Yoga for mobility: a 15 minute routine

Yoga for mobility: improve your flexibility and movement with these yoga postures

Image of yoga class with varying ages of women
(Image credit: Getty 1304188854)

Yoga is commonly known to increase your flexibility but did you know that you can also practice yoga for mobility? 

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise where we apply a certain amount of stress to our joints, muscles and tissues, to build bone strength, improve flexibility of the muscles, and increase mobility. All of these things become important as we age – especially maintaining bone density – so, if you want to practice yoga over 50 (opens in new tab), then we need to get to work now. 

These postures will help improve your mobility but take them at your own pace, your body will tell you when you need to stop. Engage your muscles as you practice to get the full benefits. You shouldn’t experience any pain while doing these yoga postures and if you do, please stop and rest. Not only will you be building strength but you’ll also be loosening the muscles around the joints. Tight muscles can limit your movement so these yoga postures are also designed to remove tension that you might be holding in your body.

If you’re struggling with any joint pain, check out our guide on how to do yoga with bad knees (opens in new tab) and our favorite wrist-free yoga flow (opens in new tab) sequence. And remember to get yourself one of the best yoga mats (opens in new tab) to practice on, too. 

 Cat/cow 

Image of yoga pose

(Image credit: Kat Bayly)

Step 1: Begin on all fours stacking your shoulders over your wrists and knees under your hips. Allow your spine to be in its natural position.

Step 2: Spread your fingers and point your toes towards the back of your yoga mat.

Step 3: As you inhale, tilt your pelvis dropping your abdomen towards the floor. Lift your chin and look up without straining your neck.

Step 4: As you exhale, tilt your pelvis the other way. Press into your hands. Round your back, pressing your shoulder blades towards the ceiling. Bring your chin to your chest.

Step 5: Repeat this action 5-10 times, syncing the movement with your breath.

This pose is great for freeing the spine and keeping it healthy as we age. It also helps to build strength and flexibility in the wrists. 

 Thread the needle  

Image of yoga pose

(Image credit: Kat Bayly)

Step 1: From the all fours position, walk your right hand forward keeping your elbow straight.

Step 2: Slide your left arm underneath your right arm, turning the left palm up as you do so.

Step 3: Rest the left side of your head and face onto the floor, making sure your neck is comfortable. If you experience any discomfort in your neck, consider placing your head onto a cushion or folded blanket.

Step 4: Once you’re in this position, you can either keep your right arm straight or bring your hand next to your head, with the elbow bent. Bending the elbow can deepen the posture and the twist through the spine.

Step 5: To come out of the posture, bring your right hand next to your head and press into it. As you do this, slide your left arm back to the center and press yourself up onto all fours.

Step 6: Repeat the same action. This time, walk your left hand forward and slide your right arm underneath the left. 

Thread the needle is ideal for releasing the muscles around the shoulders, upper back and neck. It produces a spinal twist helping to keep the spine youthful.

 Lunges  

Image of yoga pose

(Image credit: Kat Bayly)

Step 1: From all fours, step your right foot forward between your hands. If required for your body, walk your left knee back slightly.

Step 2: Frame your foot with your hands. You can be on your fingertips or, if the floor is too far away for you to do this comfortably, try bringing your hands onto your thigh.

Step 3: Take a few deep breaths here, working on edging your hips forward and down.

Step 4: Release your hips back slightly to come out. Place your right knee next to your left and repeat. This time stepping your left foot forward.

There are many benefits of lunges (opens in new tab), and holding lunges can bring a lot of freedom to your hips. They’re a good way to release tension and to loosen the hips, making walking and moving easier. They can also help free up the lower back.

Child’s pose 

Image of yoga pose

(Image credit: Kat Bayly)

Step 1: From all fours, slowly bring your hips back towards your heels. You can keep the knees together or have them apart. Choose the option that feels most comfortable for your body.

Step 2: Extend your arms forward or (my favorite variation) make a pillow with your hands and rest your forehead on the back of your hands.

Step 3: Take 3-5 deep breaths here, sinking your hips back with every exhale.

Step 4: You can always use a cushion under your hips or head to make this posture more comfortable. Remember, you shouldn’t feel any pain in your knees and shouldn’t be straining.

Child’s pose is wonderful for extending your spine and creating space there. You also have a hip and groin opening as well as being able to stretch the lower back muscles and open the shoulders. This is an all round goodie of a posture for mobility.

Wide legged forward bend 

Image of wide legged forward bend

(Image credit: Kat Bayly)

Step 1: Make your way to stand, facing the long side of your yoga mat. Place your feet around a leg’s distance apart, feet parallel to the short sides of your mat.

Step 2: Clasp your hands behind your back, or use a scarf or belt, and lift your chest as you inhale.

Step 3: On an exhale, fold forward allowing your arms to come over your head, as far as is comfortable for you. You can allow your knees to bend, if you prefer.

Step 4: Take 3-5 deep breaths here before pressing into your feet to slowly come up.

This posture is great for stretching the inner thighs and hamstrings. It also opens your hips, ankles and shoulders.

 Triangle pose  

Image of yoga pose

(Image credit: Kat Bayly)

Step 1: With your legs wide, turn your right toes out to the short edge of your yoga mat. Turn your left toes in so the foot is on a diagonal.

Step 2: Bring your arms wide, parallel to the floor at shoulder height. Stretch your fingers wide.

Step 3: Inhale and as you exhale, fold down over your right leg. Bringing your hand to your right leg wherever you can reach. Bring your left fingers to point towards the ceiling, palm facing out.

Step 4: Take 3-5 deep breaths here before pressing firmly into your feet and lift up. Repeat, folding over the left leg.

Triangle pose is a deep side stretch, helping to open your torso with its gentle twisting action. It’s also good for opening the hips, groin, ankles and shoulders.

Warrior 2  

Image of yoga pose

(Image credit: Kat Bayly)

Step 1: Keeping your legs wide, turn your right toes out to the short edge of your yoga mat. Turn your left toes in so the foot is on a diagonal.

Step 2: Bring your arms wide, parallel to the floor at shoulder height. Stretch your fingers wide.

Step 3: Inhale and as you exhale, bend into your right knee so your knee stacks above your ankle. Press back into your left leg, planting the outer left foot down.

Step 4: Sink your hips down and take 3 deep breaths before exiting the posture.

Step 5: Repeat on the other side, bending into your left knee.

Warriors are superb for improving the mobility of the knees, ankles, hips and groins, helping to build strength in the leg muscles and opening the joints of the lower body.  

 Standing backbend  

Image of yoga pose

(Image credit: Kat Bayly)

Step 1: Bring your feet to hip distance apart. Press firmly into your feet and engage your thigh muscles.

Step 2: Place your hands on your hips and inhale, lift your chest up. As you exhale, begin to arch back gently, dropping your tailbone and pressing the hips forward.

Step 3: Stay for 3 breaths before pressing into your feet and coming back to a straight spine.

Backbends are perfect for extending the front of the body. This particular one is also beneficial for the knees and shoulders. It also contributes towards keeping your spine healthy to further improve posture and mobility (opens in new tab)

Kat is a yoga teacher with over five years teaching experience with a speciality in supporting injured students. She is qualified to teach Hormone Yoga Therapy and is currently studying to become a Yoga Therapy Practitioner. Alongside this, Kat has written about yoga and mindfulness for T3 and is the founder of Kalindi Yoga.