International Day of Yoga is a celebration of the physical and mental benefits of yoga and its contribution to well-being and life-long health. The Practice of yoga comes in many forms. From high-intensity stretch and strength to low-impact and relaxing, depending on what you feel like. It’s mostly a gentle and low-impact form of exercise that can be beneficial in numerous ways. In this blog, we’ll explore the many benefits of Yoga and suggest Yoga activities that all ages and abilities can enjoy.
Benefits of Yoga
From improving flexibility and balance to reducing stress and anxiety, yoga can help people lead happier and healthier lives. Some find that practising Yoga improves their sleeping habits, and their mood and relieves chronic pain. The best part of Yoga is versatility. Exercises can be done through online courses, face to face and there are even phone apps you can use.
Steps for injury prevention
Before starting any sort of new physical exercise, it’s important to understand your limitations. Yoga is meant to be a gentle and enjoyable practice so if you begin to feel pain or become uncomfortable it’s better to stop.
Here are our top tips:
- Don’t choose a class or exercise that is too hard, there’s no shame in being a beginner.
- Avoid poses that make you uncomfortable.
- Modify your poses to suit your ability.
- Don’t push it. Just because everyone else is doing longer, harder stretches doesn’t mean you have to.
- Remember – it’s all about your body, your mind, and what feels good for you.
An adapted Yoga practice, Chair Yoga enables you to stay seated while you do poses. Best for those with mobility limitations, however, this form of Yoga can be performed by anyone. For these exercises, any chair will do, as long as it doesn’t have wheels and is comfortable.
- Sit on a chair with the spine long and both feet on the floor. Place your hands on your knees or on your lap.
- On an inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back, drawing your shoulder blades onto your back. This is Cow Position.
- Allow your arms to hang loose, and on an exhale, round your spine and drop your chin to your chest, letting the shoulder and head come forward. This is Cat Position.
- Continue moving between Cow on the inhalations and Cat on the exhalations for five breaths.
- Starting in the sitting position, take a deep breath. As you inhale, lift your arms out to the sides, then raise your hands up to meet above your head.
- Interlock your fingers, keeping your pointer fingers and thumbs out, so you’re pointing at the ceiling directly over your head.
- As you exhale, roll your shoulders away from your ears, letting your shoulder blades slide down your back. This will engage the shoulders.
- Continue to take deep and even breaths as you settle in here, taking at least 5 deep breaths before you release your clasped hands on an exhale and let your arms gently float back to your sides.
Check out more poses in our Guide to Positive Ageing
- Stand at the top of your mat. If you don’t have a mat, just make sure you’re on a non-slip surface with no socks. Place your feet hip-width apart and align the edges of your feet just a little wider than your hips, facing forward
- Take your hands behind your back and interlace your fingers. If you cannot reach, use a strap or a towel to make this connection. Begin reaching your interlaced hands behind you so you open up the front of your chest. Keeping the abdomen engaged, begin to arch your upper back as if you are curling it over a ball.
- Feel a stretch along the front of the chest and between your shoulder blades. Hold for 5 breaths.
- Stand at the top of your mat with your feet together. Hold onto your strap or towel with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Stand upright and engage your abdomen.
- Reach your arms overhead and bend your body to the right. Feel a stretch along your left side. Hold for 5 breaths. Then repeat on your second side.
Why not try something new this International Yoga Day? When done correctly, Yoga can be hugely beneficial. If none of these poses suit you, try searching for online Yoga tutorials where you can be guided through the whole process.