By Faye Martins
Is there really a need for chair yoga precautions? As a safety adaptation of a relatively low-risk form of exercise, chair yoga practitioners can expect to receive the benefits of yoga with additional support and safety. Chair yoga can allow the elderly to perform yoga without the difficulty of getting on and off the floor for yoga poses. It can also allow seniors or those with disabilities the support necessary for performing certain poses without losing their balance. But teachers and students of chair yoga should take care not to fall into a false sense of security since there still are some risks inherent in chair yoga.
Chair Yoga Practitioners
Due to the fact that chair yoga is ideally suited to individuals with range of motion problems or physical limitations, practitioners include the elderly who find traditional yoga postures difficult or yogis with disabilities who require adaptations in order to practice yoga.
For this reason, instructors should give chair yoga precautions and take extra care to be aware of any physical disability or limitations that each student has. Preventing injury includes ensuring that students are not pushing beyond their abilities, despite the fact that adding the chair helps yogis with balance and support. Some students will require additional modifications of yoga poses, and yoga instructors should be qualified to make suggestions in accordance with the student’s medical or physical needs.
Although it is nearly impossible to choose poorly, chair yoga precautions could be as simple as advising practitioners that they should select armless, straight-backed chairs with no stability issues and place them on a flat, even surface. Students should notify the instructor immediately if the chair is unstable or rocks on its legs in any way.
Practitioners should also wear comfortable, moderately close fitting athletic clothing to avoid overheating or falls related to clothing catching on chairs or other surfaces. Seniors and office workers often wear shoes in their classes, because senior centers often have cold floors and no yoga mats. Office workers will use any open space the facility has available.
Chair Yoga Practice
Students with breathing difficulties can overdo it, so instructors should make students aware of the danger of feeling dizzy or close to blacking out. Despite the additional support that a chair can offer, falls are still possible and every precaution must be taken to avoid injury.
Other chair yoga precautions include proper warm up and a slow progression through the series. Practitioners who struggle with balance or certain postures should be careful not to attempt more difficult yoga poses until they have mastered the easier poses since mastery will bring additional strength and flexibility.
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