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Friday, October 03, 2014
A Guide To Teaching Chair Yoga Classes
By Faye Martins
One of the greatest things about yoga is that it can be practiced by people of all ages and abilities. Even people who have trouble standing can enjoy the benefits of yoga through the practice of yoga in chairs. Teachers who want to reach the widest percentage of yoga students can really benefit from learning how to teach yoga in chairs. Here is a guide to teaching chair yoga classes that instructors can use to expand their practices.
Selecting the Right Chairs
Of course, one of the most crucial components of chair yoga is the chairs themselves. Teachers need to select chairs that are quite sturdy. The chairs need to have a flat seat that has a moderate amount of padding. There should be no arms on the chairs, but they should have straight backs.
If the class is going to be taught on a smooth floor, then it is best to place yoga mats underneath the chairs to keep them from sliding around. Alternatively, teachers can cut up an old yoga mat to create coasters to go underneath each leg of the chairs.
Setting up for the Class
The chair should be placed far enough apart so that each student can reach out their hands and legs without touching another student. Students will need around the same amount of space as students in traditional yoga classes.
Teachers of chair yoga classes will set up in the front of the class just like a traditional yoga class. The teacher will need to be sitting in a chair as well to avoid confusing students when showing them the poses. If the teacher's chair is placed upon a riser, it will make it much easier for every student to get an unobstructed view of the instructor during classes.
Skip the Music
Although soothing music can be very beneficial for most traditional yoga classes, it can often be a hindrance when teaching chair yoga classes. This is because the majority of students in the classes are senior citizens. Many of these older students have hearing problems, and they often will find it difficult to hear what the instructor is saying if music is playing in the background.
Shorten the Classes
Most typical yoga classes run somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 minutes to an hour, and some of the more intense classes even run 90 minutes to two hours. This will not be possible with chair yoga participants. Most chair yoga students are older and have less stamina than typical yoga students. Therefore, instructors teaching yoga in chairs need to shorten their lessons. It is best if classes run for around 20 to 30 minutes. At most, classes should run 45 minutes.
Work on Breathing
One of the most positive aspects of yoga for seniors is that it helps them with their breathing. Many older individuals have trouble breathing, which means that instructors should focus on teaching students proper breathing techniques to help give them a better quality of life.
Instructors who follow these tips will find great success when they are leading chair yoga classes. Teaching yoga is a wonderful way to make a difference in the lives of senior citizens. It can be a very rewarding way to teach yoga, and the smile on the faces of their students will reward yoga teachers many times over.
Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA.