The aging population is at greater risk for falls, fractures and other types of chronic pain and illnesses. In the United States, 28 % of adults 65 + report falling with fractures being the most common injury. Falls usually occur from muscle weakness, osteoporosis, nervous system conditions and vestibular problems. An age appropriate yoga routine can improve mental clarity, concentration, physical strength, balance and boost immunity. There is also evidence showing yoga may reduce or prevent osteoporosis. Try this simple and effective home yoga routine suitable for all ages. Use a firm, supportive chair that is placed securely against a wall to prevent sliding. Always check in with your physician to see if this program is suitable for you.
1- Stand with feet parallel and hip distance apart. Your arms are long and at the side of the body.
2- Lift and spread the toes and the balls of the feet. Engage the leg muscles and pull in the pelvic floor and lower belly. Shoulders relax away from ears. Center your head over the body and stand straight.
3- Inhale, raise arms out to shoulder level (palms facing the floor). Hold for 5 breaths.
4- Rotate the palms up than raise arms over head. Hold for 5 breaths.
5- Bring the arms back to your side in the same way that your raised them.
UTTANASANA or Standing Forward Bend
1- Face the chair with feet about 1.5 ft away from the chair. Inhale, raise arms over head with palms facing in.
2- Exhale and lower head towards floor placing hands on a chair or blocks. Begin to straighten the legs until you feel a light stretch in the back of the thighs. Bend knees if the back of the legs are inflexible. Hold for 5 breaths.
3- Inhale, raise the torso to standing with arms overhead. Keep the back straight and knees slightly bent as you come up.
4- Exhale, lower arms back to the side of the body.
ARDHA UTTANASANA or Half Forward Bend
1- Step back about 1.5-2 ft from the chair. Inhale, raise the arms up.
2- Exhale , fold forward placing hands on chair. Lengthen the spine by pressing the tailbone back and pull the lower belly in. Keep the neck in a neutral position. Hold for 5 breaths.
3- Inhale, bend the knees and raise the torso up to to standing with arms raised.
4- Exhale, lower arms to the side of the body.
HALF DOWNWARD FACING DOG
1- Inhale, place hand on a chair and step the feet back approximately 3 ft.
2- Exhale, press the tailbone away from the chair as your lengthen the arms and spine away from the chair. Hold for 5 breaths.
3- Inhale, step the feet forward and slowly come to standing position.
1- Stand with hands supported on a chair or railing and take the feet hip distance apart.
2- Inhale, raise onto the balls of the feet as the heels lift off of the floor.
3- Exhale, slowly lower heels to floor. Repeat 10 x.
ONE LEG BALANCE
1- Begin in standing position near the chair or holding on to a railing for support.
2- Shift the weight evenly onto the left leg.
3- Inhale, bend the right knee and balance on the left leg. (Hold support as much as needed) If very unstable, continue holding support. To challenge your balance, begin to let go of the support but keep hand near by if you need to grab on for safety.
SITTING PIGEON POSE
1- Sit in a chair with your back straight.
2- Cross the right leg over the left thigh.
3- Inhale, lengthen the spine.
4- Exhale, lean forward with back straight until you feel a stretch in the outer right hip. You do not want to feel anything in the knee. Hold for 5 breaths.
5-Inhale, lift the chest, lengthen the spine and come back to sitting position. Repeat on the left side.
1- From sitting position, inhale, lift the arms up and straighten your posture.
2- Exhale, twist to the right. Place the left hand on the right knee. Place the right hand on the chair behind you or just reach back until you feel a gentle stretch in the spine.
3- Hold for 5 breaths.
4- Exhale, release to forward facing position. Repeat on left side.
1- Sit in a chair with good posture and spine straight. Place hands on the lap and relax your shoulders. Breath in and out the nose for 5 minutes. If the mind drifts, bring the attention back to the breath.