As the age catches up, so do the problems related to age. The bones become fragile with age, and they start losing their density. But the good news is that yoga can be practiced at any age. Yoga is a complete dictionary of exercises. This holistic form of exercise does not only keep a person physically fit only but also work on the mental and emotional quotient of the person. Not only this, it also helps in combating the age related difficulties like joint pains, regulating blood pressure, sleep disorder, elevating mood, breathing difficulties. Even people who are unable to stand for long periods can keep themselves agile by practicing yoga. If you have any health concerns, then do consult your doctor before you consider practicing yoga and remember to do it in the strict vigilance of an expert yoga instructor.
Easy breath or sukha pranayam
Pranayama, or the breathing exercises are excellent for seniors especially for people who are suffering from breathing disorders like asthma, bronchitis, etc. These yoga exercises treat breathing difficulties and reduce stress and anxiety and regulate sleeping disorders hence calming the body and mind. Sit in a meditative position on the yoga mat with your legs folded on top of each other. Keep your spine erect and put your hands on your lap. Close your eyes and inhale and exhale deeply through your nose and focus on your breathing. Stay in this pose for as long as you can. People who are unable to sit on the floor, can practice this pose on a chair.
Seated twist or ardha matsyendrasana
The seated pose is good for digestive disorders, spine and abdominal organs. Digestion and stiffness of back, is an age related problem which is reduced by practicing this pose to a great extent. Sit straight on a yoga mat or a chair with your feet on the floor. Keep your spine erect and slowly and gently rotate your torso from the upper waist to your left side without moving your hips. Try to take a deeper twist, suiting your comfort level. You could use your hands to grip the arms of the chair. Hold it for 10 seconds breathing normally and repeat on the other side.
Legs up the wall pose or viparita karani asana
The silver streaks bring chemical changes in the body which can case insomnia. Problems like depression, heart problems and Parkinson’s disease are a result of lack of sleep. Legs up the wall, is a restorative pose when practiced in combination with other poses, it can cure insomnia to a large extent. Lie on your back away from the wall but facing the wall and push your legs up against the wall, till your legs are straight and your opposite side of your feet if facing the ceiling. For more comfort, you could take support of pillow or cushions under your hips. Hold it for 20 counts and come back slowly to the normal position.
Wind relieving pose or pavanamuktasana
As the name suggests, this asana works on the digestive system by relieving excess gas. This pose strengthens and stretches the abdominal and back muscles too. Lie down straight on your back and slowly raise and bend your right knee and bring it towards your chest, grasping it with both hands. Hold the knee as close as possible to your chest, be in this position for 2 breaths and release, repeat with the opposite knee focusing on your digestive system. You could do it with both your knees also at the same time if it is comfortable.
Tree pose or vrksasana
Age makes the bone structure weak and if an aged person falls, serious injuries like fractures can happen, which are very difficult to heal at this juncture. Tree pose requires you to stand on one foot, so for safety, it is better to take support of a chair, for maintaining a balance. This pose helps in improving the balance and with practice this pose can be achieved easily. Stand on your left leg by bringing the right leg inwards to rest on the left leg . Take your arms over your head and fold your hands, if you are unable to stand like this, then hold the chair with one hand. Maintain this posture for 10 seconds and repeat it on the other side. People with high blood pressure should avoid bringing their arms over their head.
Standing forward bend or uttanasana
Standing forward pose is good for a healthy heart. This pose enhances the blood flow to the brain and helps in releasing muscular tension from your neck and shoulders. Stand straight with your feet apart. Slowly bend forward inhaling deeply using your hip joints, bring your arms down, cross and interlock your arms in front of you, tilting your hips slightly up. Hold the posture for 25 to 30 seconds, feel a release of pressure in your shoulder and neck muscles. Exhale and come back to the normal position. If you are unable to stand, then try this pose seated on a chair.
Laughter yoga is very interesting and very popular amongst the elderly people. This yoga requires a person to laugh aloud, rustically. This exercise is a great emotional healer and it pumps the blood circulation in lungs. Laughter therapy reduces the stress hormones in the body, thus improving the quality of life for people who are lonely and grief stricken. This exercise has a positive effect on our immune system and it increases the memory power too. Just stand or sit and pretend to laugh aloud and feel it converting into a genuine laughter.
Seated half moon pose or parivrtta ardha chandrasana
Half moon pose stretches and strengthens the back and the leg muscles. This pose also regulates nervous and digestive systems. To perform this pose, sit straight on the edge of a chair and clasp the fingers of both your hands and bend to your right hand side, keeping the elbows and shoulders straight. Bend as deep as possible and inhale deeply, hold this pose for 10 to 15 seconds. Exhale and come back to normal, repeat from the other side. This pose can be done in a standing position too.
Corpse pose or savasana
Corpse pose, is the last and the final pose to relax your mind and body. This is again a restorative pose. This pose promotes the blood circulation and relieves a person of fatigue, anxiety and sleeping disorder thus increasing the focus and overall calmness. Lie on your back and allow your body to loosen and relax, breathing normally. Take out all the worldly thoughts from your mind, lie still and concentrate on your breathing. Hold this posture for 2 to 3 minutes and feel a clarity in your mind.