Yoga for Healthy Aging.. Your Key to Longevity.


January 29, 2024 

Dr. Jaclyn Plante, PT DPT OCS RYT 


When it comes to starting or reconnecting to a lifestyle and movement practice, we want to be sure there is benefit. We want our valuable time, energy, and financial investment to have a recognizable positive outcome. Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been shown to have healthy benefits for wellbeing and longevity. There is an increasing body of evidence to support the positive impacts of the physical practice of yoga for well-being and functional activities, as well as the neurocognitive impacts of a mind-body practice like yoga or meditation. 


As we age, our bodies undergo physical, neurological, and psychological changes. Physical activity is a natural means to preserve our capacities, to enhance functional activities that help maintain independence and quality of living. Yoga has a holistic focus that includes physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. This is a suitable health-maintaining activity as an alternative to traditional exercise that might feel more difficult or less practical. 


Yoga appears to have a wide range of benefits including increased mobility, reduced fall risk, protection against cognitive changes, increased flexibility, strength, balance, improved sleep and mental well-being. A number of trials have utilized 45-60 minute programs, once per week for 8-12 weeks, with outcomes suggesting that yoga and meditation can achieve goals including non-pharmacological stress reduction, brain enhancement exercise, and lifestyle changes. The bonus here is that yoga in a community setting is inexpensive, low impact, and has high quality social interactions with instructors and other students. 


Meditation practices are also useful due to the neuroplasticity effects on brain structures and circuits. These have a direct influence on attention, memory, and emotional regulation. Meditation is low impact and less strenuous than other physical exercises, making it accessible to people with all physical abilities without significant risk. Many practices can be adapted to seated in a chair or on a bolster and lying down using props for support and comfort. Similarly to yoga, meditation appears to improve mood, coping with chronic stress, and relief of chronic pain.  


A few suggestions for getting started towards your healthy aging goals with yoga: 


  1. Find a class that is clearly intended for this purpose! At Roots, we offer a class each Wednesday called “Yoga for Healthy Aging.” The goal of this class is to be accessible to all in order to help safely build strength, maximize your mobility, improve posture and balance in a warm, welcoming, casual environment.  


  1. Stay open minded as you try something new. It’s totally normal to feel a little uncomfortable walking into a studio for your first class. Most of us do any time we try something new. Give yourself a chance to settle in, ask questions. Only do as much as you are able to do! Our yoga instructors fully expect each individual to be different and are well prepared to meet you where you are for the best experience in each class.  


  1. Stick with it for a bit. Most of the evidence that supports yoga and meditation as healthy aging wellness practices recommend a duration of 8-12 weeks to optimize the benefits. There may be schedule conflicts on occasion, but finding a space and a practice you like and giving it some time will help you see improvements in strength, balance, and flexibility. 


  1. Listen to your body. If you find that with some consistency and patience you’re still encountering movement-based issues, we recommend a consultation with a physical therapy provider! As movement specialists, physical therapists are highly skilled for evaluation, intervention, and collaboration on a plan to address your concerns. Roots has three experienced Doctors of Physical Therapy who can provide support with getting you into a healthy and sustainable yoga plan to reap all the benefits of a healthy aging practice.   

Keep an eye out for more information about Aging Healthily and check out our Yoga for Healthy Aging Class on Wednesdays at 4:30pm! 



Madhivanan, P., Krupp, K., Waechter, R., & Shidhaye, R. (2021). Yoga for Healthy Aging: Science or Hype?. Advances in geriatric medicine and research, 3(3), e210016. 


Östh J, Diwan V, Jirwe M, et al. Effects of yoga on well-being and healthy ageing: study protocol for 

a randomised controlled trial (FitForAge). BMJ Open 2019;9:e027386. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2018-027386 


Acevedo, B.P., Pospos, S. & Lavretsky, H. The Neural Mechanisms of Meditative Practices: Novel Approaches for Healthy Aging. Curr Behav Neurosci Rep3, 328–339 (2016). 





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