As a restorative practice, yoga is a discipline that encourages movement, blood flow, flexibility and core strength. Consequently bettering the practitioner’s quality of life and overall bodily and mental health. However, the strenuous nature of yoga routines makes it inaccessible to those with special needs such as the elderly, or those that have suffered injuries earlier on in life. Fortunately, there is a solution for those who seek the many benefits of practicing yoga, yet for one reason or another find the activity exceptionally difficult; seated yoga.
What does seated Yoga involve?
Seated yoga courses provide those with special needs a means of practicing yoga from a seated position. Seated Yoga has adapted traditional yoga routines so that they can be done from a chair. This make the benefits of the routines available to those who lack mobility and strength. Especially when moving between standing, reclined and seated positions.
How does it differ from regular yoga?
Traditional yoga builds and relies on the stamina, strength and balance of each and every body part. Particularly focusing on the core-muscle group, legs and hips.
Seated yoga, on the other hand, puts moderately less pressure on these groups. Additionally focusing more on developing mobility and strength without risking injury. Since traditional poses have been adapted with seated yoga, they still closely resemble the originals both in form and in bodily benefits.
This adaptation of yoga poses is nothing new. In fact one of the most wonderful things about yoga is that it can be adapted to suit the needs of different individuals. Thus making seated and traditional yoga simple variations of the same practice, to suit the needs of those who lack mobility.
The advantages of seated Yoga
The first major advantage behind seated yoga, is that it opens up the practice to those who would otherwise have been unable to do it. This could be due to limited strength, balance and mobility; such as the elderly and those who are recovering from injuries.
Seated yoga poses are aimed at restoration. Therefore making it a good practice for relieving lower back pain while massaging internal organs. It is also excellent for building flexibility and strength, improving mental clarity and developing one’s sense of spatial awareness.
Let’s take a look what YogaWiz.com has to say about the benefits of seated and ‘twist’ yoga:
“Most seated twist poses are in fact seated spinal twists. Seated twist poses are often referred as the easy poses in yoga. In these poses, a twist is performed in the seated position. However, not all seated twist poses are easy to perform, requiring strict supervision. Practicing these poses regularly at an early age builds resistance in the body against problems like sciatica and slipped disc. Seated spinal twist poses also help in preventing various spine and hip related ailments.
Strengthening the spine not only helps in strengthening of the nervous system, but also results in improved flexibility and agility. However, seated and twist poses benefits are not just limited to the spine. They extend to the improvement in the functionality of various abdominal organs.”
Who would it appeal to?
Anyone who suffers from a lack of mobility, balance and strength can benefit from seated yoga. Exercise and mobility are equally important for the elderly and those with disabilities as it is for the masses. These individuals may find strenuous activities challenging to the point where it is unsafe or not doable. Seated yoga answers this conundrum by providing a means for those with mobility issues. It helps them to stay relatively fit while increasing their strength, flexibility, blood-flow and movement.
Another useful application of seated yoga is that it encourages movement for those who are in office chairs all week-long. A large portion of the world’s population spend the majority of their time seated. This makes seated yoga an excellent (if not eye-catching) practice for lunch time breaks at the office.
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