By Faye Martins
Is there a need for chair yoga precautions? As a safety adaptation of a relatively low-risk exercise, chair yoga practitioners can expect the benefits of yoga with additional support and safety. Chair yoga can allow the elderly to perform yoga without difficulty getting on and off the floor for yoga poses. It can also give seniors or those with disabilities the support necessary for performing certain poses without losing 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
Since chair yoga is ideally suited to individuals with range of motion problems or physical limitations, practitioners usually include the elderly who find traditional yoga postures difficult or yogis with disabilities who require adaptations in order to practice yoga. Additionally, office yoga classes use chairs, and office workers come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Therefore, we want to avoid putting students at risk.
For this reason, instructors should give chair yoga precautions and take extra care to be aware of any physical disability or limitations each student has. Preventing injury includes ensuring that students are not pushing beyond their abilities, even though adding the chair helps yogis with balance and support. Some students will require additional modifications of yoga poses, and instructors should be qualified to make suggestions based on 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 to select armless, straight-backed chairs with no stability issues and place them on a flat surface. Students should notify the instructor immediately if the chair is unstable or rocks on its legs in any way.
Yoga Students in Shoes
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 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. Falls are still possible despite the additional support a chair can offer, 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.
When teaching yoga to students with skeletal health problems, there are a few things to remember. First, students should get clearance from a physician before participating in yoga. Second, teachers should be aware of the student’s limitations and modify the poses and props accordingly. For example, if a student has wrist problems, he or she should avoid or modify poses that bear weight on their hands or wrists. Third, emphasize safe alignment in all poses and provide modifications as needed. Finally, please encourage students to listen to their bodies and refrain from pushing themselves beyond their limits.
High Blood Pressure (HBP)
Again, students should consult with a physician before attending yoga classes. If you are a teacher, it’s important to be aware of the needs of all your students. This includes students who have high blood pressure. When teaching chair yoga to students with high blood pressure, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind.
First, inversions are not recommended. Modify any poses that require the head to be below the heart. Second, avoid poses that require deep twisting or folding the body in half. These types of movements can increase blood pressure. Instead, focus on gentle stretches and twists that can be done without force. Finally, do not rush through transitions between poses. This will help students to avoid feeling dizzy or lightheaded. By following these simple guidelines, you can make sure that your chair yoga class is safe and enjoyable for all your students.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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