World Yoga Day is celebrated annually on June 21 and this year marks the 10th International Yoga Day. Ageing brings a unique set of challenges, including reduced mobility, joint pain and increased risk of chronic diseases since as we age, maintaining physical health and mental well-being becomes increasingly important.

People perform yoga during the ‘Naye Drishtikon Wala Shivir’ programme organised by Sun to Human Foundation, at Munjani Farm Ground, Singanpor Road, in Surat. International Day of Yoga 2024: Safe and effective poses for older adults (ANI Photo/Ashok Munjani )

However, engaging in regular physical activity can help mitigate these issues by improving flexibility, strength and overall vitality. It can also enhance mental clarity and emotional stability, which are crucial for maintaining a high quality of life in our later years.

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Yoga: More Than Just Physical Exercise

In an interview with HT Lifestyle ahead of International Day of Yoga 2024, Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, Founder of Akshar Yoga Kendraa, shared, “Yoga, with its roots in ancient India, offers a holistic approach to health that goes beyond mere physical exercise. It combines postures, breathwork, and meditation to promote overall well-being.”

He added, “For seniors, Yoga is particularly beneficial as it is an exercise that can be adapted to suit various fitness levels and health conditions. Unlike high-intensity workouts, yoga focuses on gentle movements and mindful breathing, making it accessible and safe for older adults.” Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar recommended the following safe and effective poses for older adults –

  1. Balanced Approach: Flexibility and Breathwork: While flexibility is a key component of Yoga, it is essential for seniors to avoid overexertion. Overstretching can lead to injuries, so it’s important to focus on safe, effective postures and proper breathing techniques. Breathwork, or Pranayama, enhances the benefits of physical poses by improving oxygen flow, reducing stress, and fostering a sense of calm.
  2. Healing Walk: The Healing Walk involves walking with hands raised above the head keeping elbows straight. This simple yet powerful exercise enhances internal communication within the body, decreases neck muscle rigidity and increases neck flexibility. It is particularly beneficial for managing blood pressure and ear-related issues. Additionally, walking barefoot helps ground the body’s energies, allowing for the discharge of negative charges and promoting a sense of connection to the earth.
  3. Siddha Walk: The Siddha Walk, which involves walking in a pattern of infinity, offers multifaceted benefits. This practice engages all the muscles in the lower limbs, pelvis, and abdomen, promoting strength and coordination. The unique pattern of movement also stimulates cognitive function and enhances balance, making it an excellent exercise for seniors.
  4. Siddhohum Kriya: Siddhohum Kriya is a special 5-step practice designed to harness and connect to universal energies, allowing practitioners to receive the blessings of the universe. This practice integrates breathwork, meditation, and movement to create a powerful tool for spiritual and physical alignment. It helps enhance energy flow, improve mental clarity, and foster a deeper sense of connection to the cosmos.
  5. Mindful Meditation Techniques and Breathwork: Mindful meditation and breathwork are integral components of Yoga that can significantly benefit seniors. These practices involve focusing on the breath and being present in the moment, which can reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and promote emotional stability. Simple techniques such as deep breathing, alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Bhedan Pranayama), and guided visualisation can be easily incorporated into daily routines to enhance overall well-being. Thus, Yoga offers a comprehensive approach to health and well-being for seniors, combining physical postures, breathwork and meditation to address the unique challenges of aging.

By focusing on safe and effective practices like The Healing Walk, Siddha Walk, and Siddhohum Kriya, older adults can improve their physical health, mental clarity and emotional stability. Mindful meditation and breathwork further enhance these benefits, making Yoga an invaluable tool for seniors seeking to maintain a high quality of life.