Before you get too excited, you should know that yoga can’t stop your body from becoming old nor can it erase the wrinkles and fine lines. However, what it can do is make you feel young, vibrant, and youthful from the inside. Yoga is an inner science and does not concern itself with how you look. Instead, it concentrates on how you feel, both physically and mentally, since they are intrinsically linked.
How Yoga Combats Aging
Strengthens Your Spine: As you age, your spine begins to lose flexibility which is why you find it hard to bend or play sports. Practicing yoga gently strengthens back muscles and releases tension in the shoulders.
Improves Memory: You brain cells begin to die as you age. Recent research conducted by the University of California proved that yoga and meditation are more effective for fighting the early signs of Alzheimer’s than memory enhancement exercises.
Relieves Stress: Retirement is not magically going to make all your stress disappear and aging can make it difficult to cope. Yoga works on the physical, emotional, and energy level to bring about a sense of balance within you.
Organ Health: Aging affects not your muscles and bones but your organs too. Yoga poses, especially the inverted ones, massage your internal organs and helps detoxify them.
If you want to age and not lose any of your youthful energy, here are 7 yoga poses that you can practice regularly to defy the process of aging. If you’re a beginner, it’s always advisable to start your yoga practice under the supervision of an experienced teacher.
1. Forward Bend Pose
This pose is great for warming up for your joints and muscles.as your move on to other poses.
- Stand with your feet together, toes forward, and knees slightly bent. Relax your arms at your sides, palms in.
- Lift your chest and roll your shoulders back and down. Look straight ahead and breathe deeply for 1 minute.
- Inhale and raise your arms out to the side (palms up) until overhead. Exhale and bend forward from the hips, keeping your arms extended in front of you as your hands reach down to touch the shins, feet, or floor (as shown).
- Hold for 15 seconds. Inhale and rise, bringing your arms overhead; exhale and lower arms to sides. Repeat B three times.
2. Tree Pose
The tree pose improves your balance and add strength to your legs, glutes, and abs.
- Stand with your feet together, toes forward. Place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left thigh, your calf (not on the knee joint) or the inside of your ankle, with the toes of your right foot lightly touching the floor.
- Place your hands in prayer position in front of your chest and look straight ahead. Hold for 15 seconds.
- Inhale and extend arms overhead, keeping your hands together (or keep your hands in front of your chest). Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Exhale and lower your arms and leg. Repeat, balancing on the right leg.
3. Warrior Pose
The warrior pose strengthens and stretches glutes, legs, abs, and arms.
- Stand with your feet apart, right foot pointing to side and left foot turned in slightly. Keep your torso facing forward.
- Exhale and bend your right knee. Inhale and raise your arms out to the side. Turn your head to the right and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
4. Plank Pose
This pose works your upper body and core strength, both of which can decline as we age.
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with spine upright. If you find yourself uncomfortable or slouching, try placing a folded blanket, cushion or yoga block or bolster under your hips.
- Inhale and sit up as straight as possible. On the exhale, twist gently to the right, starting the movement from the base of the spine and letting it flow upward.
- As you move, place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind you for balance. Move the head last and only as far as it can comfortably go without strain.
- On each inhale, lengthen the spine – you will likely move slightly out of the twist. On each exhale, gently twist deeper.
- Return to center on an inhale, then repeat on the left, making sure to switch the crossing of your legs first.
5. Downward Dog Pose
This versatile pose strengthens the spine and improves circulation to the brain while increasing flexibility.
- Come onto your fours and form a table with your body. As you breathe out lift the hips up, straightening the knees and elbows, form an inverted V-shape with the body.
- Hands are shoulder width apart, feet are hip width apart and parallel to each other. Toes point straight ahead.
- Press your hands into the ground. Widen through the shoulder blades. Keep the neck lengthened by touching the ears to the inner arms.
- Hold the downward dog pose and take long deep breaths. Look towards the navel.
- Exhale. Bend the knees, return to table pose. Relax.
6. Sphinx Pose
The Sphinx gives you better posture and lower back strength. It stretches the chest, back, and arms.
- Lie face-down on a mat, with your legs together, elbows tucked along sides and forearms and hands pointing forward.
- Inhale and press your palms and forearms down as you lift your chest and head, drawing your ears away from your shoulders, keeping your elbows under your shoulders (as shown).
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Exhale and relax down to the mat. Repeat.
7. Seated Twist
This pose improves flexibility and releases tension in your spine and hips
- Sit cross-legged with your arms extended so your fingertips touch the mat on either side of your hips. Inhale, lengthening your spine and lifting your arms overhead.
- Exhale and twist gently to the right, lower your left hand to your outer right thigh and your right hand behind you. Look over your right shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
- With each inhalation, lengthen the spine; with each exhalation, twist a little farther. On an exhalation, return to the center, and repeat, twisting to the left.