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6 benefits of Gentle Yoga for older adults

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

I’ve been running a Gentle Yoga class for older adults for around three years now and the ages have ranged between 50 - 75 years old.

There are lots of individual and personal reasons why people attend Yoga, but the majority of my clients were looking to increase mobility and strength, and learn tools to help them relax.

It’s also wonderful to see the group connect with each other. The long-standing members are incredibly welcoming and do a great job of making new people feel at ease. Walking into a Yoga Class or any new group setting can be intimidating, but the atmosphere at the Hub Hazelwell Gentle Yoga class in Kings Heath, is relaxed and inviting.

Alongside the social advantages, here are 6 other benefits of Gentle Yoga for older adults.

  1. Increased Mobility & Strength Maintaining flexibility as we age is very important, so that we can continue to take care of ourselves, easily get about and keep our independence. Inactivity causes the body to stiffen, as we aren’t producing enough synovial fluid to lubricate the joints. More fluid is produced as we move about throughout the day, so regular daily movement is advised! As we age, we lose muscle mass so a gentle strength programme is worth adding into your daily practice. Although this is a gentle class, some Yoga postures do help to build strength over time, as we focus on muscle engagement, balance and sometimes use resistance bands.

  2. Better Balance. Similar to mobility, over time we can start to lose our balance or feel more unsteady on our feet. There are lots of different balancing postures and strengthening movements in Yoga Asana which requires us to pay attention & be more aware of our bodies in space. Once we practice this type of concentration, we become more aware of how we move in general throughout the day, paying attention to our balance. You can introduce simple balance postures into your day; whilst making a cup of tea, waiting for the bus or reaching up to a high shelf.

  3. Improved Memory. Yoga is a practice of concentration (Dharana), of training or disciplining our minds to be present, to focus, to retain good memory. When we engage in a Yoga practice, we’re learning to focus our attention; on our breath, our movements, a spot in front of us and what’s happening in the moment. We are stretching and strengthening the brains muscles and improving memory function.

  4. Reduces Stress. Stress has been linked to cognitive decline and even dementia so the more we can reduce high levels of stress, the better our cognitive function will be. We can’t stop external stressors from happening, but through Yoga we have the tools at hand to try and reduce stress in the body. The more we practice doing this, the easier it becomes.

  5. Better Sleep. When we’re stressed, we often experience disturbed or fragmented sleep patterns. Reducing stress in the brain may help us get a better nights sleep. As we get older, it’s normal to experience a change in sleep patterns as we produce less of the growth hormone, melatonin. If you tend to wake earlier in the morning, being more physical in the day may encourage you to get an earlier nights sleep, and if you have trouble sleeping or getting enough rest due to fragmented sleep, guided relaxations or Yoga Nidra (Yogic sleep which isn't actually the act of sleeping) may help you to feel more rested or provide you with a much needed nap.

  6. Improved Quality of Breathing. Yoga encourages us to focus on our breathing and to take deeper longer breaths, which is important for maintaining the correct function of our respiratory system. The first point I made in this blog was about flexibility and mobility, and the muscles used when we breathe are no exception! As we practice Yoga Asana, we are expanding our ribcage, lengthening our torso and aiming to breathe down to our belly so the diaphragm can fully expand. If we breathe through our nose the air is filtered before it reaches our lungs (reducing pollutants in the lungs) and we take in more oxygen! Have you ever thought about the muscles you use when you breathe and how if you shallow breathe, you aren't allowing your muscles to stretch and engage properly, causing a claustrophobic feeling. If you have an anxiety or stress disorder, this could make you feel worse. However, we don't always realise that we're shallow breathing; this can be down to stress, habitual patterns or tight / restrictive clothing. Our breath is our life and the most important function we have, so let's aim to improve it (through Yoga!)

Gentle Yoga for older adults is located at

Hub Hazelwell, Vicarage Road, Kings Heath.

Wednesdays 11:15am - 12:15pm.

The sessions are run on a block booking basis, during term time. Dates and more information can be found on my website....

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