Falls are a major concern for the elderly population. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among adults aged 65 and older. Falls can also lead to serious injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, and even death. This is where yoga comes in. Here are 5 yoga poses that can improve balance and prevent falls of the elderly.
Yoga can help prevent falls in the elderly by improving balance, strength, flexibility, and overall physical fitness. Balance is a key component of fall prevention. Yoga improves strength and flexibility, which can help to prevent falls by making it easier for seniors to get up from a seated position or to catch themselves if they begin to fall.
In addition to physical benefits, yoga also has mental and emotional benefits that can help to prevent falls. It helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which can lead to an increased risk of falls. Yoga also helps to improve focus and concentration, which can help seniors to better navigate their environment and avoid hazards.
“Your hand-eye coordination and motor coordination can both be enhanced through yoga. Your upper and lower bodies will now be better connected, which will improve your balance and control,” says Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar, a yoga instructor and the founder of Akshar Yoga Institutions. Here are 5 yoga poses suggested by Akshar to improve balance in elderly.
Yoga asanas for better balance and fall prevention in the elderly
1. Mountain pose (Tadasana)
Stand with your feet and heels together. As you inhale, draw in your abdominals and exhale to relax your shoulders down and back. Take deep breaths while actively engaging your whole body. This will help the elderly in maintaining their posture.
2. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Begin with your feet and heels together. Join palms in a Namaste gesture and lift up your arms. Bend your knees and slowly sit back like you would on a chair. Maintain your pelvis parallel to the floor and bend your knees at a 90 degree angle. Keep your back absolutely straight.
3. Tree pose (Vrikshasana)
Begin with your feet and heels together. Lift your left leg and place the foot at the inner thigh of your right leg. If this is not possible, you can also place it at the ankle or calf. Join palms in a Namaste and lift up your arms. Repeat for the other leg as well.
4. Thunderbolt pose (Vajrasana)
Gently get into a kneeling position on any soft surface. Sit your hip on your heels and arrange the big toes next to each other. Place your palms on your knees, straighten your back and look forward. Hold this position for 2-3 minutes.
5. One foot pose (Eka Padasana)
Begin with your feet and heels together. Bend forward until you are parallel to the floor. Slowly lift your right leg up straight behind you. Your right leg, pelvis, upper body and arms should all form a straight line. Focus your gaze on a point at the floor to maintain balance
Yoga can help seniors to live a more active and independent life. If you are an older adult, or know someone who is, consider incorporating yoga into their daily routine to help improve their overall well-being and reduce their risk of falls.