Cold and wet have gone away and the season for rebirth, renewal and regrowth has arrived. It is the first day of Spring and I feel that everyone including myself is more alive! It is time to get up and get active. Today I go to an aged care facility and teach chair yoga to seniors living with dementia. I love to see them. They are so sweet, and today they are even more special.
Nice weather definitely boosts the seniors’ energy level. They enjoy sitting in the Sun and what they share with me are all positive thoughts. “How nice the color of the flowers!” “I like pink too!” When we are waiting for others to join us some of them start singing a song to me. Using the rhythm of Happy Birthday Song, they sing ‘Good morning to you, good morning to you, good morning to youuuu, good morning to you.’ They are so cute and sweet. I don’t know the song can go so well with “Good morning” instead of “Happy Birthday”. I learn from them and now I sing this to others too. One lady told me she used to be a ballet dancer, but now she is a belly dancer with putting on weight (she is still ok). She laughes at herself. She is incredible!
An hour yoga class has gone so quick and they look energized. I am also more energized too. They probably don’t know how impactful the Good Morning Song and their smiles are towards me. They really made my day. It is a fantastic interactive yoga session. Yoga class is definitely a two-way communication. Both students and teachers can benefit from each other. For me, I can stay away from all unwanted worries when I teach a class.
Apart from teaching yoga at special care facility, I will teach chair yoga with bassendean55plus at Bassendean Seniors and Community Centre again, starting from 26 Sep 2017. Many of us do not believe we can make our life better and it can only go worse when we are getting old. It is partially true but we can still rejuvenate our body by gentle body movements. While seated on the chair, we can do variations of yoga poses to build body strength and flexibility. More importantly, we can prevent the likelihood of falls. This is a community yoga class. Invest $5 for your well-being.
If you decide to give it a go, three things are going to happen in your first yoga class:
1. Your legs will cramp
It’s quite common. We don’t use every part of our muscles in daily life and some of the muscles haven’t been used for a while. The forceful contractions of the unused muscles cause cramping in legs. Dehydration also leads to cramps. Normally it is mild and goes away when you change positions. To avoid cramps, stay hydrated before and during the yoga session. Also, move slowly and gently.
2. You will feel sleepy
Although chair yoga is very gentle, some of us forget to breathe when we do the pose. The body needs a certain amount of circulating oxygen in the blood at all times to effectively nourish the cells, tissues and organs. Don’t worry, I remind you to breathe throughout the entire session.
3. You will try your very best
You are in the class. You make it. You are in an urgent need to get back on the right track and stay healthy. You will try your very best. However, we only need to find the edge of our muscles to give them a good stretch. We don’t need to do more than what our body need. One of the eight limbs in yoga philosophy is non-violence to our body. Do not force yourself to do anything you don’t feel good. What’s more, we are in a non-competitive environment. You don’t need to look at what other people are doing. You don’t know how many yoga classes they have done. Don’t expect quick results. Don’t expect anything. One day, you will be amazed by how far you go.
Rachel is the founder of VAI YOGA and an occupational therapist. Her yoga teaching focuses on blending two powerful healings, yoga and occupational therapy solutions, to help people face practical aspects of life.