If you have any one of the many health challenges that impact your level of energy, mobility, ability to change planes, or pain, could chair yoga be the answer to working alongside your health challenges?
There are many benefits to an active lifestyle and to participating in wellness activities such as yoga. Practicing yoga regularly:
- Brings balance to your body
- support stronger and more flexible bodies
- helps our minds be more resilient and clear
- improves our posture
- supports deeper breathing
- and can help manage pain
However, if your mobility and/or energy are limited, yoga can be challenging, and even harmful. This is why it’s important to find a yoga practice that works for you, your lifestyle, and your body.
Yoga, often touted as available to anyone, can be a struggle or even dangerous to your well-being when not practiced under a qualified teacher who understands and acknowledges YOUR limitations.
I know. I’ve been there. Having had long periods where I was unable to lift my arms more than a few inches, stabilize any position, or look up higher than the horizon, I was very selective in who I would work with.
Personally, I found Iyenger Yoga to be my perfect match. Iyengar yoga uses props such as belts, blocks and blankets to aid in achieving the desired alignment while minimizing the risk of injury or strain. Through private instruction and participation in a small therapy class, where we each followed a custom progression of yoga poses unique to our situation and under close monitoring, I experienced much healing.
Unfortunately, depending on where you live, access to qualified Iyenger teachers is limited. And depending on your circumstances, you may or may not be able to safely participate in group sessions.
Chair Yoga for Limited Mobility
If this is your situation, I encourage you to look into chair yoga. Chair yoga provides many of the same benefits as ‘regular’ types of yoga. Over time, chair yoga may even help propel you to other types of yoga that incorporate more movement.
The Accessible Yoga Foundation is one such organization that offers accessible yoga, as does Yoga International. I have practiced and found great value in chair yoga sessions led by the Founder and Director of Accessible Yoga Foundation, Jivana Heyman.
In this article 6 Benefits of Chair Yoga by Richard Kravetz, you’ll find 8 chair yoga poses to start with. Mr. Kravetz has been teaching yoga to adults and children with special needs for 14 years.
A Few Tips Before You Start Chair Yoga:
- Talk with your healthcare provider before starting any program.
- Modify all exercises as needed and only do what you can safely do. For example, if you can’t lift your arms, is it safe for you to extend them in front of you or even just over your lap?
- Look in your area for a qualified teacher. You might even find a class where you can socialize and meet new friends.
Chair yoga is in the process of being formally recognized as a type of yoga. As it gains prevalence, it will become easier to find access to classes and teachers. Remember, a good teacher will want to know about any limitations you have. Don’t be afraid to share your concerns; you know your body better than anyone else and owe it to yourself to create the best experience possible.
This information provided is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be medical or psychological advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care practitioner with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before making changes to your diet or lifestyle. See full disclaimer for more information.
Are you interested in bringing more balance to your life and business? As a business and lifestyle coach and mentor, I empower individuals with health challenges to learn how to make YOUR life work for YOUR business and YOUR healing. If you’d like to learn more, please fill out this form for more information.