Introducing yoga to a senior with health issues

Hope someone can give some advice. My friend is a 60 year-old man who is overweight and has significant heart problems, high blood pressure and chronic lower back pain. He is completely sedentary – going from a stressful job home either eating out or nuking a frozen dinner.

I think yoga could really help him relieve stress and get him moving again but I need suggestions on how to introduce him to yoga. He has very little flexibility, even in doing cat/dog pose he couldn’t curl up. (He’s also on the stubborn side – “I can’t do that.”).

Any suggestions on a start?


You need to make him familiar with all the yoga practices. It is really very effective and my mother is also a patient of thyroid and yoga really helps to maintain her health. You can also find some knowledge and data on internet. You can download some books from different sites specially for yoga beginners. Just visit the sites if possible. Best wishes for your friend.


Namaste and Welcome to the forum.

It is commendable that you are concerned about the health and lifestyle of your friend and I think he should count himslef lucky for having a freind like you.

Yoga will and can help your friend, however, your friend needs to make the chnage in his mind and heart himself to want to change the way he is living. No matter how hard or how much you try to bring yoga into his life, if he hasn’t made the change within, nothing you’ll do will have long term effects.

Please also note that yoga is not a quick solution for all his problems. For example, yoga won’t change his eating habits, that he needs to change himself. He needs to make a commistment towards himself to take better care of his body and soul as well. Once he has done that, then only can yoga be the effective system it is meant to be in a person’s life.

Your friend has many health related problems and it seems also that they are severe, which might not be best addressed in a general mixed yoga class. Your friend will need more individual sessions with a competent and compassionate teacher. This might be expensive and again is your freind prepared to invest this kind of time, effort and money in his future health? In other words has he made the decision for himself? He seems to have made up his mind about things in life already, his “I can’t do that” attitude is more telling about how he feels about his life in general and I am afraid at his age it might be difficult to change that.

Good luck with your friend. :slight_smile:

Someone named “gor” in Baltimore? Very close to home for me on both fronts so I must reply.

We can’t make someone do yoga. People that reluctantly come often are so tightly cocooned in their belief system that they refuse to get anything from it. So if this fellow is not interested then having him do yoga is more about you than it is about him.

If he is interested then start him supine and keep the movements simple, gentle, easy, and corresponding with the breath. You can also have him use the wall to modify or mimic a few standing and supine poses like Vira I and supta padangusthasana.

In Purna Yoga we have a Stiff Person’s series but that is something to be covered in a teacher training or therapeutics workshop.

I wonder what an ‘invitation’ phrased as a wholesome lunch would do . . .

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Hmmmm. So you’re suggesting a sedentary, overweight person with heart problems and high blood pressure go on a diet?

Not being sure if your recent comment was directional or not . . . I’m suggesting engaging and enlisting a person’s food appetite to invite a person to a more life-friendly lifestyle. It worked for me so I repeat it for others.

You're doing a good job! Introducing yoga to a senior with health issues can be a gentle and beneficial approach to improving their well-being. It's essential to prioritize their comfort and safety throughout the process. Additionally, if you have any concerns about their health insurance coverage, reaching out to WPS Health Insurance customer service might be a good idea. They can provide guidance on the available resources and coverage options to support the senior's journey to better health through yoga.