As we gracefully navigate the golden years, prioritizing a healthy and active lifestyle takes center stage. With its gentle yet impactful practices, Yoga emerges as a guiding light on this transformative journey, addressing not only physical fitness but also mental well-being.
Whether you're in your early 50s, a senior, or anywhere in between, these carefully selected asanas cater to diverse age groups.
1. Mountain Pose (Tadasana):
This foundational pose cultivates stability by strengthening ankles, knees, and thighs. Elevating posture and refining balance, Tadasana becomes a cornerstone for enhancing body awareness. The engagement of leg muscles not only fosters a strong foundation but also promotes blood circulation, revitalizing the lower extremities. As you lift your chest and reach arms overhead, you embrace a sense of openness, encouraging improved lung capacity and deepening the mind-body connection.
Step by step
- Standing, big toes touching. The heel don’t necessarily need to be touching, but ensure the knees are facing forward.
- Lift the base of the toes of one foot keeping the heel dow. Move the foot forward stretching the skin underneath the foot
- Begin to lower the toe down from the pinky to the big toe. REPEAT ON THE OTHER FOOT - Keeping the feet grounded, pressing a bit more strongly with the big toe enhancing internal rotation in the upper thighs.
- Pinky toes holding the wobble, to help you stay in balance
- Knee caps gently pulled up
- Bottom tucked under feeling the lift in front of pelvis
- Mula Bandha (pelvic floor) engaged
- Uddyanna Bandha (abdominals) engaged
- Hips above the ankles
- Shoulders above the hips and down and away from the ears
- Arms actively reaching down along the sides of the body finger gently together - Neck long in line with the spine
- Jaw parallel to the mat, lips and face relaxed
- Gaze steady ahead on a point right in front of you or on the floor. Never on a mirror.
- Breath continuously with gentle ujjaii
- Focus in the feet rooting down and the crown of your head reaching up to the sky
- Imagine a rod coming down through the crown of head and out through the perineum into the ground in between your ankles to minimize the wobble.
2. Tree Pose (Vrikshasana):
Develop stability in hips and legs while enhancing focus and concentration. Vrikshasana invites a serene mental state as you find balance on one leg. The intricate positioning of the foot on the inner thigh or calf not only challenges the body but also enhances flexibility in the hip joint. As you bring your hands to prayer position, the pose promotes a sense of centeredness, fostering mindfulness and coordination.
Step by step
- From Tadasana, hands to hips
- Touch the bottom under and engage the bandhas
- Step right foot forward, externally rotate leg and bring the heel to ankle of left foot, toes on mat
- Drop right hip down to keep it level with the left
- Release arms by the sides of the buttocks and externally rotate them, palms turning out
- Inhale bringing arms to shoulder hight and pause for 2 breaths
- Inhale taking the arms vertically to shoulder width
- Drop shoulder down and away from the ears
- To come out: inhale arms back to shoulder high, pause and exhale bring arms by the sides and right leg back to Tadasana.
💡Right foot variation
1. Outer edge of foot to inside of left lower leg, toes vertically facing down OR
2. Outer edge of foot to inside of left upper thigh, toes vertically facing down
1. Palms pressing each other keeping shoulders down and away from ears elbows bent
2. Straighten elbows keeping shoulders down and away from ears
1. From arms along sides of body, bring palms to prayer in front of chest
3. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II):
Instill strength in legs, open hips, and improve overall stability. This dynamic pose engages major muscle groups, promoting resilience and fortitude. The deep stretch in the hips and thighs encourages flexibility, while the extended arms parallel to the floor create a powerful energy flow. The Warrior II stance, with its intentional gaze over the front hand, instills a sense of determination, making it a transformative pose for building physical and mental strength.
Step by step
1️⃣ First stage - From Tadasana at the front of your mat:
- Bring hands to hips.
- Step left foot back about one leg’s length. (We’ll refer to this as your back foot)
- Turn the back foot to a 7 minutes to the hour in position relation to the front one, or up to being parallel to the back of the mat, but never beyond that.
- Imagine a line on your mat touching the inside of the front heel and the outside of the back heel.
- Bend front knee until the knee is above the ankle
- Externally rotate the front thigh at the hip to keep the knee facing the second big toe, not allowing it to move inward.
- Exert even action between the feet by pressing down and forward with the front one (particularly the big toe), and pressing down and back with the outer edge of the back foot and heel also enhancing the pressure of the back big toe to help you keep the outer edge down.
2️⃣ Second stage
- Bandhas engaged (pelvic floor and abdominals in towards the spine and upwards)
- Turn the torso to left until parallel to the side of the mat.
