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Why Chair Yoga

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Sep 11, 2007
Isn't Yoga just for young "hard bodies," like you would see on the cover of a magazine? Don't you have to turn your body into a pretzel, to practice Yoga? These are, a few of the many, questions I am asked about Yoga and Chair Yoga. Any idea that Yoga is only for the fit, and young, is a complete myth. Anyone can practice Yoga, at any age, but not all Yoga styles are the same.

Many of us struggle, most of our lives, to find the optimum exercise routine, in order to stay in shape. As time goes by, we look for low-impact fitness solutions, due to excessive wear in our joints. It can't be helped that, joints will wear, as our bodies take a lifetime of stress, tumbles, and injuries.

Low-impact exercise philosophy works like this: "No pain - No gain," slogans are definitely short-term thinking. When you consider longevity, you want to receive maximum benefits, of a health maintenance program, without abusing or unnecessarily wearing, any body parts out.

It is far better to intelligently exercise the body, than to work the body hard with risk of injury. To injure oneself, while exercising, is irony in its purest form. After all, isn't the purpose of exercise to improve or maintain your health?

Some of us can also blame genetics, for ailments, as certain body parts wear out faster within particular families. I have seen this, "up close, and personal." Within the knees of my own family, for generations, there have been knee problems.

My mother, uncle, son, and I have all had knee problems, starting at a young age, and all of us are from the same direct bloodline. With my son, doctors told us he should have surgery on his knees, before he was 10 years of age.

So, the one reason to try a Yoga class is because you have found a low-impact exercise solution. Chair Yoga will develop or maintain the body's circulation, flexibility and strength, with very low impact. It is a complete health maintenance exercise program.

However, there are a multitude of reasons why people attend Chair Yoga classes. Over the years, I have seen clients, who have had a huge variety of ailments, take Chair Yoga classes for physical rehabilitation, and to maintain their overall health.

There is also the social factor. It's good to get out of the house and socialize with friends and family members in a different setting. In fact, Chair Yoga is just one of many activities that take place in the average senior center. You can usually find dancing, Tai Chi, various exercise programs, crafts, card games, and many more activities, in the average senior center.

Back to Chair Yoga: It goes by a variety of different names and is sometimes mixed with other forms of exercise, within the same class, such as: weight resistance, low-impact aerobics, Chair Pilates, and Tai Chi.

Some of the many names associated with these classes are: Stretch, Stretch and Tone, Senior Yoga, Wellness, and Senior Fitness. As mentioned before these classes may contain a mixture of low-impact exercises from different origins.

There is also, another reason to start a Chair Yoga class. What if you suddenly found your mobility limited or were confined to a wheel chair? A common belief is that, Chair Yoga is only for seniors. As you already know, limited mobility has nothing to do with age, and can be a problem, at any point in life.

Every week, I teach Chair Yoga classes in nursing homes, physical rehabilitation units, and adult day care centers. These clients look forward to their Chair Yoga classes every week. The workouts in these classes are restricted to sitting in your chair, but the same mental and physical health benefits apply to all of us.

So, there is no excuse for staying away from a Chair Yoga class. Anybody, at any age, can join a friendly group of people who seek to gain the rewards of good health.
About the Author
Paul Jerard, is a co-owner/director of Yoga teacher training at Aura Wellness Center. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher.
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