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Season 2 - Episode 9

Healthy Aging

30 min - Practice


This energizing class will help develop and maintain your flexibility, balance, agility, and strength, all components for healthy aging. We explore range of motion and coordination as we combine strength and flexibility in variations of Bridge, Navasana, lunges, squats, and twists, with moments of breath awareness to tap into a sense of equanimity. You will feel focused and confident.

Note: Melina uses hand weights in this class, but you can do this class without weights. You can also replace hand weights with water bottles or cans of soup or beans.

What You'll Need: Hand Weights (2), Blanket, Block (2)


Read Full Transcript

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to practice. I'm glad you're here with me today. We're gonna do a little healthy aging class and it's gonna include some of the pillars that I work with, which include flexibility, balance, agility, and strength, some of the components for healthy aging. So for our class today, it'd be great to have a blanket.

If you got your weights, or two cans of beans or tomato sauce would work just fine. And two blocks. So I'm gonna start sitting, and I want you to encourage you to fold your blanket once or twice So that when you're in a cross legged position, your pelvis can tilt a little bit forward, and you could have a nice long back with your knees drop towards the floor. You could also sit in the chair if that works better for you. I'm gonna have the weights available, and we're gonna grab them in just a moment. So but without the weight, so I want you to bring your fingertips towards the top of your shoulders and just do a couple circles to get that area a little bit warmed up. See how it feels today.

And this is a little bit more around the flexibility idea of getting the joints moving. We have better range of motion. Let's go the opposite direction a couple times. And we'll bring the arms down and grab the weights. And so we'll get to do that combo of increasing flexibility and strengthening at the same time.

So if you grab your weights or your cans of whatever you're working with from your pantry, we're gonna simply bring your arms up towards your ears and then have the weights above your head. And I turned my palms away from each other as I bring the weights back down. Turn the palms up and lift those weights back up, turn the palms down as you bring your weights to the floor. Which has several more times kinda enjoying that stretch through the shoulders, increasing that range of motion through the back, while also building a little bit of a strength because you've got something in your hands. That might be a pound or 2 or maybe for some of you, buy pounds.

K. At least something to work up too. So a few more without rush change is nice and smooth, movement up, and down. Now let's say when we go up, we'll keep the arms up and bend your elbows and drop the weights towards the back of your head. And kinda treat your triceps, that little stretch. And then the weights back up in the air, drop them again back towards the back of your head, going up, and I stretch through that trice up and also some strengthening as we're going up.

Strat. Chinos are coming down and going up. And maybe being surprised and delighted by how that feels to engage these muscles with a little bit of weight in hand. Alright. Now let's try to keep those arms up in the air and open your arms and create a goal post arm position. We'll start to do a little rotation to your rights. Come back to center.

Let's squeeze your elbows in towards parallel. Open back out goalpost, and then do a little rotation to your left. Come back to center, squeeze elbows in, Open out why. This again turned to your rights. Face forward, squeeze in. Open again up and a little rotation to your left.

Face forward. One more set. Elbows in. Goalpost. To your right, face forward elbows in, goal post and then to your left. K. Now as you come in, let's rest those arms for a moment, put the way it's down or whatever you're holding, shake them out, circle your arms.

K. When we are ready, grab your weights again, And from here, we'll keep your right hand down. It will take this left arm up by your ear and slide that right hand further away from your hip. And maybe you can just hold it and ground yourself here. We'll bend your left arm and pull that weight towards the top of your shoulder as you maybe look to the right. And then raise a arm back in the air as you look forward.

A more flexibility in that shoulder chest than the arm looked to the right. Reach back up, look forward. Pull the weight towards your shoulder, look to the right, Look forward. Keep your arm up, and then we'll drop that left arm down, tip to neutral, and then slide your left hand out. Take the right arm up as far as you wanna reach. Let's tip the right arm towards your ear for a moment and then bend that elbow and bring the weight towards your shoulder.

Look to the left. Bring your arm back up. Look forward. Banned your right elbow as you look to the left. Look forward with your arm up in the air.

Bend your elbow as you look to the left. One more. Look forward. As you bend the elbow and finish looking to the left, let's look forward and bring your hands down. Okay? Drop those weights for a moment and then stretch your legs out in front of you. And if your legs are out straight, notice if you need to shift your blanket to make it smaller or thicker to have your legs out in front of you for a moment.

