Here are 5 yoga poses to keep the elderly in your home hale and hearty

Posted on:20 June 2021, 10:00am IST
Age is no bar for yoga and that’s why even the elderly in your home can start with it. All they have to do is be a little cautious and take it slow.
Nikita Bhardwaj
Yoga can have miraculous effects for the elderly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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With ageing comes a string of maladies and problems, but for every problem, having medicines can’t be the solution. It’s great to adopt a holistic approach to tap into some of the problems. And did we tell you that some of these problems can also be solved with the power of yoga? That’s why, on the occasion of International Yoga Day, we’ve got you certain poses for the elderly, who are starting out on their yoga journey.

As you get older, your metabolism slows down and it is harder to keep the extra weight away. This can increase the risk of life-threatening diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Through simple yoga poses you can reduce joint stress, osteoarthritis, and other types of pain. 

Yoga expert Grand Master Akshar suggests these five yoga asanas that help elderly maintain good and pain free years ahead:
1. Samasthithi/Tadasana

Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand tall with your big toes and heels touching together. 
  • Draw in your abdominals and relax your shoulders down and back. 
  • Take 5-8 breaths, while actively engaging your leg muscles.

Benefits

  • It prepares your body and calms your mind.
  • It improves overall body posture.
  • Creates self-awareness.

Also, read: 4 reasons why you are not able to do basic yoga asanas properly

Word of advice: Try to balance your body weight equally on both feet, without leaning onto one.

Get a stronger posture with tadasana. Image courtesy: Shutterstoc
2. Vrikshasana

Here’s how to do it:

  • Begin in the samasthiti position.
  • Lift your right leg and place your right foot on your inner thigh.
  • You may support your foot with your palms to bring it in place.
  • Join your palms in pranam mudra close to your heart chakra and lift up.
  • Repeat the same with the alternate leg.

Benefits 

  • Improves balance
  • Strengthens thighs and calf muscles 
  • Mobilizes knees
  • Reduces stiffness of shoulders

Word of advice 

  • Refrain from doing this posture if you have injured your shoulders, hips, knees  and/or ankles.
  • People suffering from arthritis must refrain from performing this asana. 
  • At the beginning of your practice, you may place the foot on the other calf, slowly raising the position of your foot until you achieve the asana.
Vrikshasana aka Tree pose. Image courtesy: Grand Master Akshar
3. Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie down flat on your stomach with palms placed under your shoulders.
  • Keep your feet together, with toes on the ground.
  • Inhale and lift your head, shoulders and torso up at a 30 degree angle.
  • Ensure that your navel remains on the floor, your shoulders are broad and head slightly raised upwards.
  • Slowly bring your torso down and then exhale breath (rechak) – this breathing technique is therapeutic. 

Benefits:

  • This asana helps in creating a healthy circulation for your back.
  • Improves digestion.
  • It improves your liver as well as massages the kidneys.

Word of advice 

Please avoid this pose in case of:

  • Back injuries
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Headache
Manage old age problems with these yoga poses. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
4. Adomukhi svanasana

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start on your fours, ensuring palms are under the shoulders and knees below hips.
  • Lift the hips up, straighten the knees and elbows, and form an inverted ‘V’ shape.
  • Now, keep your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Put pressure on your palms and open your shoulder blades.
  • Try to push your heels to the floor.
  • Keep your eye focused on your big toes.
  • Hold for eight to ten breaths.

Benefits 

  • It stretches and gives strength to your whole body.
  • Helps in relieving back pain.
  • It rejuvenates your body.
  • Useful in relieving headache, fatigue and insomnia
  • Tones the body muscles.
  • Gives strength to your legs, feet, shoulders and arms. 
  • Reduces anxiety and depression.
  • By this pose your body gets a 360 degree stretch.

Word of advice 

  • Don’t perform this posture in case you are suffering from carpal tunnel  syndrome and/or diarrhea. 
  • In case of high blood pressure or headaches, go slow.
  • In case of chronic or recent injury to the arms, hips, shoulders and back  avoid this.
Adomukhi svanasana. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
5. Vajrasana

Here’s how to do it:

  • Gently kneel down, resting the pelvis on your heels.
  • Turn your toes outward.
  • Place your palms on your knees facing upward.
  • Straighten your back and look forward.

Benefits

  • This asana aids digestion. This is the only one, which can be practised right after having food.
  • Asana relaxes and strengthens feet, ankle, and knee caps.
  • Lubricates knee caps.

Word of Advice 

Avoid doing this asana, if you have a knee or ankle injury. Place a pillow on your calves in order to cushion your knees in case you are doing this on a yoga mat. You can even perform this asana on a bed or a cushioned surface. 

Vajrasana aka Thunderbolt pose. Image courtesy: Grand Master Akshar
The last words

“With age, there is a greater chance of Alzheimer’s disease, and research shows that these numbers double every five years after age 65. Yoga improves your balance, increases your lung capacity, muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. When you take to yoga regularly, you experience improved mood, better sleep, and stress alleviation,” conclude Grand Master Akshar.

Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.

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