How Often Should You Do Chair Yoga
Your doctor should always be involved with any decisions regarding exercise. Nevertheless, if you are doing full yoga classes for seniors, you may do them one to three times a week. Still, chair yoga is gentle enough that you can do most poses safely throughout the day and make them part of your daily life.
Wheelchair yoga for seniors is a fantastic way to ease into a more demanding exercise routine, or simply to improve movement and flexibility at your current fitness level.
Remember to always speak to your doctor about any new exercise and take things slow. Yoga should never hurt, so keep every pose within your comfort zone and never push past your limits.
- 9 Benefits of Yoga. 2021. 2021. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/9-benefits-of-yoga.
- Jeter, Pamela E., Amélie-Françoise Nkodo, Steffany Haaz Moonaz, and Gislin Dagnelie. 2014. A Systematic Review of Yoga for Balance in a Healthy Population. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 20 : 22132. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2013.0378.
- Senior Lifestyle. 2020. Top 10 Chair Yoga Positions for Seniors . Senior Lifestyle. Senior Lifestyle. February 12, 2020. https://www.seniorlifestyle.com/resources/blog/infographic-top-10-chair-yoga-positions-for-seniors/.
Have you tried any of these wheelchair yoga exercises for seniors? Please share your experience below!
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The Best Types Of Yoga For Senior Citizens
Whether you’re aiming to get stronger and more flexible or you just want to decompress and still your mind, yoga can help. But with the dozens of different styles that exist, it can be tough to figure out which type is most appropriate for you. Remember that a key consideration is your physical condition and fitness level. Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Here are eight types of yoga that may offer what you need:
What Do I Need For Chair Yoga
Though chair yoga is a low-risk and low-impact form of exercise, you should make sure you have the right equipment to prevent injuries and to get the most out of your workout. Some essential chair yoga equipment includes:
- An armless, stable chair
- A flat, level surface for your chair
- Flexible, comfortable clothing that isnt too tight or baggy
- Space to fully extend your limbs
- An experienced instructor or friend for safety
View our infographic below for some fun, easy, and healthy chair yoga positions. If you are new to chair yoga or concerned about your readiness for exercise, please consult with a physician or chair yoga expert before jumping right in. Try these positions with a friend or expert if youre new, or alone if youre confident in your abilities.
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Chair Yoga For Seniors: A 30 Minute Routine
You might want to do this 30 minute routine of gentle chair yoga along with your older adult so they can watch your movements.
Its a fun activity to do together and youll get the health benefits too!
The only equipment thats needed is a sturdy chair that allows your older adults feet to touch the floor.
An optional accessory is a belt, strap, or long hand towel to aid in stretching.
In case you want to skip around, weve noted the time markers for each section of the routine.
Warm up poses for heat and circulation This is a great way to warm up the body, improve flexibility, and reduce pain.
This section lasts 10 minutes and could be a nice short routine in itself.
Standing poses for balance and strength These yoga poses are done while holding on to the back of the chair.
If your older adult isnt strong or balanced enough to do this section safely, it might be safer to skip it.
Lower body poses for flexibility In this section, a belt or strap helps with stretching any long belt, strap, small towel, or sturdy rope will do.
Even if your older adult doesnt use a belt, they can still benefit from the movements.
Shavasana Shavasana is a restful pose usually done at the end of a yoga class. Just relax and focus on breathing slowly and deeply.
Closing Instructor Sherry wraps up the class.
Chair & Standing Routines: Ageless Yoga Volume 1
Led by Harvard University Center for Wellness instructor John Schlorholtz, this is a great chair yoga DVD for older adults who have difficulty getting down on the floor. It features a variety of routines that offer you a choice of either sitting in a chair or using a chair for stability while standing.
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Yoga Classes For Seniors
It’s highly advisable to begin your yoga journey by taking an in-person class so that you can get customized instruction from an experienced teacher. You need to make sure you are performing the moves correctly so that you can avoid injury and receive the greatest benefit. Plus, many older adults enjoy the social aspect of getting together regularly with other people who share their interests.
“But,” you may ask, “how can I find beginning yoga classes for seniors near me?” One option is to contact yoga studios, community centers, or health clubs in your area to see what they offer. Look for programs such as beginner or gentle yoga for seniors.
You can also try searching on the Yoga Class Near You website, which lets you enter a location and specify that you’re seeking seniors yoga classes.
Basic Yoga Positions For Beginners
Keep in mind that basic does not necessarily mean easy. Yoga poses are meant to challenge your mind as well as your body. Even in simple moves, there is a lot going on. That’s why, in the beginning, yoga poses are easiest to learn in person from a qualified instructor. But if you want to get comfortable with a few moves before going to class, be sure to listen to your body and not push yourself past your limits.