Let's start with your right leg crossed over the left leg. And we'll do is move that right weight out of the way, put your right hand on the floor, and we're gonna take that left weight, turn your palm open, towards the ceiling as you take that weight into the air above your left shoulder. It keep lifting the weight as you try turn your torso a little bit towards your right leg. Drop your left elbow to touch your knee or just to the outer knee. And they're gonna lift that weight back up with the left arm, and we bring that weight back down.

Once again, turn your palm up. Lift your weight with your left hand. Keep lifting. Get longer in your spine as you turn to your right. Elbow towards the knee, reach back up, and take that left arm down. Let's do one more.

Flip that palm up. Left arm comes up and we lift a little rotation to the right, elbow to right knee, Go back up and take that arm down. Alright. Let's stretch your right leg out and bring your left foot in. So let's grab your weight with your right hand. Left hand helps you stay long through the side body.

Flip your right arm up. Come up with your arm, lift, reach towards the ceiling, and turn a little bit to your right, to your left as you're lifting the weight with your right hand. Right elbow to left knee. Go back up. Look forward and take your right hand down. Flip your hand up.

Up we go. We're lifting, lifting, lifting, rotate, long spine, right elbow to left knee, reach back up. Take that right hand down. Flip your palm up. It's again, go up. Keep it lengthening as you turn towards your left leg.

Elbow to knee, reach up, and then bring that right hand down. Okay. Let's go ahead and put both feet on the floor now and gather both weights, we're gonna bring them in towards your chest. So as we start to lean back, let's hold those weights out in front of you. And then as you come forward, bring the weights back towards your chest. Hold those weights out as you're kinda doing a boat variation.

Bring the weights towards your chest as you lean forward. Go out. A little deeper core work. So some of that strength coming in and maybe also a little bit of that element of balance as you're figuring out how to tip back without falling back. K. Maybe one more time going back and forth. Last time. Let's go ahead and transfer our weights to the side for a moment.

As we get ready to come down onto your back, And let's slide that blanket that you might be sitting on out of your way. K. When that's out of your way, we'll grab the weights again and come down onto your back. Hey. Now when you get down to your back, let's lift your feet off the floor and raise the weights into the air above you again. So we're kind of combining strength and flexibility as we bring our weights towards the floor behind your head. And then as you exhale, let's separate the hand so you can swing the weights and they're outside the calf area, bring your weights together, as you reach them towards the floor behind your head and then curl up, and you've got weights besides your caps.

Back with your weights together and exhale curl up. A couple more times doing it in a way that feels good for you, maybe keeping your head down is best. But playing with different ways that we can work with bring a little more strength into the upper body as you do that work, which is also core engaging. One more. Curl up. And when the arms go back, let's end up with your arms above your head and then pull your elbows to the side of your ribs as you put your feet down and maybe your feet are a little bit wider than the width of your hips.

So try it out for a moment. If you can open your elbows, if you can open your arms out to the side. So that your elbows are on the ground, see if your forearms or the back of your hands come near the ground. If they don't, we're gonna go for straighter arms. So I want you to kinda do a little test, see what works for you.

Now let's keep your arms, whatever feels good for you, elbows in, or elbows away from your ribs. And from here, we'll do a little lift of the hips to make sure that your feet are wide enough to comfortably lift your pelvis. Hey. Now whatever version you're doing, we're gonna raise the weights up in the air. So they're above your elbows, perhaps And as you lift your hips, you're gonna straighten your arms out to the side or let your forearms drop out to the side. Lift those forearms and hands or weights or above your elbows as you come to neutral.

When you lift into your bridge, that you're arms open, palms face the ceiling, bring it back in, weights over your elbows, a little lifting up, arms out to the side. Let's do one more, a little bridge lift, with your arms out to your side. And then let's go ahead and come back to center and you can leave your, weights down for a moment as you tilt your knees in towards your chest. And then let's go ahead and rock back and forth to get ourselves back up. Okay. Now as we come back up, I want our blankets underneath your knees.

Is for a little bit of extra padding. And let's get yourself oriented just for a moment in your tabletop position. Wag your tail, shift your shoulders, whatever helps you get comfortable here. If you look down at your right hand slide your right hand another inch or 2 to the right. Let's take a moment to put your left hand on your right hand and treat your side body to a little stretch as your hips tilt back towards your heels.

