10 Simple Yoga Moves to Slow Down the Aging Clock

yoga for aging

We can stay flexible as we age

As we age, our bodies unfortunately become less flexible, but they don’t have to. While our physiology does change, it is in large part the result of not caring for our bodies well over time.. Joints ache, and we lose strength and become more prone to losing balance–and we often stop moving our bodies in a way that maintains a nimble physiology. In other words, the old adage is true move it or lose it. And the question remains, how to regain our mobility so we may maintain our independence over time.  But as natural as this process is for biology, this doesn't mean that you’re required to pack it in once touching your toes becomes harder. 

One of the most effective ways to support our body over the decades is through a consistent and evolving yoga practice. There is a reason why yoga has been a celebrated mind-body practice since the millennia. The benefits of yoga are excellent for supporting not only your overall health but also your mobility as you age:1

  • Increased strength, flexibility, balance

  • Increased mobility

  • Reduced risk of losing balance and falling

  • Support cognitive health

  • Improved sleep

  • Support mood and mental well-being

Here are a few simple yoga moves that you can incorporate into your daily movement or mindfulness routine to improve your physical and mental health.

Sukhasana (Easy Sitting Pose): 

This seemingly simple pose is perfect for meditation, focus, and calming the mind. Sitting with crossed legs on the ground and focusing on your breath can have a relaxing effect on the body. Once the mind is relaxed, it can promote a more balanced digestive process. Start by sitting comfortably on a flat surface, crossing your legs with feet tucked beneath the opposite thighs and maintain a straight spine. Close your eyes, focus on deep breathing, and stay in the pose as long as desired for relaxation.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): 

This asana is great for your digestion due to its effects on spinal health. The Cobra Pose encourages better spinal alignment, allowing for better nerve flow and blood flow to your digestive system. This posture can also improve respiratory function by expanding the chest and lungs. Begin by lying flat on your stomach, placing hands beside your shoulders; then, as you inhale, press into your palms and lift your chest off the ground, keeping hips anchored. Ensure your gaze is forward or slightly up, and hold the position for a few breaths before releasing.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose): 

This classic yoga pose stretches the entire body, enhances blood circulation, and can help reduce stress and anxiety. To do this, begin on all fours on your yoga mat, with your wrists aligned under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. Spread your fingers wide and press your palms into the mat. Exhale and lift your knees off the floor, straightening your legs as much as you can. Press your heels toward the ground and lengthen your spine. Take five deep breaths in this position and then release.

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II): 

This pose strengthens your legs, improves balance, and stretches your hips and legs. Start by standing upright, with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step your left foot back, so it's about four feet away. Turn your left foot out to 90-degrees, and your right foot in slightly. Bend your right knee, so it's above your right ankle, and extend your arms out to your sides. Hold this pose for five deep breaths, then turn around and do the same for the other side.

Trikonasana (Tree Pose):

This pose helps improve balance and mobility, strengthens the core, and reduces stress. Begin by standing upright, with your feet together. Shift your weight onto your left foot and place your right foot on your left thigh, with your toes pointing down. Press your right foot into your left thigh, and bring your hands together in front of your chest. Hold this pose for five deep breaths, then switch sides.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist): 

The “Half Spinal Twist” name is a misnomer, as this position has the added benefit of massaging your digestive organs. Therefore, this posture can effectively foster digestive comfort and metabolic balance. To begin, sit with legs extended, then bend your right knee, placing its foot outside the left thigh while drawing the left heel near the right buttock. Twist your torso to the right, using your left arm against the right thigh, gazing over your right shoulder, and hold for breaths before switching sides.

Pavana Muktasana  (Wind-Relieving Pose): 

With the knees bent towards the chest in this position, it can stimulate digestion, improve blood flow, and calm the mind. It is a common posture in many yoga classes and practices. Start by reclining on your back and, as you exhale, bring your knees to your chest, wrapping your arms around them. Hold for a few breaths, feeling the compression on your abdomen, then release by stretching out your legs.

Balasana (Child's Pose): 

This is a relaxing pose that stretches the lower back, hips, and thighs. Begin by kneeling on the floor, with your toes touching and your knees hip-width apart. Exhale and lower your upper body to the floor, stretching your arms out in front of you. Rest your forehead on the ground and breathe deeply for five to ten breaths.

Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall Pose): 

This asana can be used to help improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and promote lymphatic drainage. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, this pose can also help reduce anxiety and aid in your overall relaxation.Sit close to a wall and gently lie back, extending your legs up the wall with your back and head resting on the floor. Relax in this position, taking deep breaths for 5-15 minutes, then gently roll to one side to release.

Savasana (Corpse Pose):

This is a restorative pose that helps reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Lie flat on your back and relax your entire body. Let your feet fall out to the sides and your arms rest by your side, palms facing up. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for five to ten minutes.

You can combine all of these moves into a full practice, or use a few as a warm-up or a cool-down to your normal movement routine. Or alternatively, just by themselves, sneak them into your day as a movement break, doing one to three sets of each pose. Remember to focus on breathing deeply, listen to your body, and take your time. There’s no need to push yourself too hard with these poses. As a mindfulness practice, yoga can also help reduce the amount of stress that impacts you on a daily basis.2

Aging, like health, is a personal journey. Regular yoga practice and mobility training through poses like these (there are more to explore!) can help you slow down that clock, stay more flexible, stronger, and more resilient as you slowly enter those later years.


1 Madhivanan P, Krupp K, Waechter R, Shidhaye R. (2021). Adv Geriatr Med Res. 3(3):e210016. doi:10.20900/agmr20210016

2 Bartlett, L., Buscot, M., Bindoff, A., Chambers, R., & Hassed, C. (2021). Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 724126. doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.724126