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Leadership and Group Facilitation

Assignment #3
Adapted Physical Game: Chair Yoga

Joy Pennick
W0259856

PENNICK, JOY

CHAIR YOGA FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Introduction

Summary of Research Evidence:


Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice & philosophy that was developed in the Indian subcontinent,
around 3000 BCE. Yoga uses specific movements, breathing exercises and meditation practice to achieve
a connection between the body, mind and spirit, providing benefits for the whole person. Recent studies
suggest that yoga may be the most beneficial form of exercise for seniors, including those in their 80s
and 90s. (Kuenzer, 2015). This practice improves body awareness, physical strength, balance and breath
control, encourages relaxation and reduces joint stiffness. Modified or adapted yoga postures can
significantly improve endurance and flexibility and may help with pain relief. Research has also shown
that a regular yoga practice can positively affect and moderate blood pressure, heart rate, breathing
efficiency, metabolism and body temperature (Oken et al., 2006) making it an ideal activity to promote
general health and wellness.
With well trained instructors and the use of appropriate modifications (chairs for support), yoga
can be safely adapted for seniors or for those who are physically compromised. The physical and
emotional benefits of yoga are well documented (Austin, 2013) and can lead to improved quality of life.
Program Outline
Program Type: Adapted Physical Game or Activity.
Program Title: Chair Yoga for Health and Wellness!
Purpose: To provide an opportunity for seniors to experience the many health benefits of chair-supported
yoga exercise and mindfulness practice.
Goals:
1. To improve muscle strength and physical conditioning.
2. To relieve joint and muscle stiffness by improving flexibility.
3. To introduce simple breathing techniques (mindfulness) for relaxation and stress-reduction.

PENNICK, JOY

CHAIR YOGA FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Program Description:
This was conceived as a weekly Chair Yoga program to run for a minimum of six to eight weeks.
Each session (60 minutes) includes warm-up and breathing exercises, yogic postures, and relaxation. By
attending each session, participants will progress through the basic series of postures and will build on
this foundation and understanding of yoga in a safe and gradual way.
Target Population:
Although designed for the senior population, this program is also suitable for those who are
physically compromised, requiring supports or adaptations to safely participate in gentle physical activity.
Inclusion Criteria:
The Chair Yoga program is intended for seniors or individuals experiencing physically
compromising conditions whose goal is improved physical conditioning. Compromising conditions may
include: arthritis, certain musculo-skeletal injury, amputations, and mobility or balance concerns. Chair
Yoga is ideal for individuals who use walkers or wheelchairs, if they meet other medical criteria. This
program can also promote general wellbeing by introducing relaxation and mindfulness techniques,
beneficial for those who experience stress or anxiety.
Exclusion Criteria:
There is an increased risk to individuals with underlying illnesses or vulnerabilities such as:
insulin-dependent diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, lung disease, cardiovascular disorders (angina,
arrhythmia, congestive heart disease, heart attack) or osteoporosis (Krucoff et al., 2010). Participants
should submit a medical history and may be required to obtain their doctors permission in order to
participate. In addition, individuals with severely impaired cognition (stroke, dementia and Alzheimers)
may not be able to follow instructions safely and may put themselves at risk for injury. Vision and
hearing loss may also prevent participation.
Equipment and Supplies:
Participants are encouraged to wear loose, comfortable clothing and to remove footwear. Solid,
stable, arm-less chairs (hard or soft-back) are preferred. A yoga mat can also be used beneath the chairs

PENNICK, JOY

CHAIR YOGA FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

for additional padding and improved stability, while blankets can be used during the final relaxation
postures. Finally, the environment should be temperature controlled, with adequate light, heat and
ventilation and must be readily accessible for those with mobility concerns.
Modifications and Adaptations:
Postures are done from a seated position or while standing, holding the chair for extra support.
All postures can be modified (in intensity and position) to accommodate limited range of motion and
options are demonstrated by the instructor. Contraindications (especially for osteoporosis) for all postures
are clearly explained and participants are reminded to work within their zone of safety and comfort.
Appropriate modification of postures may include:

Slower paced class with gentle movements coordinated with breath.

Avoid forward bends (head lower than heart)

No deep, dynamic twists.

No full head rotations or deep, forward head curls (thoracic spine flexion)

No breath retention. Practice abdominal breathing with full awareness.

Only single leg or arm rises.

No deep, sustained stretches.

Risk Management:
Instructors must be certified Chair Yoga Instructors and have current CPR/AED certification. To
reduce risk of injury, instructors should have a solid understanding of the common medical conditions
and the associated risks (Kuenzer, 2015) for this population. Participants should also be asked to complete
a medical questionnaire (which may include permission from their doctor) as well as to sign a waiver, in
order to address liability issues. Clear instruction and explanation of contraindications and modifications
are essential to ensure that participants do not incur injury.
Process:
The following sequence represents a basic or foundational practice for beginners (Palmer, 2014).
Additional postures can be added to the sequence as the weekly sessions progress.

