The 7-Minute Yoga Flow for Older Adults

By Brittany Risher |

Ease stress, increase flexibility, and build strength with this do-anywhere routine.

If you can spare seven minutes, you can melt away stress, stretch your whole body, and feel stronger on your feet. That’s the power of this quick yoga flow from Terecita “Ti” Blair, the 2017 SilverSneakers Instructor of the Year.

Your breath is a key component throughout the sequence. “Breathing is vital to life and becomes especially important as we are moving our bodies through space and tapping into the mind-body connection,” Blair explains. “Breathing throughout the yoga practice creates stability and support as well as ease and fluidity.”

That’s why you’ll return to your breath after challenging poses—to help you stay relaxed after exerting effort—and at the end, so that your body and mind can rest before you return to your day.

This yoga flow can be done anywhere and is easy enough on your body to do it every day, if you wish. Move at your own pace, and let your breath be your guide. “Rather than thinking about perfect poses, ask yourself if you can breathe,” Blair says. “If not, make adjustments.”

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Ready to get started? You can follow along with the video above or read over the steps below to do it on your own. Remember: The yoga poses here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Step #1: Stand Tall and Find Your Breath

Standing tall, roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Place one hand on your low belly and the other on your heart. Breathe naturally, noticing the movement of your hands as you inhale and exhale. See if you can take a fuller, deeper breath.

Step #2: Mountain Pose

Lower your hands by your sides. Stabilize your feet, rooting down into the floor and keeping a soft bend in your knees. Stand tall with your palms facing forward. Inhale, keeping your body tall, and exhale. On your next breath, add some movement by reaching your arms up and overhead as you inhale. On the exhale, bring your palms to touch in front of your heart. Repeat three times.

This is a foundational pose, and you’ll use it a few times in this yoga flow. If you only have one minute, mountain pose can count as a quick yoga practice.

Step #3: Cactus Chest Expansion

Inhale, reaching your arms up and overhead like you just did in mountain pose. Exhale, this time keeping your chest lifted and bringing your arms out to your sides with your palms facing forward and elbows bent 90 degrees like a cactus. Inhale, reaching your arms up and overhead. Exhale, bringing your palms to touch in front of your heart.

Step #4: Chair Pose

Inhale, sitting back into an imaginary chair and reaching your arms forward like you’re holding onto a special gift between your hands. Holding this position, take a big breath in, and exhale out. Keeping your arms forward, inhale to standing with your arms reaching above your head. Exhale your hands to your heart.

Step #5: Wide-Legged Forward Fold

Step your left foot out wide. Stand tall with your hands on your hips and toes facing forward. Inhale, engaging your belly. Exhale, hinging forward at your hips with a flat back. Ground into your feet, and inhale to come back up.

Step #6: Warrior Two

Turn your left toes out toward the left. Bend your left knee about 90 degrees, making sure your knee stays above your ankle and heel (not pushing forward). Place your hands on your hips, keeping the outer edge of your right (back) foot firmly on the floor. Engage your belly. Extend your arms out at your sides with your palms facing down, and gaze out over the middle fingertips of your left hand as you breathe deeply. If you need more support, keep your hands on your hips, and simply gaze to the left.

Step #7: Reverse Warrior

Keeping your lower body exactly the same, place your right hand on your hip, and flip your left palm to face up. Inhale, reaching your left arm up toward the sky as you keep your torso long. Exhale to return to warrior two.

Step #8: Triangle Pose

Straighten your left (front) leg, and reach forward with your left fingertips. Inhale, hinging forward at the hips as you bring your left hand to your left leg. You can place it beside your knee (easier) or reach a little farther toward your calf or ankle (harder). You can keep your right arm on your hip (easier) or lift it to the sky (harder). Breathe here for three breaths, looking down at your left foot, across the room, or up toward the sky.

Step #9: Wide-Legged Forward Fold

Place both hands on your hips, and return to standing with your feet parallel and your entire body facing forward. Inhale, raising your arms toward the sky and forming an X with your body. Exhale, bringing your hands to your hips as you hinge forward halfway. Inhale to stand, and bring your left foot to meet your right foot. You’re back in mountain pose.

Step #10: Cactus Chest Expansion

Inhale, reaching your arms up and overhead. Exhale, keeping your chest lifted and bringing your arms out to your sides with your palms facing forward and elbows bent 90 degrees like a cactus. Inhale, reaching your arms up and overhead. Exhale, bringing your palms to touch in front of your heart.

Step #11: Chair Pose

Keeping your hands together, inhale and sit back into chair pose. Exhale. Take another inhale and exhale. On your next inhale, stand up and reach your hands toward the sky. Exhale, lowering your arms out and down by your sides.

Step #12: Wide-Legged Forward Fold

Step your right foot out wide. Stand tall with your hands on your hips and toes facing forward. Inhale, engaging your belly. Exhale, hinging forward at your hips with a flat back. Ground into your feet, and inhale to come back up.

Step #13: Warrior Two

Turn your right toes out toward the right. Bend your right knee about 90 degrees, making sure your knee stays above your ankle and heel (not pushing forward). Place your hands on your hips, keeping the outer edge of your left (back) foot firmly on the floor. Engage your belly. Extend your arms out at your sides with your palms facing down, and gaze out over the middle fingertips of your right hand as you breathe deeply. If you need more support, keep your hands on your hips, and simply gaze to the right.

Step #14: Reverse Warrior

Keeping your lower body exactly the same, place your left hand on your hip, and flip your right palm to face up. Inhale, reaching your right arm up toward the sky as you keep your torso long. Exhale to return to warrior two.

Step #15: Triangle Pose

Straighten your right (front) leg, and reach forward with your right fingertips. Inhale, hinging forward at the hips as you bring your right hand to your right leg. You can place it beside your knee (easier) or reach a little farther toward your calf or ankle (harder). You can keep your left arm on your hip (easier) or lift it to the sky (harder). Breathe here for three breaths, looking down at your right foot, across the room, or up toward the sky.

Step #16: Wide-Legged Forward Fold

Place both hands on your hips, and return to standing with your feet parallel and your entire body facing forward. Inhale, raising your arms toward the sky and forming an X with your body. Exhale, bringing your hands to your hips as you hinge forward halfway. Inhale to stand, and bring your right foot to meet your left foot. You’re back in mountain pose.

Step #17: Mountain Pose

Bring your palms together at your heart. Close your eyes if that’s comfortable for you. Breathe, acknowledging your strength. When you are ready, lower your hands by your sides. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down. Open your eyes. You just did yoga!

Want More SilverSneakers Videos?

Find more great tips and yoga exercises from Ti Blair here, plus workouts and motivation from fitness expert David Jack here. Want to work out with SilverSneakers in person? Learn about class options here.

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