Ready to get started? Here are some examples of yoga exercises for beginners, with links to videos that demonstrate proper technique:
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The Benefits Of Yoga For Older Adults
Yoga cultivates a mind-body connection, combining stretching and strengthening postures with deep breathing and relaxation. Despite its roots in Eastern philosophy, yoga as practiced in the West is generally focused on physical fitness. It still has a spiritual aspect, but it is not overtly religious. People of all faiths and belief systems can benefit from participating in yoga.
Because the poses can easily be modified or adapted to suit an individual’s needs, yoga is safe for seniors of all fitness or ability levels. In fact, it can be an excellent way to keep your body strong and healthy without the joint stress that comes from other activities like weightlifting or jogging. And it’s never too late to begin: You can start yoga at any age.
Here are some of the benefits of yoga for seniors:
Yoga For Seniors: How To Get Started
You’re never too old to reap the rewards of yoga. For seniors who are looking for a safe, effective way to enhance their physical health and overall wellness, the stretching, breathing, and meditation practices of yoga can be a great solution. In fact, as you will see, doing yoga regularly can result in a host of benefits for older adults, from greater flexibility and improved balance to lower stress and better sleep.
It’s no wonder, then, that yoga is becoming increasingly popular among seniors. The 2016 Yoga in America Study found that nearly 14 million Americans over the age of 50 practiced yoga that year. That was a significant jump from the four million who did so in 2012.
This article outlines the many benefits of senior yoga and describes several of the best types of yoga for older men and women . It also offers information about basic poses and explains what you should do before you begin any yoga routine. And it even provides examples of helpful books, videos, and DVDs as well as tips on how to find appropriate classes.
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Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health
According to the NIH, yoga can benefit your mind as much as your body. Studies show practicing yoga causes decreased depression, stress, anxiety, and cortisol levels, and increased feelings of hope over time.
Taking care of your mental health is important at any age. However, the risks associated with mental health struggles increase as you grow older. Those who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke, have an increased risk of suffering from depression. In addition, depression can complicate the treatment of these conditions, making treatment more difficult.
Beginning Yoga Exercises + Poses For Seniors
Some of the best poses for beginners and seniors are detailed below. Remember to only go as far as you can with each of the postures. Every pose can be modified to meet your needs, but it’s good to consider getting professional instruction rather than going it alone.
Remember to discuss with your physician for approval before beginning your new yoga regimen.
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Relief From Aches And Pains
Chronic pain is common among older adults, particularly the pain associated with arthritis and joint problems – but yoga can offer some natural relief.
A 2001 study conducted at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center looked at the effects of yoga on those with chronic pain, caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis and migraines.
Participants took part in 90-minute yoga sessions three times a week for four weeks, before being asked to rate their moods and severity of their pain. Most of the participants experienced decreases in pain, with many being able to reduce their intake of pain medications.
Since then, several other studies have had similar results: 2013 research reports that yoga may be able to to decrease pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall health in older adults and a 2015 study highlighs its ability to ease pain and improve vitality and mood in sedentary adults with arthritis.
Helpful Books Videos And Dvds
Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of going to an organized yoga class. Fortunately, you can practice yoga by following along with books, online videos, or DVDs.
This article contains affiliate links. We are compensated with a small commission, at no extra cost to you, for sales made through the links.
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Yoga For Seniors Promotes Your Overall Well
Yoga practice is a wonderful form of exercise at any age. Research shows yoga benefits your mental and physical health, helping to strengthen muscles, improve balance, lessen anxiety, improve depression, and decrease your risk of falls.
When beginning a yoga practice, find an in-person beginner’s class or follow along with online videos. Be sure to find a type of yoga that works best for you, looking for classes titled restorative, hatha, beginner, or chair yoga.
When starting any fitness routine, be sure to speak to your physical therapist or healthcare provider. In addition, be sure to schedule your daily Snug check-in so youre not just healthy, but safe. If your family member or friend opted to receive your daily check-in, they know you safely completed your workout and perhaps your newly-formed fitness routine will encourage them to start their own.
Supine Spinal Twist Supta Matsyendrasana
- Step 1: Start on your back. Bend both the knees with soles of the feet on the mat. Extend out the arms in line with shoulders.
- Step 2: Inhale to lift the knees to the chest, exhale to drop the knees to the right, while looking to the left.
- Step 3: Stay here for 5-10 breaths.
- Step 4: Inhale to come back to centre. Repeat on the other side.
