For the last few months, I have been teaching chair yoga classes at In Fine Feather Yoga on Mondays and Thursdays at 12:00pm. I thought I would share some of my experience in teaching this class through what I have observed. June is Senior’s Month. Initially I was going to write about the exciting topic of fall prevention (yes, for health promotion nerds like me fall prevention is an exciting topic!) but decided to write about Yoga instead. Why Yoga and why I recommend it especially to individuals of all ages. As a Recreation Therapist I’ve recommended yoga to a wide variety of people for the researched physical and mental health benefits. In my opinion seniors have the most to gain from a regular yoga practice. Increased strength and mobility; pain management; reduced stress, anxiety and depression; better focus; better balance (ie: fall prevention!); and reduced blood pressure are just a few of the benefits.
There’s a stigma that yoga is about being able to twist yourself into a pretzel or stand on your head, that you have to be flexible and athletic. Not true! Anyone can do yoga!!
Stop for a minute, close your eyes while you take a deep breath in and a slow exhale out. Notice how you feel. There, you just did yoga! Yoga is about tuning into your body, your breath and your mind.
If you’re interested in trying out a class, here are some pointers to get started:
~Check with your health care provider(s), let them know you’re interested in starting a yoga program, and find out if there’s any limitations you need to consider.
~Find a class that is right for you. While anyone can do yoga, not every class is right for everyone. Classes can vary from an intense work out in a hot room to a lying down meditation. Look for words like Intro, Gentle, Chair, and Beginner.
~If you have concerns getting up and down from the ground try Chair Yoga.
~Talk to the Yoga Instructor! Tell them about any physical limitations or health concerns you may have.
~Invite a friend to come with you. Going together can help with some of the initial nervousness of trying something new and you can motivate each other to stick to it.
~Exploring mindful movement while challenging your strength, balance and focus is part of the yoga practice. Knowing when not to do something is just as important. Listen to your body. If the teacher is instructing a movement or pose that doesn’t feel right for you, don’t do it.
A safe and easy yoga practice you could do right at home is a Gratitude Journal. Spend 5 minutes a day (or more!) writing down what you’re thankful for in that moment then pause and notice how you feel. It’s that easy. Try it as you start out your day to uplift you and set your tone for the day, or at the end of the day before bed as an aid for lowering stress hormones and promoting better sleep.
I’d like to express my gratitude to for all the wonderful people is this neighbourhood and I would love to see your first introduction to yoga be with me on Mondays or Thursdays at 12:00pm. Even if you are recovering from and injury or looking to get back into the practice, this would be the place to start. You can reach me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, I am happy to answer any questions you may have about making yoga a part of your life. Namaste!