One way to improve our mood any day is to get up and move. It doesn’t matter how old we are or what kind of physical shape we are in, our Creator made our bodies to feel better when we are moving.
Unfortunately, not everyone is able or desires to jump into a vigorous exercise routine. Those who have replacement joints, problems with balance, trouble getting up and down from the floor, have limited mobility, or recovering from an injury or illness may find Chair yoga is one way to maintain range of motion and general health.
A while ago, my 86 year old father’s doctor prescribed yoga or tai chi to help build strength and improve balance. I’m sure my dad never dreamed he would be attending one of my Holy Yoga classes, but when I heard what the doctor ordered, I jumped all over it. I began reading and researching and practicing yoga in a chair myself and was delighted to find that a complete practice can be done either in the seat of chair or using the chair for a little help with balance in standing poses.
Serendipitously, Holy Yoga was offering a specialty training at just at the right time. I honestly thought I would be fine teaching chair yoga without it, but I signed up anyway. Once again, my Holy Yoga people are knocked my socks off with the quality of their training. I learned so much about chair yoga and how to help individuals maintain independence as they grow older or face other physical obstacles. The Chair/Senior training program prepared me for a whole new avenue of ministry and opened the door to be able to comfortably and confidently lead classes and help people improve their quality of life despite their physical limitations.
Guess what I have discovered? I think anyone who can’t comfortably do traditional yoga should give Holy Yoga chair a try. Here are the reasons why:
10 Benefits of Chair Yoga:
- Increases circulation
Yoga gets your blood flowing! Relaxation helps circulation, movement brings more oxygen to your cells (which function better as a result), and twisting brings fresh oxygenated blood to organs. Additionally, yoga increases hemoglobin levels in red blood cells, helping prevent blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. (reference)
- Stimulates digestion
Yoga not only helps stretch and tone the muscles of the abdomen, it can also stimulate the endocrine glands to make them work more efficiently. The entire digestive system thus becomes well oiled and functions smoothly to improve digestive health. (reference)
- Improves balance
Balance poses offer us both physical and mental benefits. Physically, we strengthen and elongate our muscles, get to know our center of gravity and how to align our bodies, improve the function of the equilibrium receptors in the body, and learn the important yoga principle of rooting down.
As for mental benefits, balance poses teach us how to keep our attention focused and disregard external stimulation, how to stay steady in one place for a while, and how to find inner center and equanimity—all these are important qualities both on and off our yoga mat. (reference)
- Increases health of joints and decreases joint pain
A recent study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society tested the effects of Chair Yoga on osteoarthritis and found it to be a safe and effective alternative pain management solution for aging adults with the condition. Pain, pain interference, gait speed, fatigue, and functional ability are all things that can be improved by gentle movements found in Chair yoga.
- Increase energy levels
Yoga practices are highly effective in reducing mind-body fatigue that zips up the energy levels in the body. Also, yoga is best known for lowering stress levels that ultimately elevates the energy levels in the body. (reference)
- Increases strength, flexibility, respiration
Strength in the body and confidence in the mind are increased for those with arthritis who take a weekly chair yoga classes. You do not have to get up and down off the yoga mat. You can receive all the benefits of yoga on the chair leading to reductions in pain and stiffness.
Breathing problems can be corrected by yoga through yoga’s science of the breath–Pranayama. Pranayama has various techniques designed to maximize the capacity of your lungs. Pranayama also helps in regulating the temperature of the breath flow which solves many of problems related to the lungs. (reference)
- Decreases risk for osteoporosis, therefore, fractures
A recent study found that practicing yoga for as little as eight to ten minutes daily can increase bone density.
- Releases endorphins which combats depression
One key way yoga alleviates stress is by decreasing levels of the damaging stress hormone cortisol. Yoga increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that stimulates the formation of new brain cells, increases brain plasticity, suppresses inflammation, and acts as a natural antidepressant. Doing yoga also causes an increase in the calming neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) that helps ease the symptoms of depression.
More than 90% of people start a yoga practice for stress relief or physical health benefits, but they stay with yoga for emotional or spiritual reasons. (reference)
- Improves sleep and insomnia
Maintaining a regular exercise routine is often associated with better sleep, and chair yoga is no exception. The exertion of this exercise can help ensure that you are ready to rest, and the accompanying reductions in stress and pain can reduce the chance that these disruptive discomforts will interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep. (reference)
- Develops core strength and decreases back pain
I think one of the best benefits of all is: Community
My students are enjoying the physical and mental benefits of chair yoga. They laugh and visit and move their bodies in new ways. And with Holy Yoga, they also get in touch with the True Healer through prayer, scripture, and worship music. I can’t recommend this training enough!
I had no idea that teaching Chair/Senior Holy Yoga would be such a BLESSING to me! I love the wisdom shared and heartfelt prayers and camaraderie experienced by the members of this specialty yoga class.
One of the biggest benefits to training with Holy Yoga is the instant community you become a part of! While our classes and ministries may look very different, as Holy Yoga instructors we are united with the same goal – to share the love of Jesus with those we meet and teach!
The next Chair/Senior Holy Yoga training starts May 7th with the next offering starting October 1st. To find out more about Chair/Senior Holy Yoga training click here
Post written by: Susan Shull.
Susan is a wife, mom, and grandmother to 6. She loves Jesus and learning more about His word. As a certified Holy Yoga instructor for the last 7 years and an essential oil junky, she is passionate about helping others learn about wellness and abundance. You can connect with her more at www.avintagefarmwife.com