Yoga helps to maintain both physical and mental well-being. Baby boomers are part of a generation that can truly benefit from a daily yoga exercise. As you age, balance, joint, and cognitive issues become a regular part of life. However, yoga can help you to maintain your balance, bone density, muscle mass, flexibility, and cognitive function.
According to the 2017 SilverSneakers Instructor of the year, Terecita Blair, there are eight specific yoga poses that are perfect for baby boomers and don’t require any equipment. To start your yoga exercise, you should take five minutes to warm up. Once your body is warm, perform the following poses to get the most out of your yoga exercise.
1. Balancing mountain
The balancing mountain pose works to strengthen your lower body, including the arches of your feet. You begin in a standing position, with your feet hip-width apart. Maintain good posture in your shoulders by rotating them up, back, and down.
Once you are comfortable, lift your heels off the ground as high as possible while balancing on your toes. Blair says to remain in this position for three to five breaths. To make this pose and many of the next poses easier, you can use a chair or wall to help you balance.
If you’re just starting out, don’t worry if your balance isn’t what it used to be. With a consistent yoga exercise, you’ll find your balance getting better and better each day.
2. Knee to chest
This pose helps to stretch and strengthen your lower and mid-body. To transition from balancing mountain to knee to chest, simply place your heels back on the floor. Raise one knee to be level with your hip but also parallel with the ground. If you’re unable to lift your knee that high, that’s fine. Starting a little lower, while still pushing yourself, will still have the same benefits.
Next, flex your lifted foot. Place your hands on your hips. Remain in that position for three to five breaths, then switch sides.
3. Warrior three variation
Next, you will work to strengthen your legs, glutes, and back. To transition to warrior three variation, return to balancing mountain post with your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart, with good posture. Lift one foot behind you and extend your leg straight as you let your torso slightly fall forward.
Try to make your chest and lifted leg parallel to the floor, if possible. Your arms can extend out to the sides like an airplane or straight back along your body. Remain in this balance position for three to five breaths, then change legs.
4. Tree pose
While the previous poses improve your balance and strength, this next one focuses on core balance. Transition from warrior three to tree post by returning to balancing mountain. While balancing on one foot, take the other foot and place it flat along your ankle without applying pressure to your ankle. When you do this, your knee of the lifted foot will naturally turn outwards. Bring your hands together at your check and hold that position.
As you advance, you will eventually be able to bring your foot to your inner knee of your primary leg. But again, be sure not to apply pressure to your knee. Instead, just place your foot gently against it. After holding the position for three to five breaths, switch sides.
5. Balancing star
You should feel this next pose in your glutes as you work to tighten and strengthen your muscles. Return to balancing mountain. Then, lift one foot out to the side while leaning your upper body to the opposite side. Once balanced, stretch your arms out, so your arms, legs, and torso together create a star shape. Hold this position for three to five breaths and change sides.
6. Beginner standing Pigeon
Standing pigeon is an advanced move for some boomers, so you may want to start this pose while seated in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Cross one ankle over your opposite knee while keeping your lifted foot flexed. If seated, try to open up your hips as much as possible by pushing your raised knee towards the ground.
If you’re standing, once your ankle is crossed over your knee, sit back as if you were sitting in a chair. Only go as low as you can without falling over. Hold the position for three to five breaths and switch sides.
7. Beginner dancer pose
The beginner dancer pose will likely be one of the easiest poses from this list. Simply balance on one leg while bending your opposite knee, lift your heel towards your glutes. Lift your arm towards the side of your ear and hold that position for three to five breaths and switch sides.
8. Standing twist
For this last pose, you will get in knee to chest pose. Once you have found your center of gravity, twist your upper body towards the same side as your lifted leg. For example, if your left leg is lifted, turn towards the left. Do this with your opposite side hand rested on your raised knee. Hold this position for three to five breaths and switch sides.
Remember, if you need the extra assistance, have a chair or wall nearby so you can use it to regain your balance. Doing this simple yoga routine every day is sure to improve your flexibility, balance, and strength.
Author: Danielle Kunkle Roberts is the co-owner of Boomer Benefits and a Forbes.com Contributor. Her licensed insurance agency specializes in Medicare-insurance related products, with tens of thousands of clients across 47 states.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Karen Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.