Monday, March 28, 2016

The Benefits of Teaching Chair Yoga: Accessibility

By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Chair Yoga classes offer students many of the same benefits as traditional classes. A regular practice of asanas, pranayama exercises and meditation techniques offers students an increased level of flexibility, more physical strength and a calmer, more focused mind. As a certified Yoga teacher, you are probably aware of the profound transformation that can occur when a practitioner commits to a regular practice. In the same way, participatingin Chair Yoga classes several times a week will offer students many of the same benefits as a traditional Yoga class.

It is quite common for individuals, who are challenged with any number of health issues, to feel intimidated about participating in a traditional Yoga class. Some of the more common health issues that affect a student's ability to safely and comfortably participate in regular Yoga class are healing from surgery, healing from a traumatic brain injury, older students, and students with underlying serious health issues, such as multiple sclerosis and cancer. When you offer Chair Yoga classes to these specialized groups of students, you will be enabling them to reap the benefits of a regular practice in a safe and accessible manner.

Generally speaking, there are two categories of students who frequently seek out Chair Yoga classes. The first category of students is often comprised of experienced Yoga practitioners, who are dealing with some type of challenging physical health issue. The second category of students is usually made up of practitioners who are new to the practice, but who have heard about how effective and helpful a regular practice of Yoga can be during the process of healing from a serious illness or injury. 

Many of the new students who are drawn to Chair Yoga classes have been quite physically active in the past. Other new students may be motivated to take a Chair Yoga class because their doctor told them that they need to get more exercise, in order to improve their level of physical health. In either case, a regular practice of Yoga, with or without a chair, will benefit all of the students mentioned above. Additionally, when you offer Chair Yoga classes to students in your community, who feel more comfortable practicing with the support of a chair, you are doing a great service. 

Many of these students would otherwise not participate in any form of physical fitness if you did not offer accessible and welcoming Chair Yoga classes. There is a fine art to sequencing an effective, safe and challenging Chair Yoga class. The way that you sequence a class will depend on the group of students whom you're teaching. There are many different ways to sequence Chair Yoga classes, in order to more fully and appropriately accommodate the specialized group of students with whom you are working.

If you are a newly certified Yoga teacher, by offering Chair Yoga classes in your community, you will also carve out a specialized niche for yourself as a teacher. Depending on the area where you live, securing a paid position as a Yoga teacher in a local studio or health club may be quite competitive. In addition, if you are planning on opening up your own Yoga studio, you may find that the market where you live and work is quite difficult to break into. By offering specialized classes, you will be creating a teaching niche for yourself, which will help you to be more competitive as you establish yourself in your community as a professional Yoga teacher.

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at:

© Copyright 2016 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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brenda turner said...

How do i get training?

parvezbdjsr said...

Participating Chair Yoga classes several times a week will offer students many of the same benefits as a traditional Yoga class.

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