As Yoga becomes increasingly popular, so too is Chair Yoga – an adaption to mat yoga that keeps with the adage that ‘Yoga is for Everyone’ or #yogaforeverybody in today’s social media world. And so it should be, thinks Louise Curran, a 200-RYT Yoga Alliance Yoga Instructor (Chair Yoga YA CPD) who is teaching Chair Yoga at various venues in Wicklow. “It isn’t exclusive to those who can touch their toes!” Chair Yoga is suitable for those who may find a regular yoga class too strenuous, those who may be completely new to yoga, recovering from injury or illness or generally less active and mobile. Anyone with a willingness to explore the mind-body connection is invited to join. If not for yourself, you may be thinking of a loved one who could benefit from Chair Yoga.
Louise is running two weekly Chair Yoga classes at The Ananta Yoga Studios in Wicklow Town as well as classes in Laragh and Aughrim with great feedback from her students. She also runs classes in nursing homes and other organisations.
A Chair Yoga class takes students through centring and breath-work, followed by postures that let the joints move through their range of movement whilst seated or through use of the chair whilst standing. These postures provide gentle stretching, improved strength and flexibility, as well as helping students to find balance and calm in everyday life. Without exercise, essential elements of functional fitness will decline as we get older. But it is our inactivity and not necessarily aging (we all age differently) that can lead to this decline. We need to keep moving (appropriately) to maintain our independence, both strength and flexibility of muscles and joints, as well as our balance. The social aspect of group exercise is just as important. Feedback from students has included: being able to put socks and shoes more easily, greater range of movement whilst reversing or turning during driving, reduced shoulder and arm pain, increased control and movement of feet and hence more balance, freedom within the body – and calmness in the mind.
A recent study, conducted by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, showed that Chair Yoga is proving to be an effective way to reduce pain and improve quality of life while avoiding pharmacological treatment or adverse events. Closer to home, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland published an article about the potential benefits of Yoga – more specificially, Chair Yoga, for people living with Parkinson’s.
If you are interested, or know someone who may be interested, in taking a class with Louise, you can chat to her or text on 087 603 2202 or private message her on facebook/louiseyoga12.