The benefits of Chair Yoga for older adults have proven to be very rewarding not only to increase overall health but also as a way to motivate social engagement.
Yes, it’s true the therapeutic poses work the body, from head to toes, to the best of the student’s ability but maybe one of the best points is that students become part of a venue that allows them to make friends.
The methods used in Chair Yoga address the whole body in a single routine. Needless to say, it’s the type of Yoga done while seating on a chair.
For seniors, this is an added benefit as only the ideal effort is applied to each of the postures. The classes are shorter, and generally last 45 to 60 minutes.
The following information highlights some other great benefits of regular practice of Chair Yoga.
It Increases Circulation
Aerobic exercises increase the body’s circulatory and respiratory ability. It happens when the heart and lungs have to work harder to keep up with the body’s need for oxygen. To most seniors, gardening and housework are the only type of aerobic exercise they do.
Although these types of physical activities generally burn over 200 calories per hour, they’re not complete health maintenance systems. Nonetheless, they meet the aerobic definition.
The problem is that certain physical conditions restrain many of them from participating in more progressive activities. Hence, finding options to walking, running, or swimming, is often a challenge.
Regular Chair Yoga practice increases circulation. In essence, every movable part of the body is put to work in a Chair Yoga session. Even though we think of exercise as a way to achieve cardiovascular health, Chair Yoga also influences many other forms of circulation within the body.
All bending and twisting movements in a regular Chair Yoga session activate the elimination of toxins. That’s done every time you bend the waist in one direction or another. These movements stimulate the stomach which aids in digestion.
Chair Yoga encompasses the whole body. It includes routines for the feet, toes, hands, and fingers, so there is no part of the body left out. As all the body parts are put to motion, the immune system is also stimulated to get better at protecting, and increasing overall health.
Practice Makes Perfect
Just as it takes a lifetime to develop good health, It takes years to create poor alignment. Therefore, poor posture cannot be corrected in a short period. Improvements to posture will be seen naturally with regular practice. And for that, we apply daily posture awareness.
In my classes, I refer to posture awareness as homework. It usually draws a chuckle from students, but they also know that class time is the time to learn and practice Chair Yoga together.
In other words, the time away from the class is when you should put the principles you have learned in motion and adapt them into your lifestyle.
Chair Yoga may not be a cure all, but you will see improvements in every aspect of your life. So just like in your school-days, practicing your “homework” separates the success stories from those who see some modest improvement.
It’s important to take the time to be aware of your posture. A good way to do that is by increasing your awareness by looking at your profile in a mirror and any photographs of yourself.
Observe, your spine from top to bottom. It should be aligned so that it is fairly straight at all times. In fact, you should make a conscious effort, to keep your head and back straight during a number of daily activities such as standing, walking, reading, eating, sitting, lying, typing, and more.
If necessary, take the time to adjust your spine. I can’t stress this enough; educate yourself about your alignment and you’ll see positive results in the long-term.
Flexibility is the Greatest Strength
Flexibility is considered to be a by-product of yoga practice. But in the case of Chair Yoga, it is often down played or taken for granted. For seniors, the most important thing in life is mobility. Hence, I do need to stress that mobility increases with flexibility.
Mobility is what defines whether seniors are dependent or independent of other people. And how do you achieve independence? Certainly is through flexibility. Interestingly, many students have difficulty to even cross their legs.
Chair Yoga teaches these students how to free up their joints. It’s remarkable how pain becomes more manageable after every single practice. Not to mention the results achieved in the long term.
The benefits in this case are the increase in the range of motion that helps in the prevention of injuries, which may occur from excessive strain or falls. Consequently, a life-threatening situation can be avoided.
There is a significant amount of balancing exercises offered. Although, medication, inner ear problems, and other things can affect balance. Consequently, many seniors show great improvement in balancing their bodies within weeks of their first Chair Yoga class.
In conclusion, we may agree that balance and flexibility are an important part in the prevention of potential injuries. They can significantly improve the quality of life of these seniors. Luckily, a great amount of seniors have already realized that, and can be seen regularly at daily Chair Yoga classes all over the country.
However, a senior’s physical condition is not the only thing that affects dependence. Unfortunately, deteriorating diseases play a major role on one’ mobility and is completely independent from the lack of flexibility.
In cases like that, we do have to agree it becomes difficult, but not impossible to recover. Generally, it’s too easy for disabled seniors to confine themselves. It’s crucial that they make an effort to improve flexibility so they increase their chances of physical independence.
I see that as a must do towards independent living. After all, none of them would like their sake of existence to depend on their children or relatives.
Chair Yoga can easily work in harmony with most physical rehabilitation prescriptions. In fact, many of the professionals in this field recommend yoga to those recovering from injuries.
Yoga helps patients recovering from various traumas. Many of these patients often get discouraged to move ahead after injuries or life-threatening illnesses. Yoga shortens the bridge between suffering and recovery.
In fact, I’ve seen countless students that used yoga to help on the recovery of surgeries, strokes, heart attacks, and car accidents, among others.
As a yoga teacher, it’s very inspiring to play a role on people’s lives. It’s important to say that they’re the ones that found the courage to move on. And even more satisfying to know that yoga is now a part of their lives.
For the teacher, it’s an inspiration itself to be helpful. After all, helping and being recognized for it (just like everything else) are the major motivations of anybody’s lives.
Peace of Mind
Ultimately, Chair Yoga also teaches students to relax and quiet the mind. This is done mostly through meditation as it focuses on awareness of the breath.
Eventually, students are able control the mind more effectively, as well as focusing on positive vibrations.
It prevents depression. As the focus is entirely on the breath, our body embarks in a meditative journey. We could talk about the benefits of meditation for hours, but the focus here today is on Chair Yoga.
But, let me just say that it calms the mind by creating well-being and happiness.
I hope this post has helped you understand what Chair Yoga is how it benefits your body, mind, and soul. If you have any questions, or if there’s anything I can help you with, please drop a comment below and I’ll be more than happy to get back to you with more good and reliable information.