer tons of benefits to one’s mental and physical well-being.

Additionally, since it doesn’t require too much exertion, this type of exercise is suitable for senior citizens even for those with joint and bone problems. In this article, you will know about the benefits of yoga, its best types, and the best positions for seniors.

Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Young or old, yoga offers a lot of benefits such as:

Improving Balance

Yoga includes many poses. Standing up, sitting, and lying down, these positions are proven to enhance your abdominal muscles as well as your core stability reducing your risk of falls. Additionally, yoga is said to improve your posture as well, especially after continued practice.

Improving Flexibility

Most yoga poses can stretch the muscles all over your body. Along with breathing practices, the tissues and muscles in your body will end up being loosened and relaxed, making it more flexible over time.

In fact, the latest research published by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) stated that practicing yoga is more effective in improving flexibility compared to calisthenics.

Improving Bone Strength

One of the common problems seniors face when they reach 50 or 60 is osteoporosis, rheumatism, and other bone problems. Fortunately, yoga is a type of exercise proven to improve bone strength and prevent bone density loss among older men and post-menopausal women.

According to the research published by Harvard Health Publishing, the study revealed that after 2 years of following a yoga routine, there was a significant increase in muscle density among senior women who participated in the study.

Enhancing Breathing

In yoga, there is what we call the “pranayama”, which refers to breathing control exercises. Continuous breathing exercises will help improve your heart health. Research published in NCBI concluded that yoga significantly improved pulmonary health among the participants.

Improving Sleep Quality

Older adults usually experience sleeping difficulties. Fortunately, yoga can help improve sleep quality. That is because yoga acts like a meditation practice. Following different poses along with breathing exercises helps relax the brain. This then will contribute to better sleep quality.

Improving Mental Health

Yoga is not just for physical health, but it is also for one’s mental health. With mindful breathing and stretching, it’ll help relax your brain and provide a sense of peace and harmony. Many researchers even concluded that yoga helped reduce the participants’ stress and depressive feelings. Most people even practice yoga for this purpose.

Best Types of Yoga

There are different types of yoga, but when it comes to seniors, the best yoga exercises are:


Hatha yoga includes a slow-paced flow of standing and sitting poses. The focus of this yoga is stretching the muscles and encouraging proper breathing. This is not a complicated type of yoga which means it is a suitable option for newbies.


This type of yoga focuses on meditation and relaxation. Unlike Hatha, the poses in restorative yoga include minimal stretching. Poses are also usually held for a long time, which is about 10 minutes long.


If you’re looking for a type of yoga that encourages better posture and form, Iyengar is the right choice. It is a type of yoga best for seniors suffering from arthritis, osteoporosis, and other bone-related diseases. In performing this yoga you need to use props like straps, bolsters, inclined boards, and blocks that will help support balance and improve body form.


Unlike other forms of yoga, this is practiced at a quicker pace and performed with proper breathing exercises. This can be a good option for seniors who are looking for a more challenging type of yoga.


This is another type of yoga that involves slow-paced movements. The only difference between Yin from Restorative yoga is that Yin involves poses that stretch the muscles and tissues in the body. Continuous practice will encourage better flexibility.


What makes Bikram unique from other types of yoga is that the room is intendedly heated to about 100 degrees Celsius with 40% humidity. It also includes 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises, which will definitely make you sweat. This may be a good yoga for removing toxins and strengthening muscles but is not recommended for seniors who have high blood and low blood pressure.


Just like Vinyasa, Ashtanga is another fast-paced yoga. It includes a series of acrobatic moves that help burn calories, improves heart rate, and enhance blood circulation. Experts suggest this yoga for seniors who want to lose weight.


If you prefer yoga that relaxes the mind, eases tension, and focuses on spirituality, Kundalini is the way to go. This is often called the “yoga of awareness” because of its series of slow-paced physical postures, breathing exercises, as well as chants to encourage relaxation and meditation.

Basic Yoga Positions

If you are new to yoga, you can do the following yoga poses as a good start:

Mountain Pose

This is the basic standing position with your toes and heels firmly on the ground. This type of pose helps improve one’s posture and balance.

Bird Dog

This pose improves the bones and muscles on your back and abdomen. This is done by kneeling and putting one palm on the ground. It’s like you’re on all fours like a dog, but one arm is stretched forward and the opposite leg is lifted backward as well.

Tree Pose

This pose improves balance and leg muscles. You just have to stand and lift one leg putting the sole on the knee of your other leg. Next is to put your palms together like you’re praying. While in this position, hold 5 to 8 breaths to relax tension.


This is an effective pose for strengthening the back and improving posture. To do this, lie down on your stomach and put your forearms against the ground like a cat lying down. Hold 5 to 8 breaths while in this position.

Downward Facing Dog

Start by standing on your toes and putting your palms against the ground like you’re standing on all fours. Push your body backward until your legs are vertically straight and your arms and upper body are aligned diagonally. After that, push your body forward again. Repeat this backward and forward motion while doing breathing exercises.

Cobbler’s Pose

Do this by sitting on the ground, straightening your upper body, then putting the soles of your feet together as you spread your legs apart.


This pose is great for the final phases of yoga. All you have to do is lie down on your back and allow your body to relax. Try breathing deeply while in this position to remove tensed muscles in your body.

Chair Yoga for Seniors

If you are suffering from joint pain in your legs that prevents you from lying down and folding your legs, try chair yoga instead. This is the best type of yoga for people with disabilities as well. Chair yoga poses include:

Seated Mountain or Tadasana

This is like the standing mountain pose but in a seated position. Make sure that your legs are at a 90-degree angle, your chest out, and your shoulders back. Move your arms a little forward and backward as you inhale and exhale.

Warrior I Or Virabhadrasana I

You can start by doing the seated mountain pose, then lifting both arms sideways until the index and middle finger meet above your head. Repeat this movement along with deep breathing practice.

Eagle Arms or Garudasana Arms

In a seating position, lift your arms forward, then move your elbows inward until they meet together. Next is to lift your forearms, fingers pointing upward.

Seated Forward Bend or Paschimottanasana

To do this, start by sitting down on a chair, your legs on a 90-degree angle. Put your palms on your lap, then next is to slowly lean your upper body forward until your chest and knees meet together.

Simple Seated Twist or Parivrtta Sukhasana

In a seated position, first lift your arms sidewards, next is to bend your upper body on your left side while lowering down your arms. Repeat these steps on your right side.

Reverse Arm Holds

This position is good for your spine. Start by lifting your arms sidewards, then slowly lowering them and meeting your hands together on your lower back. Push your chest out and shoulders backward while doing this.

Single-Leg Stretch or Janu Sirsasana

In a seated position, make sure one leg is at a 90-degree angle while the other one is diagonally straight. Next is to lean the head forward and extend one arm reaching the toes of the extended leg. Repeat this position on the other side, inhaling and exhaling throughout the process.

Final Thoughts

If you think yoga is only for young, flexible people, it’s time to change your perspective. Doctors even recommend seniors join yoga classes to keep their balance, flexibility, bone strength, muscle strength, and mental health at their peak.

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