Yoga in a Chair

I had no idea that this yoga road was on my path called LIFE. The very first time I took a yoga class I loved it. It was slow and calming. The poses were easy. If I got tired I could just go into child’s pose and rest. But the second time I tried? I hated it. Like, super hated it. They did planks all the time and down dog was a resting pose. How is down dog a resting pose? It would be about 7 years until I decided to try yoga again. The only reason I did was because a new friend was the instructor. Boy, am I glad I did. My life is forever changed because I got over my yoga fear and took a chance.

Flash forward to another road on my path…teaching yoga. I never ever would have thought this would be something I would do. I never thought I would get such a rush out of people showing up to my class and letting me guide them through a practice. And I really didn’t think that I would have my own beginner class where I teach yoga while sitting in a chair. It continues to amaze me how life works. How one little thing can lead up to so many bigger things. How one trip to the local library to print something in a town with no internet would help mold me into the yogi I am today.

The town I live in is in the middle of nowhere. Lots of farming, lots of open space, no neighborhoods, no sidewalks. It’s also an area where houses are occupied for generations. You don’t find a “new” family living in the houses. Well, I take that back, because we are THAT family. You don’t normally find that because these houses aren’t normally rented out. Families have lived on properties for generations and they continue to. The people I meet at the library/community center all know each other and their kids know each other and their grandparents all knew each other. The reason I am telling you all this is because it paints a picture of the yoga community, or lack there of. There are no fancy studios. There are no expensive memberships. And there aren’t too many youngsters. I think I might be the youngest person who comes to the classes.

The other yoga teacher, who also teaches an exercise class, practically begged me to teach. She had mentioned needing a sub someday and I volunteered. I thought my teaching days would just be that; the occasional leading. I taught one class and she was telling me to have my own class. I thought about it, tried to tell myself not to do it, and then I was like, “F*** it! Let’s do this!” Sometimes that’s the best way to do things; jump right in! I found out later that part of her agenda was to try to get more people to come to the community center. Not only that, she knows the benefits of yoga and knows that yoga can really help with strength and balance for the older community. She wasted no time trying to recruit people to my class.

The downside? They see me, young yogi, and get scared. It does not matter how many times I tell someone that I didn’t look like this when I started or that you don’t have to be flexible. I can shout all day that I won’t fold you into a pretzel but they just won’t hear it. That’s when the idea of chair yoga came up.

Do you know that you can do a ton of yoga while sitting in a chair? It’s true! And you still get a really good workout while stretching and breathing and working on balance and flexibility. We decided to try the class for the month of November to see if we got any fresh blood. We advertised a bunch and talked to a ton of people about it. November 1st was the first class. I walked in and there were 8 people in my class! 8!!! My normal class usually has between 1 and 3 people. I walked in and shouted, “Oh my gosh! I’m so excited!!!” It was so fantastic! This week will be my 4th class and people are still coming back! It’s not 8 people every time, but it’s not 1 or 3 either!! People coming back is such a huge compliment!! And the feedback is all positive too. One lady says that she can already feel her balance getting better and (don’t tell the Tai Chi teacher) she likes my class more than the Tai Chi class! Ahh!! So awesome!!

My Tuesday class is now going to be Chair Yoga every week. There has been such overwhelming enthusiasm that there is no way I would switch it back now. And it gives me a chance to continue to share yoga with others. That really does bring me joy each week! And I get to see people’s progress. Once I start adding new things into our routine I am excited to see how everyone starts to gain more flexibility. I’ll bend these ladies into pretzels in no time!!

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sylviaq
    Nov 21, 2016 @ 21:07:24

    So inspiring! Proud of you!

    Reply

  2. Sarah Zinn
    Nov 22, 2016 @ 14:33:30

    So awesome! I really want to know the poses you are doing for chair yoga!

    Reply

    • Gwenniesmom
      Nov 22, 2016 @ 15:06:03

      We do a lot of basic stretching and warming up first. Then we flow through Warrior II while sitting in the chair. It’s actually a really good workout and stretch because you can hold the pose longer while sitting. Then we stand and do Warrior I and II but the chair is always there as a crutch. I think next month I am going to add in a down dog variation. But the basic idea is that we never sit on the floor so no one ever has to get up off the floor.

      Reply

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