Yoga is an effective and safe way for seniors to stay active and take care of their physical health and well-being. Regular yoga practice helps increase strength and flexibility while reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress.
Read on for more about yoga styles suitable for older adults including our pick of the best yoga studios for seniors in New York.
What Type of Yoga is Best for Seniors?
Many yoga styles are gentle and safe enough for seniors. You can benefit from attending yoga classes even when you are out of shape and have no previous experience. The type of yoga that is right for you will depend on your age, fitness level, and physical condition.
Just make sure to consult your doctor before signing up for a class, particularly if you have a medical condition or if you are on medication.
Restorative yoga is a slow, meditative exercise designed to thoroughly relax muscles and release tension without stretching. The focus is on stress relief rather than achieving flow from one pose to the next typical of many other yoga types.
In restorative yoga classes, you will be using props like blocks, straps, and cushions to support your body in standing and floor poses. This sort of yoga is ideal for seniors with limited flexibility and anyone recovering from an injury.
Hatha is used both as a generic term encompassing different forms of yoga and to describe a slow-paced yoga style that focuses on posture precision and alignment.
In a hatha class, you will be performing a series of sitting and standing poses, accompanied by mindful breathing and stretching. One of the best types of yoga for beginners, hatha practice can help you lower anxiety and improve balance and overall fitness.
Yin is another meditative yoga style with low intensity and manageable pace. It focuses on holding poses for a long time to soften and stretch the body’s connective tissue.
Practicing yin yoga on a regular basis will allow you to relieve stiffness and increase the range of joint motion and flexibility. Because it is done on the floor, this is a great option for seniors with balance problems.
Many classic yoga poses can be performed sitting in a chair or using a chair as support while standing. Chair yoga allows you to exercise safely, even if you have difficulties with mobility or balance issues. It will help you increase flexibility and range of movement with minimal impact on your joints.
Iyengar yoga explores the mind-body connection by focusing on both spiritual and physical aspects of the exercises. This yoga form revolves around precision and achieving correct alignment with the help of props like bolsters, straps, and blocks. It is a good choice if you suffer from arthritis or other chronic conditions, and a great place to start if you have never done yoga before.
Vinyasa yoga matches breathing with a series of continuous movements that flow from one to another. It can help you build muscle strength and improve your fitness level and stability. Because this type of yoga tends to be physically vigorous, it is not suitable for beginners. However, it can be greatly beneficial for seniors who are reasonably fit.
Ashtanga is a variety of vinyasa yoga. It involves practicing twenty-six poses in the same order and holding each pose for the same amount of time. This fast-paced and physically challenging yoga form requires daily practice. Although ashtanga is generally not recommended for novices, it is a good choice for more active seniors.
Similar to ashtanga, this yoga style consists of going through a series of poses and matching them with breathing techniques. The main difference is that classes take place in rooms heated to 100 degrees with 40 percent humidity to help increase flexibility and range of motion. Bikram yoga is suited for seniors who are in good shape and have no health conditions. If you suffer from heart disease or have blood pressure problems, you should opt for other yoga types.
The Best Yoga Studios for Seniors in NYC
While you can certainly learn yoga from the comfort of your home, taking a yoga class under the guidance of a qualified teacher will allow you to perform the moves correctly and minimize the risk of injury. What’s more, yoga classes foster a sense of community and belonging—the word yoga itself means “connection”—an important factor in maintaining positive mental health and well-being.
Here are some of the best yoga studios in New York City with classes for all ability levels, including excellent low-impact options for seniors, where you can stretch, relax, and connect with others.
Yogamaya has a range of classes to fit any level, from vinyasa and hatha to non-strenuous restorative yoga, ideal for older adults. The studio is located in a former industrial printing facility in the heart of Chelsea. The handcrafted window screens imported from India let in plenty of natural light, creating a calm and relaxing setting. Classes are taught by highly experienced and supportive instructors who will make sure that your yoga practice is easy and enjoyable.
Accessibility: The studio is on the 6th floor in a building with an elevator.
Amenities: Mat rental $4. Mat storage is included in class packages. There are changing stalls but no showers.
Price: $18 per class, $190 for the unlimited monthly membership, senior discounts available.
Ratings: Yelp 4.5 | ClassPass 4.7
- Yes Studio
YES Studio offers a large selection of yoga classes for all ages and levels, including vinyasa, restorative, and yin yoga. Two custom-designed practice rooms provide a comfortable, peaceful, and nurturing environment. The studio employs more than thirty qualified, engaging teachers who will help you make the most out of your experience whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for years.
Accessibility: You need to climb one flight of stairs to access the studio.
Amenities: Mat and towel rental $3. The studio has showers and changing rooms.
Price: $25 per class, $165 for the unlimited monthly classes, senior discounts available. There are several donation-based community classes.
Ratings: Yelp 4.5 | ClassPass: 4.8
- Harlem Yoga Studio
Harlem Yoga Studio is dedicated to making yoga accessible to everyone regardless of age and experience level. It offers a variety of classes like hatha and restorative yoga suitable for beginners. Although the space is more intimate than some other yoga studios, it is airy and bright, with plenty of natural light streaming in through the large windows. The talented instructors will not only help you achieve correct positions, but also make sure that you feel welcome and included in the group.
Accessibility: There is no elevator in the building, so be ready to walk up two flights of stairs.
Amenities: Mat rental $2. There are no showers or changing rooms.
Price: $16 per class, $95 for the unlimited monthly membership, senior discounts available. There are several donation-based community classes.
Ratings: Yelp 4.5 | ClassPass 4.7
- Three Jewels
Three Jewels is a non-profit yoga and enlightenment center specializing in a gentle approach to vinyasa, restorative, and yin yoga styles. What sets this studio apart is that classes integrate yoga, meditation, and Tibetan Buddhism. You will practice in an inviting, minimalist space that emanates peace and relaxation. Classes are led by a team of highly skilled and dedicated yoga teachers who give plenty of individual attention to each student.
Location: East Village
Accessibility: The studio is on the ground floor of the building.
Amenities: Mats and meditation cushions are free of charge. There are no showers. Coffee shop on premises.
Price: $24 per class, $130 for the unlimited monthly membership. There are many free community classes based on donations.
Ratings: Yelp 5 | ClassPass 4.7
- Yoga Vida
Yoga Vida has four locations throughout the city that offer bikram, slow flow, and restorative yoga classes for everyone from newbies to master yogis. All studios are simple and designed to make you feel safe, peaceful, and relaxed. Their open-minded expert teachers are known for being accommodating and dedicated to creating a strong sense of community.
Locations: Union Square, NoHo, DUMBO, and Tribeca
Accessibility: The NoHo studio is on the ground floor and the other locations have an elevator.
Amenities: Mat rental $2, towel rental $1. The DUMBO studio has showers and steam rooms.
Price: $25 per class, $30 for two weeks of unlimited classes, senior discounts available.
Ratings: Yelp: 4.5
Learn More About Yoga
Before you begin practicing yoga, you may want to learn more about its origins, essential poses, and terminology. Here are a few resources to get you started:
- Yoga Journal is an exhaustive resource about the history and philosophy of yoga
- Yoga Practice offers an introduction to practicing yoga and its benefits
- Yoga Etiquette has tips on how to make most of your yoga class
- Yoga City NYC publishes information about yoga-related events in New York.