No matter what your age, you can use yoga get in shape and feel your best!
As we age, it becomes increasingly more difficult to take part in high-impact forms of exercise like running and weight training. The risk for injury is much higher. Fortunately, there are other types of exercise that are much easier on your body.
Yoga is a great form of exercise for people of all ages, and can be especially beneficial for people over the age of 50. The practice gives you more control over your mobility and teaches you strength, balance, and flexibility. An increase in flexibility in particular will help relieve aches and pains. Check out the poses below.
By Alex & Lauren at Avocadu
Tree pose will challenge and improve your balance and stability. Begin with your feet hip distance apart and your hands pressed together in front of you. Lift your ankle up as high as you can to rest on the inside of your other thigh. Hold your hand there until you feel steady enough to remove it. Tighten the abdominal muscles while holding this pose to help steady yourself and stay balanced.
You can either keep your hands together at your heart (this is best for balance), or you can bring them up over your head for an extra challenge. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.
Begin in tabletop position on your knees with your hands on the ground in front of you. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, bring the head in between the shoulders and round the back as much as possible for Cat pose.
As you inhale another deep breath, bring the head back up as you arch the spine for Cow pose. Keep your gaze straight ahead of you, and focus on pushing the shoulders back and the butt up towards the ceiling. Repeat 5-6 times.
Begin in tabletop position on your knees with your hands on the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart. Slowly raise the left leg up in the air and straight back behind you. Point the toe if you can.
Only when you feel stable in this position should you slowly raise the right arm up in the air. Keep your gaze pointed below you, and try to focus on a specific spot on the floor to help you hold the lifted position. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
Warrior I is very similar to a lunge but with one main difference, and that is the placement of the feet. The back foot should be flat on the ground and pointed at a 45-degree angle from the front foot.
Try to keep the front knee bent at as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. You will feel the quadriceps working hard to hold this pose.
Raise the arms up over your head with your palms facing inward. Keep head between your upper arms, and lift your gaze slightly upward.
To bring this stretch a little into the back, you can also lift your gaze up even higher and tilt your arms and hands back behind you a little bit further. You should feel the stretch in your lower back.
Hold for 30 seconds if you can, and remember to breathe deeply throughout this pose. Transition into Warrior II below before repeating on the other side.
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All images courtesy of Avocadu.