So maybe that left side body gets a deeper stretch. One more moment with your ribs moving towards your thighs. Come back to tabletop with your left hand over to the left and your right hand on top of that left hand lower your head and let your hips tilt back. So we go for that right side body stretch. I feel like not a bad idea to do this on a regular basis.

And then let's slide your hands back out to what would be your tabletop, and let's curl the toes under and get ready to consider lifting the knees now and walk your feet right out to the edge of the mat, but your feet are on your yoga mat. So wide legs Press the floor away with your hands as you drop your head between your arms. Any of my alternate right knee bends, left heel drop down, drop that right, heel down, bend your left knee, and then alternate. Kinda feeling stretch through one leg and then the other. If you need to do this on your forearms, you can come down to your forearms.

Coming in just a one more lovely stretch for each leg. And then let's bring your knees down to the blanket. Now if you walk your hands towards your knees, curl your toes under, if you can, still trying to find ways that we might stretch the feet as we're aging. Let's grab your blocks and bring them four words and have them to the side of the mat for a moment. I'm gonna move the weights out of the way for now.

So now when you come up to this kneeling position, Let's go ahead maybe and take your right foot forward and then grab the blocks and squeeze them together. Alright. So now if we have the blocks out in front of you, just for a little transition, we're gonna take them all the way up into the air above you, and keep holding the weight with your left. Keep holding the block with your hands or switching props. Take the right hand down with that block. And as you touch the floor, you might make a fist and press the fist into your block as you arch and reach the upper arm over to the right.

Just grab the block with your right arm and lift back up to center. Take your left hand with that block down to the floor and maybe make a fist or put your fingertips there, press down as you lift and reach over to your left side with your right arm. Come all the way back up with both arms in the air and start to bring your blocks out to the side and down towards your hips as you curl your back toes under, lean forward with those blocks under your hands and lift your back knee up. Hey, focusing on some strength, some flexibility, So as you work through your lunge position here, take another moment, and we'll bring the knee down to the floor and work a little deeper into our front hip stretch look forward. Press into the feet, lift your hips up, look down, bring your knee to the blanket, look forward.

Left your hips, look down, and let's see if we can transfer that right leg back into the back of your mat for plank pose for a moment with your hands pressing into those blocks. If we're inclined to do a little downward dog, you can bend your knees, swing your hips up and back. Knees to the blanket, grab your blocks, bring them towards your knees as you come up to a kneeling position, relax your feet, and then we'll take that left foot forwards into that lunge. As you look straight ahead, let's bring those blocks together out in front of you and bring them away from your chest, take your arms up into the air above you, and we'll drop that left arm down to your sides make a fist and press your fist into the block as that right arm goes up and over to the left. Grab the block with your left hand, and we'll tip back up to center, look forward.

And with the right hand, it comes down with that block. Make a fist and press into the block as you tilt a little bit to your rights. Grab that block with your right hand, come all the way up, and then we'll take the blocks down to your sides. Lean a little forward. You've got blocks for your hands.

So curl your right toes under, lift your right knee, and we're in that high lunge with hands on blocks. Of course, shift them if you need them taller. Bring your right knee to touch the blanket and look forward in front of the hip stretch. Left your hips, look down at the floor, long spine, knee to the blanket, look forwards, Hips float up as you look down, and let's do one more looking forward into your lunge. Lift your back knee and look down and see if we like to come to plank with blocks or no blocks.

I'm gonna keep my blocks. And as I press my hand down and orient yourself in plank pose, let's bend the knees and then lift your hips and come into down dog and those blocks can also make it a little easier in your shoulders. So see if you appreciate that as you press your hips back and sink your heels a little more towards the ground while lifting up the ankles. Right? So you get a little sense that the skin around the ankles is lifting up. One more wonderful moment in your partial forward, Ben.

And then from here, let's bring your feet forward and put your heels on your blanket. And if you find it helpful, you could also take your blanket and fold it one more time. So we have a little bit more flexibility in the ankles flip your blocks tall. It generally works better for people and adjust your feet. So toast point out. So you could come down towards a squat with your hands on tall blocks and see if that does help, you go into a or squat with your heels up eyes looking forwards.

