Tips for Teaching Yoga to Elderly People

Submitted by Bonnie Sedan on August 30, 2012

Many elderly people are now taking additional interest in their wellbeing and are trying out various alternate therapies that help them improve their overall health. Several individuals who are over the age of 65 are also signing up for yoga classes, in order to enjoy the benefits that the ancient practice offers them. There are quite a few senior centers and nursing homes that also conduct special yoga classes for elderly people.

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In case you are teaching yoga to senior or elderly people, you will probably need to make a few modifications to your usual training program, taking into consideration the limitations of your participants. An ideal yoga class for seniors should focus on gentle stretching and deep breathing, so that the learners enjoy the session and become more involved in the practice of yoga. Given below are a few tips that may be useful in case you are teaching yoga to elderly people –

  • Gather as much medical information as you possibly can on all your participants.


    Knowing about the abilities and limitations of each of your students can help you plan your session accordingly. You can either have your students fill in a questionnaire about the conditions they are suffering from and the medications they are taking, or you can collect this information from their nursing home.
  • Allow your students to bring assistants who can help them, to reduce risks of falls or injuries. These assistants can help those students that need help in performing certain poses. If the class is conducted by a senior center, it may be wise for you to ask for assistants.
  • Make sure that your classes are low-impact and easy to follow. Many yoga experts advise elderly people to practice “Chair Yoga”, where they need to sit on a chair for most of the poses and mainly move their hands and back.
  • Try to include a high amount of vivid visualizations in your class and reduce the amount of time you spend on meditation. This is because meditation and slow visualizations could put your participants to sleep. You may also want to have your participants move around throughout the session, to increase the levels of energy and keep them more engaged.

In case any of your participants complain of weakness, pain, dizziness or any other such symptoms, allow them to be excused from class immediately. Ask them to visit their doctors right away, just to make sure that everything is alright.

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