Yoga moves can improve your posture, strengthen the core and improve balance. They also can help you increase energy, which is especially important as you age.
A recent study found that yoga is especially helpful for improving flexibility and reducing stress in adults ages 65 and older.
Downward-Facing Dog Modified
Downward-Facing Dog is one of the most commonly practiced yoga poses, and it’s especially helpful for stretching the shoulder muscles, strengthening the arms and thighs, and improving balance. However, it can be challenging for many beginners to hold this pose long enough to get all the benefits.
The priority in this pose is to create a long spine, tailbone to neck. If you find your hamstrings are tight and it’s difficult to straighten your legs, this may cause your spine to round instead of lengthening, which can be a strain on the back.
You can also make the pose easier on your shoulders by turning your hands out a bit more to point them at either 1 or 11 o’clock. This modification can help reduce the stress on your shoulders and wrists, which is a common problem for many people who try this pose.
One of the most common backbends in vinyasa flow, the Upward-Facing Dog pose stretches the chest and abdomen. It also strengthens the arms, shoulders and wrists.
But the pose can also be a bit challenging for those who are new to yoga. As many teachers do not have the time to break down this foundational pose, students may find themselves struggling to stay in alignment if they don’t know how to practice this backbend properly.
To avoid the discomfort and risk of injury, yogis should learn to modify this yoga move as needed. Modifications can be as simple as adding a folded blanket underneath the thighs or using a block for the hands.
Regardless of how you modify this pose, it’s essential to maintain proper form for a successful and pain-free experience. By following these tips, you can take your yoga practice to the next level and start enjoying the benefits of this powerful backbend!
Warrior II is a pose that stretches and strengthens the legs, hips, core, and shoulders. It also promotes good posture and spinal alignment and improves balance, all of which increase energy levels.
Like many poses, this one requires a strong sense of spatial orientation to maintain balance and avoid injury. In addition, it can be difficult for those with knee injuries, hip pain, or balance issues to perform the full Warrior II Pose.
The pose is best practiced after a series of preparatory yoga poses that prepare the body for external hip rotation, such as Bound Angle pose (Baddha Konasana). You may wish to place the seat of a folding chair underneath the front thigh to help support the lower back.
Holding the Warrior II for a long time can help build stamina, especially in the core muscles that stabilize the body during the pose. This extended hold can also improve body awareness and help the mind connect with the body.
The Side Stretch is a gentle and effective yoga pose for toning the side of the body, spine, shoulders and armpits. It also stretches the belly and chest, improving digestion and alleviating fatigue and anxiety.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and knees straight, then push your hips to the right. Repeat on the left.
While doing the pose, you’ll want to focus on breathing and calming. Ujjayi breathing (breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth) is an excellent way to focus on breath, calm the mind and relax the nervous system.
In this particular variation of Standing Side Bend, you’ll also use your hands to help lift your knee caps. This helps strengthen the leg muscles, giving you a solid base of support to bend and stretch even farther!