- Release hands in front of the pelvis and lift arms to shoulder hight
- Drishti (focus point) is the front mid finger of front hand
- To come out of the posture: Straighten the front leg, release hands to the hips and steb the back foot forwards to Tadasana.
- Keep arms at shoulder hight, (not eye hight)
- Check that the back hip is levelled with the front one
- Shoulders down and away from the ears, shoulder blades sliding down towards the pelvis
- Arms active as in reaching away from each other
- look dow your chest to adjust Torso so it's right above the hips
- If you feel you can widen the stance between the feet do so by moving the back foot further back whilst keeping the integrity of its points
- as opposed to moving the front foot.
- Work towards bringing the front thigh parallel to you mat, as long as you can keep the outer edge of the foot and heel down.
4. Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana):
Improve balance, strengthen legs, and enhance hip flexibility. Ardha Chandrasana's lateral extension engages the muscles in the legs and core, promoting stability and strength. As you extend one leg and reach the opposite arm towards the floor, the pose challenges your sense of balance and coordination. The lateral stretch also opens the hips, providing a release for tension in this area.
Step by step
From Warrior 2, right foot forward:
- Drop back hand to the hip
- Reach forward and down through the right arm, to lengthen through the underside of the torso
- Place right hand one foot distance ahead of the front foot and slightly to the outside of it.
- Slide the back foot towards the front of your mat and lift it off the floor a little.
- Engage your core
- Flex the flying foot, to lengthen and activate this entire leg and keep the inside of the foot parallel to the ground. Pause.
- Breathing softly, take the top elbow across the back to open the chest and to help bring your back flat against an imaginary wall behind you.
- At this point you could be looking down if easier to keep the balance. Otherwise look to the left side, neck in line with the spine.
- Begin to lift the back leg until parallel to the ground.
- Proceed to straighten the right leg, not locking the knee
- Breath softly and continuously
- If confident here, release the top arm to the sky and draw the shoulders toward the pelvis.
- Finally, look towards the top thumb for the full posture.
- Have 5 breaths in the posture before coming out.
3️⃣To come out
- Bend the standing leg
- Step the flying foot back to a warrior 2 position
- Release arms by down by your sides
- Keep front foot facing forward, as it will tend turn inward.
- You may bent the standing leg according to your needs
- Core engaged throughout the process.
- Do not allow the neck to drop. Keep neck in line with the spine.
5. Corpse Pose (Savasana):
Indulge in relaxation and stress reduction, enhancing overall mindfulness. Savasana invites a profound state of rest, allowing your body to absorb the benefits of the preceding asanas fully. As you lie on your back, legs extended, and arms by your sides, the pose promotes a deep sense of calm. Closing your eyes and focusing on deep, mindful breathing, Savasana becomes a gateway to mental clarity and rejuvenation.
Step by step
- Find a quiet and comfortable space to lie down on your back.
- Use a yoga mat or a soft surface to support your body.
- Extend your legs comfortably, allowing them to relax.
- Place your arms by your sides, palms facing up, and fingers naturally curled.
- Gently tuck your chin towards your chest to lengthen the back of your neck.
- Ensure your head is in a neutral position, aligning with your spine.
- Close your eyes softly, allowing your eyelids to feel heavy.
- Soften the muscles in your face, releasing tension from your forehead, jaw, and cheeks.
- Take slow, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
- Allow your breath to become natural, focusing on the rise and fall of your chest and abdomen.
- Bring attention to different parts of your body, consciously relaxing each area.
- Release any residual tension, starting from your toes and working your way up to the crown of your head.
- Remain in Savasana for at least 5 to 10 minutes, or longer if desired.
- Embrace stillness and quietness, allowing your body and mind to enter a state of deep relaxation.
- To conclude, start by gently bringing awareness back to your breath.
- Slowly begin to move your fingers and toes, gradually awakening your body.
- Roll to one side and spend a few moments in a fetal position before slowly sitting up.
While the benefits of practicing yoga asanas are undeniable, the experience becomes profoundly transformative through personalized guidance. Consider elevating your yoga journey by embracing private lessons tailored to your unique needs, interests, and goals.
As a seasoned British Wheel of Yoga teacher with 11 years of experience, I bring a wealth of knowledge to ensure your practice is not only effective but also enjoyable. Private lessons allow for individualized attention, addressing specific concerns like joint mobility, flexibility, and overall well-being. Whether you're a beginner seeking a solid foundation or an experienced practitioner aiming to deepen your practice, private sessions provide a sacred space for growth.
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