Wheelchair / Chair Yoga

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Man in yoga pose on chair

What does it mean, to “have good health”? Many people think that it’s just about physically being free from ailments – but it’s so much more than that…

Yes, of course it’s important to maintain our bodies…For wheelchair users, it’s especially important to stretch and strengthen the upper body. We all know how hard it can be to mentally prepare yourself to get out of bed in the mornings…Wheelchair Yoga will make it physically easier to do so, at least!

Seated Yoga exercises will help you to comfortably support your body weight with your upper body – as well as ironing out the knots that develop through using these muscles so much. It will teach you how to maintain health in the torso, and the shoulders. It will even help you figure out how to get rid of the pains in the neck – both the literal, and metaphorical…

Wheelchair Yoga is like reading the instruction manual to “You” – to find out what it is that YOU need to do, to feel better…

However – if all our self-esteem is tied-up in our physical being, then we’ll never find happiness – because none of us are in “perfect” physical health, ever!

There is so much more to you than what we can just see – a whole “inner space” that rivals, and maybe even trumps, the infinity of “outer space”…There is a constant battle for physical health happening inside of you right now – with white blood cells battling bacteria and viruses!

In the same way, positive thoughts must be used to fight off negativity in the mind. Yoga philosophy will teach you how to do this…

Martin Luther King is often quoted as saying:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I think it’s safe to say that we all have dark thoughts from time-to-time – but if you can learn to love yourself enough, and the people around you, that love will help light a way through that darkness…I know that sounds corny – but sometimes we need to open ourselves up to a bit of cheesiness, to stop us becoming too cynical!

 I myself have never had a spinal cord injury – so I’d never pretend to fully understand what that’s like. However – what I do know is that Yoga (whether that’s regular Yoga, or Wheelchair / Seated Yoga) focuses on maintaining health in the body, the mind, and the soul…Some people get freaked-out when you talk about the soul – but if you’ve ever helped somebody out for no reason (apart from just wanting to be nice), then you, my friend have a soul…

Whatever the severity of your spinal cord injury, we can make a Yoga practice for you – to maintain the health of the rest of the spine as best as possible, and to also help maintain a healthy mind.

When we quieten the chatter of the mind, and achieve clarity in the breath, we have a chance to hear what the heart has to say – to remind ourselves about what it is that we’re living for…

I’ve taught Wheelchair Yoga to people who have recently lost limbs, at the Wheelpower Games at the home of the Paralympic movement – Stoke Mandeville Hospital. It was a humbling experience, to be part of this event – and rarely have I had so much fun teaching a class! The humour of the participants was quite irreverent (and often at my expense!), as we figured out what various different members of the class could do, and what variations were needed – and that was right up my street!

What’s more uplifting than a good old belly laugh…

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