You could also have your hands on a counter or a chair. Something to help you keep that long spine as you settle for a moment. Looks like one more moment maybe enjoying potentially the possibility of enjoying your squats. And then we'll lift the hips up and such your feet on the ground in front of that blanket for a moment. As we do a bent, knee forward bend, fold over the legs, reach back, and we're gonna slide that blanket out of your way off your mat, then get back to that forward fold.

From here, grab your blocks and then come all the way up towards standing holding the blocks. We'll use them in just a moment as we spin around to face the long side of your mats. Okay. I'm gonna invite you to open your legs out to the sides. Alright. So now we're gonna hold the blocks in the hands and let your legs open, and let's turn your right foot out first. We'll do a little triangle pose variation.

Where as you hold the blocks out to the sides, palms face down, bend the tip to your right and bring your right block right above your shin and the left block to the side of your hip or waist. K. So you've got that left chest open and the block pressing against your right shin. So the shin pushes into the block. Let's again go out to straight arms. Look forward.

And we start to drop the right hand towards the leg, and the left side gets a little bit of a wedge here. So left chest open, the block on your right shin. How's that feel? Let's come back up one more time. Hold those blocks.

As we shift to the right shin on, block on the shin. Left hand's got that block. And let's try to roll open that left chest. I love the extra space. We get in that left shoulder with a block here.

If you tend to hyper extend right leg, press your shing into your block to get out of that hyper extended place. I think one more moment enjoying, again, energy and legs, long torso. So open the arms out wide, turn the foot forward, and then bring the arms down so they get a little rest. K. Bring your feet maybe closer together before turning to your left side. Okay. Grab the long end of the block.

We go out to the side. And as you tip, bring your block to your left shin and the right hand block towards your waist. K. Feel how that keeps that right chest perhaps a little more open. K. Let's go back out to arms open. Tilt a little to your left, the block on the shin, And the second block towards the waist or outer hip roll open right chest.

Come back out last time. Arms stay wide. We tilt to the left, bring your block to your shin, and the other one to your outer waist. K. Let's try to dial that in now. So if you hyper extend, press your shin into the block to get you out of that place and that left foot gets more engaged. Roll open that right chest.

You feel more space in that shoulder here. K. One more moment, rolling open that right chest. As we come up, arms out to the side turn your left foot forward we're gonna move your feet a little closer, turn your heels and toes out and then put your blocks on top of your thighs and then into the flat position. So as we anchor them here and lift your ribs a little bit and then lean forward, so your ribs kinda hold the blocks in place. Hands free.

So keep them here as your hands tip forward to touch the floor, those torso tips forward. And we're leaning over those blocks to have more open back. You can turn your toes to face straight ahead and keep enjoying that kind of forward holds with the top of the head pointing down. Take a big breath into your back body here. As we get ready to come up, let's grab those blocks with your hands and then slowly work your way up towards standing.

Let's heel toe your legs and feet towards each other and then bring the blocks down in front of your thighs. Right now, the balance part. Let's open your arms out to your sides, and hopefully they help you, find your way into your center. Shift onto your right foot and bring your left knee up, kick your leg out in front of you, and we're gonna take the blocks in the air as we bring your left foot down. Take your arms back out to your side, bring your right knee up, kick your leg out in front of you, bring your foot down as your arms come up overhead.

Arms out to the side, left knee up, kick out in front of you, Get long and tall as you step into your left foot. Arms help you with balance as you bring the right knee up kick your leg out in front of you, foot down, arms up in the air. Just try again, arms out. Bring your left knee up, kick out, foot down, arms up in the air. Just do one more arms out wide playing with your balance.

Knee up. Kick out. Oops. I'm rushing. Bring your foot down. Arms up. Since I messed that up, let's do one more cycle together.

Arms wide. Lift your left knee. Kick out. Maybe we're working with agility also here. Left foot down arms in the air. Arms wide, lift your right knee, kick it out, then put the foot down, take your arms up.

Alright. Nicely done. Bring your arms down. Wiggle your feet a little bit wider. Let's hinge from the hips and bring your hands to tall blocks. Now let's go a little wider with your feet.

