Yoga for Seniors

Yoga for Seniors

A practice that adapts the ancient discipline to the abilities and needs of older adults, senior yoga offers an array of benefits, both physical and mental. By Kristina Rihanoff

Reading time: 4 minutes

My experience in creating the inclusive wellbeing centre SooYoga was deeply personal and inspired by my mother, who at 67 years old, embodied the very essence of vitality and resilience that I wished to share with others.

During my training in yoga for seniors, I encountered a diverse group of individuals, including those caring for ageing parents with disabilities and nurses from care homes. It became apparent that there was a profound need for an accessible yoga practice – one that I found in chair yoga.

Chair yoga* is a transformative practice that belies its gentle nature. It offers the same benefits as traditional yoga: muscle toning, increased flexibility, reduced stress levels, enhanced sleep quality, and an overall sense of wellbeing. I like to focus mostly on breath work to induce relaxation, paired with stretching exercises to nurture the body. Pretty much all classic poses can be modified on the chair, including warriors and downward dog.

Utilising props, like small Pilates balls, straps and blocks, the practice is varied and engaging. Students often express a sense of accomplishment post-class, feeling they have indeed worked their bodies while respecting their individual capacities. This is the core of senior yoga – it is a practice tailored to one's own limits, always emphasising personal comfort and safety.



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The versatility of chair yoga also ensures that classes remain fresh and stimulating. Conditioning work for the upper body is incorporated, providing a comprehensive workout. Yet, it’s not just about physical activity; it’s about creating a space where the mind can find peace. Each session concludes with a meditation, reinforcing the healing power of yoga, making it accessible to everyone, regardless of age or physical condition.

Senior yoga is more than an exercise — it's a celebration of what the body can do at any age. It's about honouring the journey of ageing, not as a process of decline but as an opportunity for growth and discovery. By adapting and embracing the rich traditions of yoga to the senior community, we improve health, bring greater joy and a deeper connection of body and mind that truly enhances wellbeing.

Experience a free chair yoga class with Kristina Rihanoff at: wellnessacademy.kartra. com/page/workfromhomeclass

Yoga for Seniors

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.