A healthy mind and body will thank you when you hit your thirties. The moment you hit 18, your body tends to go downhill – it may not be as noticeable in your twenties or thirties, but your forties will reveal a body that is losing its balance, flexibility and strength.
Yoga is one of the best exercises that can be performed by people of all ages. The trick is to find the right types of yoga to utilize which best suits your abilities. Thanks to the low-impact moves that come with yoga, you get to stay flexible and build strength while at the same time aging better!
Before embarking on yoga however, it’s important to have a good understanding of what your body needs. For example, if you have health issues it’s best to take those health issues into consideration before embarking on a particular type of yoga.
There are a number of yoga poses to help you keep fit going into your retirement including:
Straight Forward Bend
With the straight forward bend, you stand in front of your mat with your feet hip width apart. Gently bring your right arm up and stretch your right side for a few seconds before switching to your left side. You will then hinge forward from your hips and slowly bring your chest towards your knees. Slightly bend your knees and hold your elbows with opposite hands. Shake your head gently for a few seconds and maintain that position for at least 45 second before slowly standing back up.
The tree pose helps improve your balance, making this pose great for fall prevention. To begin, stand with your legs together and your arms (with the palms together) straight over your head. Gently raise your right leg off the ground and let your heel touch the inside part of your ankle while leaving the toes on the ground. Keep this position for as long as possible, ideally 20 – 30 seconds before switching to the other leg. If you find this pose is a little taxing, you could hold onto something for support.
With time, you will find that your balance improves, and when it does you can opt to modify the pose by letting the sole of your raised foot rest on the inside of the lower leg. Gradually, you will find that you are able to perform this pose with your foot resting on the inside of the opposite leg above your knee.
This pose will help improve your bone density and your lower body strength. In addition, it will help stretch your groin, inner thighs and hips. To begin, stand with your feet hip width apart and your arms straight at your side. Turn to the right and with your heels in line, step your right foot out approximately 3 – 4 feet wide. Turn your right foot out at a 90 degree angle.
Slowly raise your arms straight to the sides as you inhale and after a few seconds, bend your right leg until your thigh is parallel with the floor while ensuring that your left leg remains straight. Hold this pose for 30 seconds while concentrating on your breath before switching to the other leg.
The squat pose will help you develop strong thigh muscles. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Ensure that you keep your feet and knees together. Bring yourself to a sitting position as if you are about to sit on a chair. Be sure to only “sit” as far as you can comfortably go while still retaining your balance. At the same time, don’t be afraid to challenge your muscles.
To help balance better, you can reach your arms straight out in front. If you are comfortable with balancing in this pose, you can change things up by placing your feet hip width apart. Ensure that your knees are pointed in the same direction as your toes while also ensuring that they are not caving outward. Go as far as you can with your spine erect.
For the low lunge pose, stand with your legs hip width apart and your arms at your sides. Bring your right foot forward while bending your knee such that it’s directly over your ankle. Ensure that your left leg remains straight behind you with the knee or shin resting on the ground. You can also place a towel under your back leg to increase comfort.
Press your fingers or hands onto the floor to the side of your right heel while ensuring that your upper body is lifted. Maintain this position for 20 seconds as you concentrate on your breath. Bring yourself back to a standing position then switch legs.
The poses above should help you enjoy a healthier, more flexible body as you enter retirement!
This article was written by our friends over at the Rosedale Wellness Centre in Toronto. They are one of Toronto’s leading full-service wellness centers, providing a variety of services including Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Physiotherapy and more.
All images taken from YogaJournal.com.