The Benefits of Yoga at Any Age

Yoga is ideal for keeping your mind and body in shape year-round, and joining a yoga group or class is an excellent way to make new friends. Read on to learn more about how you can benefit from yoga, as well as a few poses you can try at home.

Strength, Balance, and Flexibility

Yoga poses require you to use all different parts of your body, and even after just a few sessions, you’ll be sure to notice yourself building more muscle, developing stronger bones, and becoming more flexible—all of which reduce your risk of falling during everyday activities. The slow movements of yoga also increase blood flow, which carries oxygen through your body for better heart health, lowering your risk of disease. And speaking of oxygen, a proper yoga routine requires you to practice deep, deliberate breathing—a skill you can use to keep your endurance up even when you’re not working out.

Pain Relief

Exercise doesn’t have to hurt; in fact, it can be an effective method of soothing aches and pains. Yoga stretches your body out in a way that increases flexibility and relieves tension, which can help relieve pain in the lower back and joints. Yoga is often recommended as a remedy for arthritis. And even the parts of your body that you aren’t actively moving can benefit from yoga. The way it regulates your circulatory system has been found to alleviate the pain of headaches and migraines.

Stress Relief

Yoga is known to promote positive, energetic moods and may even be an effective treatment for depression. Like any other form of exercise, it releases endorphins and boosts your confidence as you feel yourself become stronger, but what makes yoga unique is its slow, relaxing pace and emphasis on mindfulness, which helps you stay calm as you push your body harder. It also aids your body clock in establishing a healthy sleep routine, so you can stay well-rested and feel more energized during the day.

Poses to Try

If you’re new to yoga, try doing the following eight poses with an exercise partner. Remember to take deep, slow breaths throughout each pose, and be warned, some of them are much harder than they look!

1. Staff Pose

Sit down with your back straight and upright, your legs straight in front of you, and your arms by your side with palms flat on the floor (if they can reach). Keeping your back straight and your heels on the floor, flex your toes toward your body.

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2. Cobbler’s Pose

Begin in the staff pose. Then bend your knees, keeping your legs flat on the ground and bring your feet as close together as you can, sole to sole. If you can, use your hands to hold your feet together.

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3. Mountain Pose

Stand up straight with your big toes touching each other and your heels spread slightly apart. Relax your neck and shoulders and let your arms lie at your sides with palms facing forward. Suck your belly button in towards your spine, spread your toes out, and flex the muscles at the front of your thighs so you can feel your kneecaps rising a little higher.

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4. Tree Pose

Stand up straight with your hands in front of you, palms together. Shift your weight onto your right foot, keeping your right leg straight without locking the knee. Lift your left leg with the knee bent, and bring the sole of your left foot to the inner side of your right thigh. Be sure to press your left foot into your right thigh and keep your body’s weight on your right foot. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds, then switch sides.

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5. Downward Facing Dog

Assume a position on your hands and knees like a baby crawling, knees directly beneath your hips and wrists directly beneath your shoulders. Press your palms down with your fingers spread wide apart. Flex your toes forward and straighten your legs out, lifting your bottom up and allowing your head to hang between your arms.

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6. Cobra Pose

Lie down on your stomach with your palms flat on the ground in front of you. Keeping your hands directly below your shoulders, lift your chest off the floor, keeping the bottom of your torso on the ground and your head facing forward.

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7. Child’s Pose

Kneel with your knees hip-width apart and your big toes touching. Your bottom should be resting on top of the back of your thighs, and your hands should be flat on top of your legs. Lean your torso forward with your shoulders relaxed, and extend your arms in front of you, palms flat on the ground.

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8. Corpse Pose

To finish off your yoga session, lie on your back with your legs straight and spread apart and your arms a few inches to the side of your torso, palms up. Close your eyes, allow your feet to tilt outward, and breathe naturally, relaxing your whole body.

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Be sure to join our virtual yoga sessions live on Zoom, taught by Evelyn Abruzzo, Certified Yoga Instructor. Click here to register for the yoga class taking place on Thursday, June 3 at 10:00 am. You can also access Evelyn’s videos to do yoga on your own on our website here.