chair yoga courseBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

“We can never get a re-creation of community and heal our society without giving our citizens a sense of belonging.”

— Patch Adams

Chair Yoga classes create special bonds for practitioners. From birth to old age, the desire to be accepted is an overwhelming prerequisite for happiness. For people who suffer from chronic illnesses or disabilities, however, the difficulty of participating in social or physical activities often hampers their ability to establish bonds or to feel like part of a community. This complicates already existing limitations and frequently leads to additional physical and emotional barriers.

Chair Yoga is a relatively new Hatha-based Yogic venture, designed to make classes more accessible to people who would otherwise be unable to participate in physical Yoga or other exercises. Using adaptations of traditional poses – combined with chairs for seating or support – participants can enjoy the benefits of mental and physical activity, while experiencing the joy of being part of a group. Since Chair Yoga is often taught in community, senior, or medical centers, classes offer members an opportunity to meet and share stories with people who have similar challenges.

Although Chair Yoga provides many of the same benefits as traditional Hatha Yoga, it also has the potential to create emotional bonds that improve the quality of life and health of its participants.

Special Social Benefits of Attending Chair Yoga Classes

• Researchers have found that people are generally happier when they are around other like-minded people.

• People who feel connected to others are healthier both physically and mentally. They also recover from illnesses and injuries more quickly.

• People benefit when they are able to share their stories with other people who understand and cope with similar issues. They also learn from the diversity of opinions and coping mechanisms.

• Studies have shown that happiness is contagious and that it has a lasting, positive effect on the lives of others, as well. Improved moods will improve the quality of life outside the classroom.

• Participants often celebrate successes together and support each other during difficult times.

• It is much easier to have fun and become motivated with other people who share a common interest.

• There is security in knowing that classes are led by well-trained Chair Yoga instructors.

• Participants feel better, which results in the cultivation of better states of mind and relationships.

The old saying that “a problem shared is a problem halved” may be especially true when it comes to the special bonds in Chair Yoga class.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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