Variations: If the stretch on the back is too intense, try gentle yoga with just one knee bent. If you want to further intensify the pose, cross one knee over the other
Benefits: This pose stretches the glutes, chest, and obliques. Its health benefits include improved spinal mobility and digestion. One of the best yoga poses to alleviate lower back pain.
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Basic Yoga Poses: Yoga Postures To Work Into Your Routine
In a yoga class, your instructor may call out the English or Sanskrit names for poses. To help make your first few classes more enjoyable, you may want to familiarize yourself with the names of a few basic poses. If it’s your first class, arrive early and tell your yoga teacher or the front desk it’s your first practice, and ask if they’ll call out the English pose names.
Here are a few poses to learn :
Child’s pose : This is your resting pose. Kneel on your shin bones, with your butt resting on your heels. Extend your arms out in front of you, with your forehead resting on your mat.
Mountain’s pose : After a yoga sequence , you will often return to this standing pose. You look like you’re simply standing tall, but this is an active movement. Tuck your pelvis in, extend your arms at your sides, and tighten your abdominal and leg muscles.
Tree pose : Start in mountain pose. Balance on one leg, raise your other leg so your foot rests on your inner shin or thigh . If you have trouble balancing, stand next to the wall or a sturdy piece of furniture for balance.
Downward facing dog : Come to all fours, with your hands shoulder-width apart. Raise your hips in the air, extending your legs so you look like an inverted V. It’s ok if your heels don’t reach the ground.
Cobra pose : Lay face down on the floor, with your hands directly by your chest and your palms flat on the floor. Using your back muscles, push your upper body up off the floor.
Yoga Improves Your Physical Health
Yoga is a safe and effective way to increase strength, balance, and flexibility. In addition, some studies show yoga can help you lose weight, prevent chronic health issues, and sleep more soundly.
According to the NIH, you lose range of motion in your joints, strength, balance, and flexibility as you age. This puts you at greater risk of developing osteoarthritis, low back pain, and curvature of the spine, and increases your risk of falling. By developing a regular yoga practice, you increase muscle mass often lost due to aging, improve your posture, and strengthen your balance, thereby reducing your risk of falls.
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Best Yoga Wheelchair Exercises For Seniors
The various yoga exercises which seniors in wheelchairs can do fall under the category of chair yoga or seated yoga.
Chair yoga is a low-risk, low-impact form of yoga that is easy on the joints and can open the way to other forms of wheelchair exercises.
Chair Yoga poses are suitable for seniors at various fitness levels and are also good for those who are in the process of recovery from an injury or illness.
Here are a few exercises a new yoga student can start off with.
Benefits Of Doing Chair Yoga For People With Limited Mobility
There are many benefits of doing wheelchair yoga for those who have limited mobility. These include:
Yoga For Seniors: The Whole Body
If you are looking for a full-length class of chair yoga, this is absolutely perfect. Michelle gently strengthens and stretches the whole body, all while seated in a chair. It’s perfect for seniors or people with a disability.
Michelle Rubin’s 54 minute class is perfect as it focuses on all the body areas. I have been doing it for months about 2-3 times a week andit is wonderful — particularly with emphasis on breathing.
Thanks so much for sharing your class with us all. I really enjoyed it. My first yoga class in some time and definitely my first from a chair. Getting mobile again after such long period of my body being either injured or very sporadic in the demands put upon it, is why I came to your class. I have made notes a feel that it has helped me isolate some acute areas that need a more gentle approach to opening up their mobility whilst I also invest in a more general and well directed form of body connection. Having said that I found the layers of variations within each posture to be much more of a work out than I anticipated. I think I will build more stamina in say my shoulders and hips thanks to your class. Anyways, I just wanted to say thanks. I hope some feedback helps you out too. All th best. See you again. Adam.
I was thrilled to see a seated yoga practice because there are times when I need to be careful of my balance.
Palm Tree Pose Tadasana
- Step 1: Start in mountain pose.
- Step 2: Gaze at a steady point. Lift the hands up and interlock the fingers overhead, flip the palms up
- Step 3: Inhale and lift both the heels off the mat. Stretch as much as possible without over arching the back.
- Step 4: Stay here for 5-10 breaths. Exhale to rest the heels back down and return to starting pose
Variations: To maintain balance, this yoga routine can be done by seniors next to a wall.
Benefits: Good for stretching the arms, chest, abdomen, spine and the legs. It helps with concentration, focus and improves posture, increases awareness and steadies the breath. Practice this pose for longer to help with digestion, blood circulation and building strength in the abdomen and legs.
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