Happy International Yoga Day! Yoga is a fantastic way to enhance physical health and overall wellness for older adults. An exercise form that focuses on stretching, breathing, and meditation, yoga provides a host of benefits to seniors who partake. It not only loosens tight, painful muscles but also helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and build strength and balance. There are countless benefits, and you can read all about the benefits of yoga in one of our VIPcare blog posts HERE.
Regardless of all the positives yoga offers, rolling out a mat and twisting your body into all types of contortion poses may not exactly appeal to everyone. The fear of having to get up off the ground is real, is it not?! But fortunately, there is a gentler form of yoga that can help you achieve all the benefits without having to worry about getting up off the ground. It’s called chair yoga.
What is Chair Yoga for Seniors?
Chair yoga is an excellent way for seniors to reap all the health benefits of yoga. It also makes yoga more accessible to adults who have mobility limitations. Not everyone is comfortable or able to do all the up-and-down movements that are involved in traditional yoga. So, chair yoga helps to eliminate that restraint by having you sit in a chair.
The best part of yoga is that a vast number of poses, from spinal twists and hip stretches to chest openers and forward bends, can be modified so participants can do them while sitting in a chair.
As with any exercise routine or activity, you should skip any movement that causes pain or is too difficult. The number one priority is always to stay safe and comfortable. If you’re unable to reach as far as the pose calls for, simply go as far as you can. It’s always best to do less to avoid injury. Over time, your range and flexibility will improve, allowing for more fluid movements and longer stretches.
When doing chair yoga, be sure you use a sturdy chair that allows your feet to touch the ground. You don’t want a chair that will slide around or tip over easily when moving.
How to Get Started
You can find a lot of chair yoga routines online. Some wellness centers and gyms even offer online classes that you can watch and participate in right in the comfort of your home.
SilverSneakers, a fitness program available at no additional cost to many seniors enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, offers several virtual and on-demand yoga and yoga chair classes for adults.
Here is a short 30-minute chair yoga course that will move your body through a series of yoga poses, movements for core strength, and balance exercises that will help you build endurance and improve flexibility. This class is designed to boost your mood and promote an overall sense of well-being. You can watch it by clicking the play button below.