So you have the opportunity from here to bring your elbows maybe down to your blocks. Look a little bit back into the space behind you spread those shoulders. And sometimes we might notice that doing forward bends and the standing position is a little more forgiving. What's a nice way to stretch legs, torso shoulders, than when we come down to sit. So just do a little comparison, noticing, as we are getting older every single day, how we are maybe appreciating forward events. I know I certainly like them a little bit more standing but I also try to practice equanimity, and I'll do them standing and sitting just to give myself that little experience of not having a strong preference one way or the other, that there's some benefit both in standing and sitting.

So let's bring your feet a little closer together, grab those blocks, and we're gonna send them back where they're more or less under your hips so that you can come down for a moment to sit on your flat wide blocks. And what we'll do is bring the feet together in front of you, and you might feel like you're seeing that really high and just give it a moment to see how that feels when you're sitting tall. Can you sense that your thighs are dropping down away from your pelvis? And that's all we're really trying to get to a place for more flexibility with the thighs going down. So we might hold the knees instead of tall and stay here and experiment to see if you can tip forward and put your hands on the ground. And if you need to wiggle a little bit to find that interesting spot where your torso is actually able to lean forward with your pelvis on something stable.

So in coming forward, if you feel like that's quite easy and you want a little more challenge, maybe you go down to one block to your agility to get into that new shape. Feet together, see if your thighs still can drop down and come forward. If not, go back to Two Blocks. K. So let's see as we come a little bit more into a seated position. If we can maybe bring that sense of equanimity into this shape, I'm just being with what is, what's it like to take that big breath in and big breath out and be really present to What's changing in your body as you're breathing in and out?

Okay. Witnessing that change that's happening within your breath cycle. There's a beginning, and there's an ending. When there's a beginning and an ending. And then maybe one more cycle, just bringing awareness without jodging or making stories about the beginning or ending, just watching. Brad cycle change.

Now if we walk the hands back a little bit, use your hands to help you bring your knees towards each other and lift yourself off that block or blocks and put one in front of you, leg out to the side, and then the other leg out to the side And I'd like you to have both blocks available as you stretch your legs now wider. Kinda like we did standing moments ago. So you might make a little table that might have a block. Whatever configuration helps you bring your elbows to your blocks and that you feel like you're leaning a little bit forward. So we're deepening through the hip creases.

Legs stretching, hopefully, somewhat evenly. And the further the blocks are away from you, the more you'll likely feel in your legs as you lean forward. I'm a big fan of holding the supporting the head here. So you might tip your hands up to support your foreheads. And once again, trying to encourage the thighs here to just gently press down towards the earth.

K. So similar to what we did in that standing and just notice if stories in your mind is different, or can we bring a sense of equanimity here to not trying to change things, just being with what is and watching how the sensations are not permanent. Our thoughts are not permanent. Our breath cycle is changing and kind of feel into the beginning. The opportunity to enliven some area of your body and maybe through that exhale, that ability to maybe ground and stabilize your body and perhaps even your minds, the end of exhale. Beginning for that life, energy, and that sense of stillness that comes with the end of the breath.

A couple more seconds as you are here. Alright. Now as we lean a little more back and hands on those blocks, We might use your hands to simply lift those legs up away from the ground and cross your ankles in front of you. And if we're okay sitting in that way for just a moment, having a nice tall spine and align yourself in a way that creates ease in your back and your knees. And thanks so much for being in class and going through some of our pillars of healthy aging where we focus on balance and strength and flexibility, agility, and equanimity. I hope they serve you well as companions in the future.

And thanks so much for being here. Until next time. Take care.


Jenny S
3 people like this.
Lovely “finale”  class ✨ I really enjoy the weight bearing exercises that are interspersed with deep stretches. This makes it feel good in my body and keeps my brain from worrying that I won’t be able to keep up!  This whole season has been such a JOY!  Happy Holidays and Take Good Care Melina 🙏🏻❤️
Christel B
1 person likes this.
Wonderful class! Thank you Melina and wishing you all the best for this holiday season and coming year.
Pam H
1 person likes this.
Thank you for a wonderful class! I enjoyed the weights!
Melina Meza
Happy holidays to you all and may these practices serve you well in staying healthy and strong in the new year.
2 people like this.
You are incredible! Thank you for this lovely practice 💛
Melina Meza
1 person likes this.
You are so welcome Summer! Thanks for taking class with me.

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