In its most basic form, yoga is already a gentle exercise routine.
It’s low-impact, so puts no extra stress on your joints and muscles.
In fact, when done regularly, it improves the mobility and strength of both joints and bones.
If you are starting from a stationary lifestyle or place of injury, however, or if you are older or suffer from mobility issues, even simple yoga asanas may prove difficult.
Gentle yoga is a great way to get started with yoga if you have limitations due to age, injury, or current fitness level.
Gentle yoga, or soft yoga, isn’t a yoga style of its own. (Though, you will often find “gentle” or “soft” yoga classes at yoga studios and gyms.)
Instead, gentle yoga is a way of adapting yoga exercises for those who cannot easily perform them in their original forms to make them accessible to people of all fitness levels and physical capabilities.
If you would like to start incorporating more yoga into your fitness routine, but are struggling with even the most basic of poses, consider pulling back and trying one of these three forms of gentle yoga before throwing in the mat.
Gentle Chair Yoga
Chair yoga is arguably the gentlest form of yoga you can do.
As the name implies, chair yoga is performed using a chair, though that doesn’t always mean you’re sitting down.
In chair yoga, you may do poses sitting still, twisting, shifting, or standing with the chair for support.
The asanas you can do are based entirely on your range of mobility.
But the chair always provides structure for the posture, making it easier to maintain your balance.
With chair yoga, you also don’t have to get down to and up from the floor, making it easier and more accessible for those who don’t have that ability.
And don’t think just because this form of yoga comes with extra support that you won’t get the majority of yoga’s benefits.
You will, but in a sturdier, easier to perform manner.
Gentle Chair Yoga Videos
If you’re interested in trying chair yoga, here are some gentle chair yoga routines we like on YouTube:
Gentle Yoga For Seniors
Chair yoga is one of the best forms of yoga for seniors with reduced mobility or strength.
Here are some videos we like specifically for seniors:
Gentle Seated Yoga
While it’s not quite chair yoga and many sitting yoga poses can be challenging (not to mention you have to get down to and up from the floor), if you do struggle with strength or balance in yoga, seated asansas may be the easiest asanas for you when you first start yoga.
Seated asanas will help you build flexibility, which may help you work your way up to kneeling and standing asanas.
More importantly, seated asanas do good things all on their own.
Asanas done sitting generally focus on stretching the hips, groin, legs, knees, ankles, and torso. (Though, some postures also stretch the arms, shoulders, chest and back.)
This gentler form of yoga provides many of the same benefits of yoga without requiring the same levels of strength and balance.
To get started with seated yoga poses, see the following resources:
Soft Yoga Seated Videos
Here are some (mostly) seated yoga routines we like on YouTube:
Soft Yoga (Gentle Yoga)
Last up in our forms of gentle yoga, we have the yoga style most akin to a regular yoga practice, fittingly called “gentle yoga” (or sometimes “soft yoga”).
Gentle yoga is exactly what the name implies – a gentler form of standard yoga.
More specifically, gentle yoga is hatha yoga (the style of yoga taught in yoga studios and gyms) that incorporates less challenging poses and moves through those poses at a slower pace.
While this soft yoga uses many of the same asanas found in standard yoga practice, the emphasis is on adapting these asanas to individual comfort level and ability.
If you are starting from a place of reduced fitness, injury, or have mobility issues, but would like to work your way toward a standard yoga practice, gentle yoga is a great place to start.
Gentle yoga gives you the foundation you’ll need to further your yoga practice, while allowing your muscles, joints, and mind to adapt slowly to the poses and breathing involved.
To get started with gentle yoga, see the following resources:
Gentle Yoga For Beginners Videos
Gentle Morning Yoga For Beginners Videos
If you prefer the structure and guidance of a class, you can also find gentle yoga classes for beginners and the mobility-impaired at many yoga studios and gyms.
Getting Started With Gentle Yoga
When you’re dealing with mobility issues, injury, or are simply out of shape, yoga might feel out of reach.
But it doesn’t have to be.
With just a few simple adjustments to postures and practice, you can bring yoga into your life in an accommodating and safe way.
These gentle forms of yoga will give you most of the same benefits as yoga performed at higher intensities.
So, if you’ve been wanting to get into yoga, but feel your physical ability is holding you back, try one of these gentler forms of yoga.
You might find yourself quite more capable of yoga’s postures than you think.