Why adapting yoga practices is so important.
The image the media portrait about yoga, give the impression that yoga is for the young and flexible, which is not really what yoga is about.
In fact, if we think about the obvious benefits of yoga, such as improved mobility, flexibility and strength, yoga is actually more beneficial to the aging population.
With declining mobility, strength and flexibility as we age it is very important to make yoga accessible to the aging population and those with lower mobility because of their health issues.
A regular yoga practice can improve all of the above keeping our bodies mobile, strong and flexible as we age.
There are fears though associated with attending a yoga class for the elderly; fear of getting on a yoga mat on the floor, fear of standing back up, fear of falling, fears of not being able to do any of the practice.
Those fears are real and completely understable. This is exactly the place where chair based yoga slots right in.
Yoga practised sitting or standing by a chair or using it as a prop can offer all the benefits of a “regular” yoga practice. Chair based yoga is yoga adapted around the chair; the real flexibility comes from adapting the poses to suit your students
“Don’t adapt yourself to yoga; adapt yoga to yourself.”~T. Krishnamacharya
I have been teaching chair based yoga for sometime now and I love to see my students progress through their practice, address their own imbalances through what I teach them and feel happy and relaxed at the end of each class.
Yoga, when it is adapted around the individual, it can enrich people’s lives in more ways than physical. Yoga does not only address the obvious; low mobility, strength loss and loss of balance; but it can also address fatigue, insomnia, chronic pain and confidence.
Adapting yoga to your students needs, makes your students feel valued and unique, not just through the adaptation, but also because of the time you have spent getting to know them and creating a safe place for them to practice.
“Sthira-sukham asanam”The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (2.46)
Adapting asana goes beyond creating a safer way to practice for your students. Finding space and a foundation (chair) for proper alignment, allows your student to experience the benefits of the poses offered, without straining, compromising their breath or fear, all of which are contrary to a yoga practice.
Comfort should be in the heart of everyone’s yoga practice in fact, as the yoga sutras says “Sthira-sukham asanam” (Stable and comfortable pose/stance), which expands beyond the asana to a more comfortable way to breath and be with ourselves & our physical body in our practice.
I am so passionate about chair based yoga, about changing the world’s views on yoga. Yoga is for everyone and THE reason why adapting practices to suit is so important.
Make a difference – train to teach chair based yoga: