6 yoga poses that keep you healthy no matter your age
As we age, a lot of things change—from our daily activities to how we operate in the world. But when you take an active role in living your most healthy life, your physical and mental well-being don’t have to take a hit as you age.
To keep your mind and body in their best shape, you just need to hit the mat—the yoga mat!
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that helps you stretch, strengthen, and improve your flexibility. You can do it just about anywhere and anytime making it one of the most accessible exercises out there.
We asked Nava Dabby, Modo Yoga Teacher & COO of Modo Yoga International, to guide us through a few poses that will help you feel your best in your body—whether you’re 26 or 62! “Yoga is an easy way to keep the body lubricated and mobile, while also providing the brain with an opportunity to reset and retune, in a very hectic world.”
1. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Savasana is arguably the most important yoga pose of all—it’s a precursor to mediation and requires one to lay still. It is often used at the start and end of practice for grounding. Pausing at any time of the day is important for your mental health and the practice of Savasana is a digestible way for most to take that time and space. Hold for a minimum of 5 minutes.
To practice traditional Savasana, lay on your back with your legs a mat width apart, arms wide, and palms facing up.
If lying on the back is not accessible, Savasana can be practiced seated on the floor or in a chair.
2. Warrior Series (Virabhadrasana)
The Warrior series is a sequence of poses that builds full-body strength. It is easily modified for all bodies, including those with limited mobility. Warrior 1, Warrior 2, and Triangle pose form an important trifecta of poses to build leg strength, stamina and focus. Hold each posture for 30 seconds up to several minutes.
- Warrior 1:
- Feet are hip distance apart, one foot steps 2-3 feet behind the other as if side to side on train tracks.
- Hips remain forward, chest is drawn up towards the chin, arms up overhead fingers point to the sky.
- Warrior 2:
- From Warrior 1, back foot walks open 2 more feet and back foot toes point to the side (perpendicular to front leg).
- Hips can follow the open back leg, front arm reaches forward and back arm reaches back in the same line.
- Eyes and neck in the direction of the front arm.
- From Warrior 2, shift the upper body back towards the back foot, lower the front ribs towards the outstretched front leg, and allow the front arm to press into the front leg.
- Back arm reaches up and away from the floor.
- Modify by bending the front knee.
3. Powerful Pose (Utkatasana)
This important posture is easy to modify and builds leg strength and stamina. Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- Stand with feet either together or at a hip-width distance.
- Draw your hips back in line with your heels as if sitting in a chair for a squat.
- Draw hands to touch at the chest or reach all fingertips forward away from the body for balance.
4. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
This pose is perfect for building core and glute strength. It is great for those who spend a lot of time seated in front of a computer or reading, making it wonderful for office workers everywhere. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat several times.
- Lay on your back with the knees bent, feet hip-width apart but tucked in close to your buttocks.
- Press hands into the floor alongside the body and lift the hips away from the floor.
- Squeeze the inner line of the legs in towards one another as you keep lifting the hips.
- Option to draw hands to touch underneath and lift higher.
5. Pigeon Pose (Eka Kapotasana)
Hip openers are essential especially for mobility as we grow older. Pigeon pose and its variants stretch the piriformis muscle at the back of the thigh. Hold for 1-5 minutes at a minimum on each side.
- For the traditional pigeon pose, start in a tabletop position.
- Draw one knee towards the same side hand and open the foot to the opposite hand any amount.
- Extend the back leg straight behind you and level the hips forward.
- Stay upright on the arms or lean the chest forward for a more intense stretch.
- Switch sides.
Note: With knee issues, practice deer pose:
- From a seated position bring both feet to the center, touching your feet together.
- Swing one leg behind you, so the opposite foot is touching the opposite knee.
- Both feet should be at a 90° angle, but you can adjust as much as you need in order to keep your knees comfortable.
- Hold for 3-5 minutes and repeat on the other side.
6. Seated twist (Marichyasana)
Twisting is a movement that we use a lot during the day but often without intention. Support your stabilizer muscles by practicing this posture on either side. Hold for 1-3 minutes on each side.
- Start in a seated position with legs crossed.
- For a basic twist turn the chest and land the hands and hold.
- For a more advanced twist, bend one knee and hug it to your chest, foot still on the ground close to the body.
- Turn into the knee and stabilize with the hands.
- Switch sides.
The next time you find yourself with a bit of free time, grab a yoga mat—or a space on a carpet!—and experience the mental and physical benefits that yoga provides.
Please always check with a medical professional to ensure these strategies are right for you.
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