The Transformative Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

The Transformative Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

Embracing the Golden Years - By Kevin Phillip Franklin

Reading time: 5 minutes

I am 63 years of age, I’ve been in and out of fitness all my life like most people.  Never really stuck on or resonated with anything in particular, I’ve had health challenges, most recently being diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2019, having the op to remove my bladder and prostate in 2020 – I have a stoma bag and although a challenge with some poses, I haven’t let it affect my enjoyment of yoga.

I took up yoga in 2021 as I wanted to explore ways to increase my stamina and flexibility. Things were tough getting back to fitness following the Op and I think it took me about 6 months to be able to walk a few miles.  I looked at nutrition and developed a day-by-day plan to work my way back to fitness.  My kids helped me as for many months I had tubes coming out of my body and I didn’t look or feel particularly good in myself, I wasn’t ready for people to see me and much of my walking, in those early days, was done in the evenings.  Motivation wise, it was my dog Daisy, and specifically her puppy dog eyes which dragged me out on my walk ‘around the block’.

Gradually my fitness improved, 2 years later I’m probably the fittest I’ve ever been, just returned from a marvellous yoga retreat to Kerala in India, with my now good friend, Claire Wilkinson,  I would just like to mention here, if you find it difficult to join a local yoga group/class contact Claire as she has over 100 online lessons available for you to try – who knows you may be even inspired to join one of her retreats.!!

If you anything like me as you get older, prioritising your health and well-being becomes paramount. I have been practicing yoga for around 18 months and subscribe to the notion that growing old gracefully involves nurturing both the body and mind, and yoga has become increasingly popular for its transformative effects. Far beyond a trendy fitness craze, yoga has emerged as a timeless companion for seniors, offering a myriad of physical, mental, and emotional benefits that contribute to a fulfilling and vibrant life.

Enhanced Flexibility and Joint Health:

Yoga is a gentle yet powerful tool for improving flexibility and maintaining joint health. As we age, the body naturally tends to stiffen, and joints can become less flexible. The gentle stretches and poses in yoga help lubricate joints, alleviate stiffness, and promote overall flexibility, making day-to-day movements easier and more comfortable.  My daughter is amazed that I can touch my toes with ease!!

Strength Building for Stability:

Aging can sometimes bring challenges related to muscle strength and balance.  I am so much stronger that when I started.  Yoga poses not only enhance muscle strength but also focus on improving balance and stability – I still struggle with the balance poses but I’m getting better.  You will notice that as you improve your balance and stability it will help in preventing falls and also help your confidence and independence.


Stress Reduction and Mental Clarity:

The tranquil nature of yoga, coupled with its emphasis on mindful breathing, serves as a powerful stressbuster.  I’m still working and have a fairly stressful job, so I’ve found that navigating the complexities of life, practicing yoga provides a sanctuary for mental peace and clarity. It’s so relaxing on a Friday to lie on the mat and let the stresses of the week evaporate.

The meditative aspects of yoga, we often do breathe work and meditation during my practice, have been shown to reduce anxiety, enhance mood, and contribute to overall mental well-being.

Improved Respiratory Function:

As we age, respiratory function can decline. Yoga's emphasis on controlled breathing exercises, known as pranayama, enhances lung capacity and promotes better respiratory health. Improved breathing not only energises the body but also supports cognitive function and mental alertness.

Heart Health and Circulation:

Yoga encourages a healthy heart by promoting circulation and lowering blood pressure. The combination of gentle movement and mindful breathing supports cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart-related issues that can become more prevalent in older age.

Community and Social Connection:

Joining a yoga class provides more than just physical benefits; it creates a sense of community and social connection. Building relationships with like-minded individuals fosters a supportive environment, combating feelings of isolation that can sometimes accompany aging.  I’m often the only guy in my yoga group so regularly become the ‘honorary lady’ for our coffee mornings.  Guys are often in the minority at yoga classes but please don’t let this put you off from starting.

Adaptable and Inclusive:

One of the remarkable aspects of yoga is its adaptability. Whether you're a seasoned yogi or a beginner, there are modifications and variations for every pose. It’s not what you look like it how you feel.  Yoga can be tailored to accommodate various fitness levels, making it accessible and inclusive for seniors with different abilities.

In conclusion, yoga can be a guiding light for seniors navigating the path of aging. Its holistic approach, addressing both the physical and mental aspects of well-being, makes it a valuable companion on the journey to embracing and savouring the ‘golden years’. So, unroll that yoga mat, take a deep breath, and embark on a transformative journey toward a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.  Happy to connect, especially with senior guys who may be a little bit unsure about whether yoga is for them.

See you on the mat!!

Kevin Philip Franklin


I'm 63 years of age, senior Yogi originally practicing to keep fit after a major life saving op. Hoping to inspire others to take up yoga.