Did you know that?
47% of people are more likely to maintain a wellness routine when held accountable by a class or teacher
38% of yogis planned on engaging in more wellness activities off the mat in 2019
In addition to in-person classes, people also turn to yoga guided by video or app (24%) and meditation guided by video or app (22%) to de-stress
A whopping 86% report experiencing a positive improvement in mood after doing yoga and 43% say they feel very happy after yoga
Source: Eventbrite Blog
This is great and all this evidence shows that Yoga, and going to Yoga classes is beneficial for us. But did you also know that most of the classes on offer are not accessible to many in our community? Or that many people experience feelings of fear and anxiety when it comes to the thought of doing Yoga? I have talked to hundreds of people over the years I’ve been teaching Yoga and there’s 4 main things I hear from them:
“I’m scared of yoga”
“Yoga stresses me out”
“I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” or
“I’m not “good” at Yoga”
It makes me really sad to hear these things, as I too have felt like that before. I get it. I’ve been in many classes where I’ve been yelled at, pushed or pulled into poses that hurt me, or simply just left out and ignored when I couldn’t do something the teacher asked. So, I get it. In fact, ask me 7 years ago – and I would have told you I wasn’t “good enough” to be a Yoga teacher. That’s truly how I felt before I found Chair Yoga. So, hearing this makes me sad, yes, but it also makes me so excited at the same time because I know how Chair Yoga can help to change these people’s experience of Yoga, just as it did mine. I know that once they come into my class, workshop, stall or wherever it is I meet them – I can show them that they most certainly are good enough and that they equally deserve to access these benefits too. And I can show them a way to practice that is not going to hurt them, or disempower them, or make them feel less than.
Yoga is NOT about perfecting some pretzel shaped pose on a mat, it’s not even 1% about being “flexible”, or competing with anyone else in the room. In fact, it’s not about anyone else at all. True Yoga (and all of its wonderful benefits) is a personal, individual practice and by putting this practice on the chair, it becomes truly accessible to anyone and everyone. I know that by giving Chair Yoga a try, it’s going to change these people's whole perspective about yoga and give them an opportunity to experience all of the amazing benefits that until that moment, they never thought they would be able to.
Here are 8 Reasons Why I Love Teaching Chair Yoga
It has enhanced my personal practice – it taught me to slow down, to breathe, to feel, to take the options that were right for me. To understand that what I need changes daily. Momentarily! To be honest about my practice and be ok with wherever I am on any particular day, knowing that I am good enough, just the way I am!
I have learned more about my body and how to take care of myself – over the years of teaching high impact classes (5 x day for 15 yrs) often on injuries, my body truly needed a kinder, more compassionate approach. Chair Yoga taught me to pull back from pushing forward, to be present and practice in a way that strengthened and supported my joints and any challenges I was experiencing, instead of loading them up with more stress. And teaching Chair Yoga gives me an opportunity to keep working, even when I do have a challenge in my body. Like the last 2 years when I was experiencing my shoulder challenge – Chair Yoga was the one thing I could continue to do for both exercise and work. And it is something I know I’ll be able to continue to do forever!
It taught me about compassionate, trauma informed and inclusive teaching. 35 years before the industry started using these buzz words and shifting in this direction, the LV Chair Yoga program was developed which already encompassed all of these things. Learning this way of teaching completely changed how I taught ALL my classes and made me a much better teacher all round, and even, I dare say, a better human!
It helps me access my power of creativity – there is no one size fits all practice that works, ever. Teaching Chair Yoga has taught me to be creative about my practice and teaching. Especially given the majority of clientele I teach are seniors or those of differing abilities, the opportunities to be creative and adaptable in classes have been endless! I always say "my students are my best teachers", and they have taught me so much, more than any course I’ve ever done! No class is ever exactly the same, and every time it’s an interesting and growth enhancing experience.
I get to see the growth, healing, transformation and evolution in my students – like the time that one of my class members (previously in a wheelchair) walked into class and planted a kiss on my cheek. Or the time when I saw the depression lift from someone, in the sense that I suddenly realised how tall they were when they had always been slouching before. Or the time when someone told me the balance in their body had returned after they felt weak on one side for many years. Or the time…I could really go on! There are hundreds of stories I could tell but THIS, having a part in helping these humans is the most important reason that I love Chair Yoga.
It is an equal playing field! I love that the whole practice I teach is on the chair, and there’s no hierarchy. While using the chair as a prop is great, sometimes when people sit while people stand, it can make them feel small or that they are not good enough. By putting the whole practice on the chair, we can take that away and offer a place where everyone is equal and within that, there can be something for everyone. You can make the practice both gentle and soft or strong and vigorous and everyone can be in the same class at the same time, practicing in their own way!
It gives me the flexibility of running my own business. Since embarking on the path of Chair Yoga I’ve been able to create a working life schedule that suits me (I’ve never been a 9-to-5er) doing something that I truly love, and believe in. Building up my business has been both extremely challenging and incredibly rewarding. I have learned, grown and expanded in so many ways personally and professionally. And this has really helped me to truly be myself, and step into my own power as an authentic and confident teacher (and human!). And it’s provided me with so many wonderful opportunities to share my true passion for Chair Yoga with the world through my classes, workshops and teacher trainings.
I’m a part of building a strong and solid community – many of the people coming to my classes whether online or in person say that this is one of the biggest benefits to them. The community. I have to agree. One thing that I have found so great about Chair Yoga and community building is that it doesn’t matter what body you come in, where you are at in terms of Yoga experience, what age you are. Because we make the classes inclusive and accepting of everyone – no one is left out or ostracised where they may have been before because of their ability or age etc. And the community that builds within and around these classes is really diverse, supportive and inclusive too. Everyone is truly welcomed and feel as though they belong. It's something very special indeed!
These are some of the many reasons I love Chair Yoga. If any of them resonate with you and you’d like to know more, or share some of your thoughts with me please feel free to contact me. For more information on upcoming training. please click here.
Get Fit Where You Sit!
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