Anyone that can sit in a chair can benefit from practicing chair yoga. Unfortunately there are many reasons people give for not doing chair yoga. Virtually all of these reasons are due to misunderstandings.
This article should clarify the most common reasons why people are reluctant to consider chair yoga.1) "I'm too old to do yoga.".People of ALL ages are practicing chair yoga right now.
Classes are typically geared towards seniors, with the average age in most being 70-something. We have had students in their 90s.2) "I've got health issues.".Most people in chair yoga classes DO have health issues, and many are there because a health care professional that knows about their problems recommended it. A good chair yoga teacher will ask about and be aware of any limitations you might have.
Chair yoga has helped our students with the symptoms of many health issues including high blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, arthritis, vertigo, multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, and chronic pain to name just a few conditions.3) "I'm not flexible enough to do yoga".Chair yoga classes are NOT designed for hard-bodied 20-somethings that can do poses that look impossible. Many people starting a chair yoga class have issues with flexibility, and your teacher will help modify the poses to accommodate that.
Your flexibility should get better and better each day you practice chair yoga.4) "I don't have time.".
We all make time for what is important, and what is more important than your health? If you regularly practice your chair yoga you'll have more energy and be more effective, and will be able to get that much more done. You'll feel better while you're going about your busy schedule, too.5) "I'll feel awkward in the class.".The people that go to chair yoga classes are all likely to either be feeling the effects of aging, have health issues, or both, so you probably won't stand out for those reasons. All yoga classes, not just chair yoga classes, have people with varying levels of experience and capabilities, so yoga instructors are specially trained to help everybody feel good about their progress no matter what level they are at.
A good instructor will take poses step by step and at every point say something like, "this might be your pose today", giving you explicit permission to stop when your body says stop.6) "I wouldn't look good in one of those little yoga outfits.".Generally the students in a chair yoga class do NOT wear special yoga clothes.
Some may come to class wearing sweats, while many simply wear loose-fitting, comfortable streets clothes.7) "I don't want to buy a lot of special equipment.".While it is true that there are whole catalogs full of yoga gear, the only prop you really need is a chair. Sometimes the student needs to elevate their feet somewhat, but things you can find around the house, such as a phone book, can be used for this purpose.
If you are practicing in a class environment then the studio or sponsor typically provides any props used in class.8) "I don't know where to go.".Ask about chair yoga at yoga studios, fitness centers, community centers, YMCA/YWCA. Search the internet on "chair yoga" plus the name of your metropolitan area. If you are in a retirement facility, ask the activities director.
If that doesn't work there are some videos available.9) "I don't want to learn a new language.".Yoga originated in a part of the world where the language was called "Sanskrit", and most poses do have a Sanskrit name. In traditional yoga classes the instructors refer to the poses by their Sanskrit name. However, chair yoga instructors often don't use Sanskrit names for the poses, and if they do, they usually mention the English equivalent, too.
You'll probably hear terms like "forward fold".10) "Yoga might conflict with my religion.".
Historically, yoga was meant to be a total way of life, but very few people that practice yoga in the Western world subscribe to that approach. Most people in our society become involved in yoga for physical and mental fitness. This is especially true for those in a chair yoga program, so most chair yoga instructors don't emphasize the spiritual aspects of yoga..Mark Franklin enjoys telling people about Liz Franklin's Yoga In Chairs(r) because he knows it is helping people live healthier, happier, and longer lives.
If you want to find out about her special style of chair yoga, visit http://www.yogainchairs.com.
By: Mark Franklin