Discover Yoga’s Most Surprising Flexibility Secret
Yoga gets skipped because people think they have to be pretzels to do it!
In reality yoga is just the reverse. It simply starts with you and wherever your body is, and gradually helps you increase your range of motion keeping your body young and flexible.
As seniors age, this becomes a big reality when they bend down to tie their shoes, or kneel to pick something up. If they have exercised and stayed flexible everything still works. If not, even simple tasks become a big deal. Staying flexible is definitely worth cultivating, whoever and wherever you are.
Along with the flexibility, yoga brings calmness, increases muscle strength, sharpens balance skills and improves posture. It also often helps offload a huge amount of stress.
With those kinds of credentials, yoga is really worth the effort. Watch a class or talk to an instructor and then try a class. Or if you have already tried it, do a few poses and slip back into the groove.
Health.com suggests a few simple beginning poses.
Mountain Pose – Stand tall, feet together, eyes closed. If you are stiff separate your feet slightly. Let arms rest at sides, fingers together. Or you can lay on your back with the soles of your feet pressed up against a wall. It will feel like you are standing, but your lower back will get a slight stretch.
Child’s Pose – This is a resting pose that is often used in between other more challenging poses. Start with your knees and tops of your feet on the floor with feet together and touching. With knees apart rest your belly and chest between the legs. Place your head on the floor and stretch your arms out in front of you. If your head does not reach the floor you can use a yoga block or pillow.
Fitness suggests Downward Dog – Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders, knees under hips. Walk hands a few inches forward and spread out fingers pressing palms into mat. Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward the ceiling creating an inverted V, pressing shoulders away from ears. Feet are hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold for three full breaths.
Tree Pose –stand with arms at side. Shift weight onto left leg and place sole of foot inside left thigh, or slightly lower if that is difficult. Keep hips facing forward. Once balanced bring hands together in prayer position. Inhale and extend arms up palms separated and facing each other. Hold for 30 seconds. For beginners getting their balance stand next to a wall using a hand to steady the body until balance is established.