Teaching Yoga to Seniors - All You Need to Know

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Teaching yoga to seniors is a specialized skill that requires a lot of constant study. Senior yoga certification is a great way to start learning about this special skill, but going out into the world and actually teaching senior students is a whole new chapter.

Yoga is clearly very popular amongst seniors because of the promise it has made to offer a low impact activity that strengthens the mind and body and makes it a lot more flexible. In fact, people who have lived past their middle-age have consistently agreed that how important regular activity is for their health.

And if that isn’t all, medical research has also provided us with enough evidence that physical activities strengthen the body and build muscle as well as prevent bone loss in seniors.

The appeal of yoga is clear to seniors because it can improve their health, soothe pain and chronic aches that are very common among the elderly. The practice also offers calming strategies for minds that are plagued with anxiety and fear.

As a yoga instructor, you must be aware that a yoga session with seniors require a lot of careful planning and flexibility. The physical limitations of seniors can make it very difficult for them to keep up with certain yoga poses.

So as an instructor, you need to be prepared to make on-the-spot pose modifications whenever you see a senior is struggling. Here are some tips to help you with senior yoga students.

Plan Your Modifications in Advance

  • After taking the initial session with seniors, you will know exactly what your students are capable of doing. From there on, you must plan the modifications for yoga sequences and poses accordingly.

For example, if one of your students has weak legs and lower back pain, modify the pose so that they can use a chair and keep off the floor but still be able to perform the pose. You have to make sure you plan ahead to give your students the opportunity to keep up with you and others.

Know Your Students

  • Before you begin your first yoga session with your students, make sure you talk to them and know exactly who they are and what problems they have. Many of the seniors you will meet in your class will have different health problems.

For example, a lot of seniors have diabetes and chronic aches in their bodies. Talk to them and find out what every student suffers from. Only then create your program and change things accordingly.

  • It may seem hard during the first few sessions but if you do a little extra effort to know who you are teaching, you can easily add modifications to make your and their life easier.

Make Use of Props

  • Inform and encourage your senior yoga students to use props to perform their asana practice. There is nothing wrong with using props if it helps them out. A lot of yoga instructors hesitate on using props because they fear their students will never learn to master asana if they start using props regularly.

The problem is just within your mindset, you only have to use props in the beginning and make sure that when they become flexible, you start taking the props away. Plan this ahead and let your students know that you will remove the props when you feel they have reached a level where they can perform asana without props.


Teaching yoga to seniors is a tough job even for yoga instructors who have completed the 200-hour teacher training course. To give you a better idea, and make you the master of senior yoga, we have the senior yoga certification.

It is a custom-designed program that will help you learn to see and speak to Seniors as powerful and relevant human beings while offering methods that support graceful aging and total well-being. Chair, Restorative and other age-appropriate techniques including anatomy & physiology for the changing needs of seniors, sequencing for aging bodies, breathing techniques to soothe the nervous system, & modifications/propping for safety & ease.

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