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Yoga After 50 (Part One): Try This Routine of Standing Poses

Yoga after 50 helps to slow the aging process and keeps you strong, trim, and fit. A routine of standing poses can help greatly by improving your joint mobility, spine health, lung capacity, and core strength.

Your true internal age isn’t always revealed by looking at yourself while standing in front of a mirror. Your true age is more often revealed by how you move and what you look like while walking.

How is your joint mobility:

  • stiff?
  • or, supple?

How is your posture:

  • neck craning forward and a kyphotic hump?
  • or, do you have a tall, flexible spine with centered shoulders?

How are you aging:

  • slowly?
  • or, unnecessarily fast?

In midlife and post-midlife, the weekly mobility workout – be it swimming, pilates, yoga, or stretching and mobility drills – becomes the foundation of your entire fitness regimen. In other words, your once-a-week flexibility session is what makes all the other workouts throughout the week possible. Yoga after 50 is the simplest solution because it’s more convenient (and less expensive) than Pilates or lap swimming.

What follows is a recommended yoga after 50 workout. A motivational video and printable list of exercises is included lower within this article.

Challenges of Yoga After 50

For thousands of years, yoga enthusiasts have alternated quickly between forward bends and backward bends to great benefit. Moving quickly through the alternating poses in this way not only strengthens the heart and lungs but also helps condition the major muscle groups of the human body while improving joint health.

 

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yoga after 50 standing strength poses dane

But here’s an important point. Our lifestyle today is different than it was thousands of years ago. Today, we drive, sit at desks, and use smart phones. We are far more sedentary and experience different mental stressors. We’re fatter now and, perhaps most importantly, most people eat inflammatory foods and live in an environment awash in synthetic chemicals. Because of this, we must not glibly move so aggressively between forward bends and backbends. We must proceed cautiously and probably need to develop our flexibility more gradually than our ancestors needed to in the past:

  • Moving instantly from flexion (forward) into extension (backward arch) can put strain on the sacro joint. The sacroiliac joint connects the hip bones to the triangular bone between the lumbar spine and the tailbone and basically absorbs shock between the upper body and the pelvis and legs. Unless you’re already lean, strong, and highly flexible, you want to proceed gently with this area. Make your forward bends and backward bends less extreme in the beginning. In particular, any pose in which you arch or sway your lower back needs to be entered respectfully. Avoid the temptation to go too far.
 
 
  • Be mindful with the soles of your feet. It’s tempting to roll the weight of your body to one side or the other. But in many standing poses, your safest bet is to make contact with the ground using the entire sole of your foot. Keep your feet active in standing poses by consciously pressing your feet down into the ground.
  • In standing poses, it’s tempting to lock-out (hyperextend) your knee joints. But in many standing poses, you want to keep your knees slightly bent when they are supporting bodyweight.

Benefits of Yoga After 50

The proven benefits of yoga after 50 are significant.

Yoga after 50 can:

  • decrease excess stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
  • soothes the sympathetic nervous system
  • improve diet mindfulness (a calmer mind makes better food choices)
  • reduce inflammation
  • reduce overall fatigue and improve mood and mental clarity
  • improve brain chemistry
  • reduce physical discomfort (including headaches and chronic pain) and improve sleep
  • improve balance, flexibility, and breathing
  • increase strength in the major muscle groups, especially the core.

Yoga After 50 in Your Area

I believe the most important yoga work is done alone on your mat during quiet, whether outside or in your home gym area. In my opinion, your yoga practice should include this: just you moving in silence on a mat alone. By doing yoga in this way, you will discover aspects about yourself – physically and psychologically – that you might not otherwise discover. However, having said that, I also know that yoga within a community class environment also offers unique benefits.

If you’re fortunate to live in an area that has a Modo Yoga studio, you might want to give a class there a try. They offer Flow and HIIT classes, but my favorite is the classical Modo class done in a heated room. Anecdotally, I can tell you that I did classes once a week in this way for 2 years in a row, and I never felt or looked better in my entire life. Highly recommended!

Yoga in Combination with Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition

Doing a mobility session once a week can be a game-changer in and of itself. However, doing yoga after 50 in conjunction with an anti-inflammatory diet can reap exponentially positive results – helping you to develop lean muscle, reduce belly fat, and significantly improve posture and joint mobility. My new course is designed in a specific sequence to help you achieve the next level of robust health – by taking you step-by-step through the process of adopting an anti-inflammatory diet.

yoga after 50 dancer pose standing sequence

Standing Poses Sequence for Yoga After 50

Over the age of fifty? Try this sequence of standing yoga poses to improve your core strength, balance, and flexibility.

Tools

  • Optional: a mat, block, and hand towel.

Instructions

  1. Mountain Pose into parasympathetic breathing sequence.
  2. Crescent.
  3. Powerful (Utkatasana).
  4. Awkward (high into low).
  5. Eagle.
  6. Prayer Twist.
  7. Backward Bend (low into high).
  8. Forward Bend.
  9. Runner's Lunge into Warrior One (flow).
  10. Warrior Two into Triangle variation.
  11. Toppling Tree.
  12. Dancer.
  13. Tree.
  14. Shavasana.

Notes

  • Resist the temptation to hold your breath.
  • Move slowly and proceed cautiously.
  • It can be helpful if the room isn't too cold.

After completing this sequence of strength-developing standing yoga poses, you can move on to the all-important yoga floor stretches to improve flexibility.

Additional Sources:

Positive Effects of 12-Week Hatha Yoga Intervention – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475706/

Randomized Control Study in Impact of Yoga on Eating Habits – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2844876/

Clinical Trial on Influence of Pranayama Breathing Techniques on Lung Capacity – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3017963/

10 Weeks of Yoga Beats the Flexibility of Control Group – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728955/

Research Establishes that Seniors Who Do Yoga Sleep Better – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15937373/

Mental Stillness During Yoga’s Final Shavasana Pose Reduces Overall Anxiety – https://examine.com/supplements/meditation/

Effect of Yoga Practice on Levels of Inflammatory Markers – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525504/

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