Welcome to Yoga for Aging Athletes

Welcome to Yoga for Aging Athletes—a resource to help keep you in the game. Here, yoga and Pilates teachers and athletes Sage Rountree and Alexandra DeSiato offer advice and answer your questions about how yoga will keep you active and balanced through the decades.

Sage (left), Alexandra (right)
Sage (left), Alexandra (right)

Use the links at left to read about us and get our tips—we post new content weekly. Visit us in person at the Carrboro Yoga Company in central North Carolina, and virtually by streaming our yoga and core-strength classes online anytime at YogaVibes:

Just One Pose: Standing Pigeon

Our “Just One Pose” posts answer the question: “If I have time to do just one pose, what should it be?” We’ll kick off with one of my favorites: standing pigeon.

Wes Rountree in standing pigeon
Wes Rountree, 45, in standing pigeon

Why

This multitasking pose builds balance in space, balance between the hip and lower portion of the standing leg, and balance between strength and flexibility in the glutes—the standing leg glutes have to work to hold you steady, while the bent leg’s glutes get a stretch. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck, making this a go-to when you have the time or energy for just one pose.

How

Stand tall, shifting your weight into one leg as you cross the opposite ankle over your standing leg’s thigh. Lower your hips back and down until you find a natural stopping point. This could feel like stretch in the bent leg’s glutes or inner thigh, or like work in the standing leg’s foot or hip. Make sure your standing leg’s knee points straight forward over your toes. Keep your spine long and use your arms for balance. Hands can be in prayer position, as shown here, or off to the sides.

Hold the pose for 5–15 breaths, and repeat on the other side.

Variations

If it’s tough to balance: rest one or both hands on a wall, table, or counter. Take off your shoes and try the pose in bare feet on a hard surface. (Conversely, to up the challenge, stand on carpet or a folded yoga mat.)

Tree pose, an alternative for those with bum knees or hips
Tree pose, an alternative for those with bum knees or hips

If your knee or hip won’t bend this way: substitute tree pose, shown above, instead.

For a bonus chest stretch: Reach your hands behind you. Use a belt or tie to help them connect, or interlace your fingers if you can.

—Sage