Sunday, 24 July 2016

Yoga for seniors - keeping your heart healthy

Yoga is great for maintaining heart health.  Please see 'How yoga boosts heart health' - for a yoga video to practice and a blog post on how yoga can help keep your heart healthy.
Please note this video is not intended for you if you have heart problems. You should work with a yoga teacher on a more personal level.  

Please see also the wellness blog 40plusandalliswell 'Love your heart'- where we look at lifestyle factors that will make for a healthy heart.

If you need a more gentle practice try the following practice which will help relieve stress, and increase circulation. Always check with your doctor if you have any health problems before practicing yoga.  

You will need a chair, and a bolster or folded up blanket.

Start with a few rounds of Egyptian Salutation which is a more gentle version of Sun Salutation but it still has all the benefits of Sun Salutation.  You will find the sequence in the 'Yoga pose gallery' Move with your breath and play some meditative music if you wish as practice the sequence then lie back on your mat to receive the benefits of your movements.  

Shoulder Bridge - bend your knees and bring your heels towards your buttocks.  Breathe in, lift your hips, take your arm overhead, breathe out bring your arms back down by your sides, release your spine down.  Repeat several times working with your breath.
Cat/Cow variation - roll onto your right side and come up then come onto all fours.  Breathe in lift your head and chest, breathe out arch your back and take your bottom back to your heels.  Breathe in, bend your elbows out to the sides come forward and lift your head and chest and continue moving with your breath in smooth, flowing movements.  
Supported Sphinx Pose - place a bolster or a folded blanket under your hips and come onto your forearms so that your elbows are directly below your shoulders.  Inch your feet back so that you have a even back bend throughout your spine and are not feeling any pinching in the 

Triangle - stand in the middle of the mat and step the feet a leg length apart. Turn the right leg out and the left foot in 45 degrees.  Ladies should align their heel, men should align front heel to back instep.  Bring your hands to your heart then on a breath in stretch your arms wide and lift your chest.  Breathe out and shift your hips to the left and you extend over your right leg, bringing your hand to rest on your ankle, shin or thigh.  If you are very flexible you can bring your hand down to the floor behind the right foot.  Your gaze can be up at your right thumb if your neck allows, or down at your right big toe. If you have neck issues, you may also want to place your top hand on your hips. If you have high blood pressure keep  your gaze on your big toe and bring your top hand to your hip. To come out of the pose, breathe in and windmill your arms up, breathe out turn your feet to face forward and your hands to heart centre. Repeat second side.

Legs up the wall variation - lie back on the mat with your legs on the chair seat.  You can place your blanket on the chair if that is more comfortable for you.  Your arms can be by your sides or overhead.   You may stay here several minutes watching your breath.  When you are ready to come out, roll onto your right side and stay there a minute. Come up slowly.

Yoga Nidra-(yogic sleep-a deep relaxation)- please see 'Yoga nidra' on my You Tube channel

Janet x

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