As you get older, for most people, it becomes more and more difficult to get to the gym and the same goes for practicing some yoga poses. But this does not mean that you can’t be able to keep your physical health in check.
As it turns out, as people withdraw from yoga because of old age, it becomes more difficult for them to find efficient yoga classes. This in turn leaves an untapped pool of potential clients just because not many yoga teachers know how to go about teaching seniors.
Teaching yoga to seniors, as turns out has a myriad of benefits to them. this includes better sleeping patterns, reduced stress, greater flexibility, mobility, etc. As such, not only will you be growing your career and have a better experience as a teacher but you’ll touch someone else’s life in a way they’ll appreciate.
In this post, we’ll have a deeper look at how to become a yoga instructor for seniors. Additionally, we’ll also be covering the different types of yoga for seniors as well as the necessary equipment you’ll need for each session.
Yoga For Seniors: Know The Best Types Of Yoga For Your Audience
Mobility and flexibility deteriorate with age. Now, as much as yoga is aimed at improving flexibility, it is just as good as far as relaxing the mind is concerned. However, some yoga practices are a little too complex for the seniors which makes it rather difficult to figure out what is more efficient.
Since you don’t want to do more harm than good, here are some of the yoga practices that’ll be resourceful.
You have to consider the fact that your audience is not as flexible as you. Because of this, you’ll have to incorporate movements that are as friendly as possible. With this form of yoga, emphasis is normally on proper form.
Whereas the movements may seem easy, they’ll be quite a challenge at old age. As such, this form of yoga encourages the use of different props such as straps, blocks, bolsters, and incline boards. With Iyengar yoga, the students will be able to get into different kinds of poses meaning even seniors with arthritis can get the benefits of yoga.
Since yoga is meant to put the mind at ease just as well as it relaxes the body, you’ll have to incorporate some kind of meditative yoga.
Restorative yoga is targeted toward having the senior in a meditative state while incorporating slow movements. Thankfully, with the use of props to support themselves, it will be possible to hold a pose for even as long as 10 minutes.
For an audience that wants to nurture relaxation and contentment, this is the way to go. In a nutshell, this form of yoga aims at the passive relieve of tension with little to no stretching involved
Whereas restorative yoga is aimed at improving the mind, Hatha, on the other hand, is a blend of different styles of yoga all of which focus on physical postures.
What most people relate Hatha yoga to in most cases, however, involves a slow-paced form of yoga that incorporates a series of slow and gentle sitting and standing poses. Additionally, these poses are also targeted at stretching and breathing rather than getting their heart rate up as a younger audience would strive to do.
Because of the movements, it focuses on, Hatha yoga is thought of as the best form of yoga for a senior audience.
Just like Hatha Yoga which incorporates different poses and movements, vinyasa yoga is more or less the same.
This is a general term for styles of yoga that focus on matching your breathing to a series of continuous movements. The transition from one movement to another could have you change your pace but more often than not, the poses and movements are, in most cases quick and fluid.
With Vinyasa, much emphasis is given to the poses themselves just as much as it is given to the transitions between the poses.
Some people might compare it to dancing. Because of this, it could prove rather difficult to some seniors but to some, it might not be as physically vigorous.
That form is critical in any kind of yoga you practice. Yin yoga is more or less the same as restorative yoga. it incorporates a slow and meditative form of yoga that focuses on holding poses for a long time.
The only difference between yin and restorative yoga is that for the latter, there are no active stretches whereas, in yin yoga, you’ll have to work into the poses. This in turn works the targeted tissues quite effectively. In the long run, practicing this form of yoga will ease stiffness while improving flexibility.
Otherwise known as the yoga of awareness, this kind of yoga is appealing to the audience that is just as interested in the spiritual benefits of yoga as they are in the physical.
Kundalini yoga, in most cases, combines all aspects of yoga ranging from physical postures and breathing exercises to meditation and chanting.
This could prove to be one of the most challenging forms of yoga for a senior audience. Ashtanga is composed of a predetermined set of poses. What makes it challenging is that you loop through the poses and they have to be performed the same way.
Due to its intense and rather acrobatic nature, it raises the heart rate and overall blood circulation. Difficult as it may seem to be, it stands out to be the best form of yoga for those who need or desire to keep their weight in check.
This form of yoga is unlike what most people are used to. For starters, it is performed in a room that has been heated to 100 degrees and is 40% humid.
The motive behind the heating and humidity is to guarantee the audience sweat as much as possible. The reason for this is to get rid of toxins from the body. Normally, a session could last as much as 90 minutes and have the audience cycle through sequences of as many as 26 poses.
Whereas it will serve quite well in detoxifying the body, overheating is a possibility. As such, if one has low blood pressure or is diagnosed with a heart condition, it’s recommended not to put your audience through this.
Yoga Positions For Beginners Could Be Helpful
There is very little difference between teaching seniors and beginners yoga. This, however, does not mean that the poses will be easy. Normally, beginner yoga poses are targeted at covering every aspect of yoga ranging from meditating and breathing to stretching.
Beginner yoga poses are normally aimed at teaching the basics of yoga by incorporating a set of poses that will give you a decent stretch.
Here are some of what you could consider introducing in your senior classes.
The Tree Poses
This pose is mainly targeted at the lower body. By incorporating this pose in your senior yoga classes, you’ll be able to improve both the balance and strength of your audience. It is understandable if most of them are unable to get this pose right with the first session in which case the use of props is encouraged; it can also be done while sitting
Cat And Cow Position
As much as it is one of the easiest poses for senior audiences to achieve, it just so happens to be one of the best when spine flexibility is a priority. To add icing to the cake, the cat-cow pose also serves to strengthen the muscles and, in the event, that mobility is an issue, you can always do the pose in a chair.
Downward Frog Pose
With the downward-facing frog position, more emphasis is on opening up the chest while at the same time stretching your lower body and lower back. It might sometimes be a little difficult to hold the pose while getting the stretch in. If this is an issue, you could have your audience on their forearms rather than the palms and the same applies to anyone who has wrist problems.
The Warrior 1
Aimed at opening up the ups and chest while strengthening your thighs, calves, and ankles, it’s highly recommended that you don’t leave this out. It could be a little difficult for the senior audience to reach up in which case you can have them place their hands on their hips.
This is more of a resting position which at the same time incorporates stretches that make the spine, hips, and lower back healthier. Additionally, this is a good way to ease your mind, relax the body and relieve some tension.
Whereas the child’s pose improves your spine flexibility, the triangle pose targets the hips and hamstrings more.
Besides just that, what makes it stand out more is that it can be used to relieve slow digestion while relieving lower back pain.
Plank pose involves having the audience in a push-up pose where they don’t lower themselves. They could be on their palms or their forearms. As such, you get improved core stability while improving your upper body strength.
To wrap it all up, getting started with how to become a yoga instructor for seniors should be more straightforward now. To familiarize your audience with yoga, you could start with the beginner poses and then ease them into the different types of yoga.
Don’t ignore the importance of props with the senior audience. Additionally, try to be as gentle since they’re not as flexible as they were when younger.
You could incorporate short rests between sessions and get to know them personally as you spend more time with them. This way, you’ll be able to know the limits of each one of them.