Ten residents of Four Seasons Retirement Center are participating in a “chair yoga” class, taught by Kathy Therber, one of the instructors of Zen Fitness.
Chair yoga classes are geared toward individuals who, for any reason, find it challenging to get down on the floor or do standing poses. The chair replaces the yoga mat and allows for the performance of yoga poses with more support and stability.
“This class is inspiring to me. I am impressed with people who take time to care for themselves. Yoga, in any form, results in feeling good physically, feeling good about ourselves and taking advantage of the opportunity to come into our fullest potential,” Therber said about the students in her Four Seasons class.
The benefits of yoga, she said, are:
- Exercising the lymphatic system
- Building strength in our normal movements
- Relieving anxiety and depression
- Easing pain
- Provides energy to the body
- Releasing toxins
In short, it renews the body, she said.
Deep and controlled breathing, a vital element of yoga, utilizes parts of the lungs that might not be used otherwise, making the lungs stronger and breathing easier. In addition, oxygen is sent to the brain, keeping it active and alive, and tension is relieved, leaving a sense of calm and peace, Therber added.
When deep and controlled breathing is combined with controlled exercising of all of the different muscle groups, functions in the entire body are enhanced, affecting strength, agility, balance, breathing and psychological and emotional well-being, she said.
Two of the participants in the chair yoga class are Louise Mason, a recent resident of Four Seasons, and her daughter, Laurie Wright, a local artist and custom framer. Mason, at 90, is strong and flexible and wants to remain that way.
When told that she looked healthy, Mason said, “Yes, but we use that word sparingly.” Her mind is as quick as her body is strong.
Wright enjoys doing yoga with her mother.
“It’s fun to come to Four Season and do yoga with Mom. We do it at our house, too, when she comes over to play Scrabble,” she said.
Both Laurie and her mother believe that participating in yoga with a group is beneficial because of the support and encouragement they feel from others.
Kate Connor, owner of Zen Fitness, said yoga and Pilates classes help meet people’s physical, spiritual, psychological and emotional needs.
“You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside,” she said.
B.K.S. lyengar, one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, sums up the power of yoga in this way: “The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”
At the end of the yoga session at Four Seasons, Therber and the participants said to each other, “Namaste.” Therber said the word translates loosely to mean, “The light in me sees the light in you.”
Lynne Sullivan is assistant director of marketing & communications at Ivy Tech Community College — Columbus/Franklin and a board member of Mill Race Center.