A selection of sports with detailed descriptions and videos

Yoga is an ancient teaching that can be carried out  at all ages.  Seniors and the elderly especially benefit from the stretching and relaxation exercises of yoga and meditation, which this Indian doctrine offers.

Anyone who believes that yoga is only for younger people, is wrong. Anyone who has seen the ancient yogis in India knows that you can practice yoga even at an old age. Of course, the ancient Indian yogis are exceptions, practicing yoga for decades and at times exercising  extremely, yet it still can be practiced/start to be practiced anytime with proper instructions.

Yoga provides a holistic system of physical exercises, breathing and relaxation techniques for  the body and its functions to regenerate. Yoga is therefore particularly well suited  for seniors because it maintains and improves the physical agility and coordination and keeps you mentally fit at the same time. The muscles and tendons are strengthened through yoga and hence help the body maintain  a more natural posture, which affects especially the back -  any existing back pain can sometimes disappear completely. Additionally it offers the meditative exercise for relaxation and for more serenity in everyday life. A little comparable to Pilates, Yoga therefore promotes health, vitality and well-being for body and mind.

Yoga promotes flexibility, heart and circulation and relieves tension. Muscle strength is maintained and developed, which has a positive effect on the spine and joints.[1] Yoga promotes balance, coordination and concentration, improves circulation and affects the internal organs including digestion. Especially for rheumatism, joint and/or back problems or arthritis yoga can help  to relieve symptoms.

Classes are offered in many gymnastic and sports clubs. Many community colleges offer courses in yoga for older people. But do not feel intimidated – you can start with these simple exercises easily at home, just make sure, you follow your own need and possibility.


Exercise 1. The position of the triangle

Lift your arms to shoulder height.  Turn your upper body to the right, as far as you are comfortably able.  Then point your right arm towards your toes. You do not need to touch your toes - the elbow, knee or lower leg is more than enough for a start. The left arm  moves up and points towards the ceiling.

For the position of the yoga triangle, it is important that both arms are straight and the hip points parallel to the front. Buttocks, legs and stomach  are equally tense. Your feet should be firmly on the ground. Remember to breathe during the exercise!

The triangle is held for about one minute. After the exercise go back to the original position in reverse order.

Repeat the exercise on the left side.

The aim of this yoga exercise is to train your balance, support the expansion of the upper body and inner legs  and strengthen  certain muscles (legs, buttocks and abdomen).

Exercise 2.

Forward Bending  (Paschimotthanasana)

To start with: your feet are closed. First of all, stretch yourself up, and hold a stable body position. Your back and abdominal muscles are tense. Now slowly bend forward, by moving your upper body only. Feel your spine moving, whilst you slowly move towards your toes. When carrying out the 'Forward Bending' it is important  that the back of the legs are straight and stretched. You do not need to touch the ground. It’s more important that  you feel the stretching in your legs. You can support yourself by holding on to your calves  or your ankles.

Remain in this position for a few seconds and breathe in deeply.

The aim of the 'Forward Bending' Yoga exercise is to stretch and strengthen the back of your legs. In addition, the lower back is stretched and mobilised. By training your back and your legs in this way, you can compensate for the contraction of muscles caused by the stresses of daily life (e.g. sitting).

If you do the yoga exercise frequently, you'll notice that you will be able to reach the ground easier .

Exercise 3. Yoga Tree

Shift your weight to one leg; your second leg  should now be free to move.  Remove the free leg slowly from the ground, stretch it slightly forward and raise it, bending it toward the inside of the leg you are standing on. Now with your hand, take hold  of this leg on the outside of the ankle . The other arm is stretched vertically upwards and is used for balancing. Now bring the leg to the groin of the supporting leg. Try to stop using the arm here, if possible and try to hold  this balance. The leg is bent a little.  Keep  a good tension in your buttocks and abdominal muscles and try to breathe calmly and deeply.

Version 1 (tree advanced): If you manage a stable position, try to remove your hand from the ankle and put both hands together in front of the chest or straighten your arms upward.

The tree is a holistic practice of yoga. Its aim is to train a sense of balance. Due to the opening position of the hip during the balance,  hip muscles are stretched.


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