PENNICK, JOY

CHAIR YOGA FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

1. Seated Centering Pose.


Straight back, feet flat on the floor, eyes closed.
Hands on belly.
Deep inhale into the belly, feel it fill up.
Exhale with a sigh, pulling belly in. Repeat.
2. Shoulder Shrugs and Rolls.
Inhale shoulders to ears, exhale down (relax).
Roll shoulders front and back, with breath.
Relax jaw and massage face, with breath.
3. Head and Neck
Inhale. Exhale head to shoulder: repeat left, right.
Inhale. Exhale look down. Inhale look up.
Inhale centre. Exhale looks right. Inhale look left.
4. Hands and Arms
Rub hands together briskly. Breathe in and out .
Roll wrist out, then in.
Shake hands & arms, breath.
5. Seated Mountain Pose
Straight back, arms hang by sides, palms out.
Inhale into belly, Exhale.
Inhale, draw arms up over head, and exhale down.
6. Seated Half Moon
Seated Mountain. Breathe.
Inhale right arm above head and stretch over to the left.
Exhale down. Repeat with left arm.

PENNICK, JOY

CHAIR YOGA FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

7. Feet and Ankle Rolls


Vigorously rub thighs and shake feet.
Lift feet, flex and point the feet.
Roll ankles in then out.
Feet flat on floor
8. Windshield-washer
Roll knees to the left, then right, rocking on the hips.
Feet and knees together. Inhale.
Exhale, knees apart.
Inhale, knees together. Repeat
9. Seated Chair Pose
Slide forward, knees up, rest on pointed toes.
Inhale. Tighten core muscles (abdomen).
Exhale, lean forward, raising arms to the front.
Breathe slowly. Lower arms. Repeat.
10. Chair Twist
Turn sidewise on the chair (right).
Rest left hand over right knee and right arm on chair back.
Inhale stretch up. Exhale twist gently to the right.
Return to centre. Repeat on left side.
11. Seated Half Boat Pose
Inhale. Exhale, lean back, holding chair seat.
Inhale. Exhale, raising right knee to chest.
Inhale down. Exhale, raising left knee to chest.
Repeat.

PENNICK, JOY

CHAIR YOGA FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

12. Seated Warrior One


Pivot on the seat to face right.
Bend right leg, foot flat on floor.
Extend left leg straight behind.
Hold chair back with right arm.
Inhale, raising left arm in front.
Stretch chest up and forward. Hold and breathe.
Repeat on left side.
13. Forward Fold
Sit forward, extending right leg, left leg bent.
Hands on left leg. Inhale, stretch up.
Exhale, bend forward with straight back.
Inhale, return to centre. Repeat with left leg.
14. Cosmic Neck Rest.
Sit up, straight back.
Inhale, clasp hands around the back of head.
Exhale and drop shoulders.
Inhale lean back, gazing up.
Return to centre.
15. Seated Centering Pose/Savasana
Eyes closed. Feet flat on the floor.
Hands on thighs, palms up.
Deep breath in and out.
Guided relaxation from head to toe.
16. Namaste.
Hands at heart centre (in prayer)

PENNICK, JOY

CHAIR YOGA FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

References
Austin, D. R. (2013). Therapeutic recreation: Processes and techniques (7th ed.). Urbana, IL: Sagamore.
Fishman, L., & Saltonstall, E. (2008). Yoga for arthritis: The complete guide. New York, NY: W.W
Norton.
Krucoff, C., Carson, K., Peterson, M., Shipp, K., & Krucoff, M. (2010). Teaching yoga to seniors:
Essential considerations to enhance safety and reduce risk in a uniquely vulnerable age group. The
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16 (8), 899-905. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0501
Kuenzer, K. (2015, March/April). Yoga and the aging adult. American Fitness. Retrieved from
http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.nscc.ca:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=082c9847-4d174e80-9721-9b01531ec9f6%40sessionmgr4003&vid=4&hid=128
Oken, B. S., Zajdel, D., Kishiyama, S., Flegal, K., Dehen, C., Haas, M.,...Leyva, J. (2006,
January/February). Randomized, controlled, six-month trial of yoga in healthy seniors: Effects on
cognition and quality of life. Alternative Therapies, 12(1), 40-47. Retrieved from
http://web.b.ebcohost.com
Palmer, J. (2014, April). Chair yoga teacher training. [Workbook and Workshop], presented at Chair
Yoga Teacher Training, Fall River Yoga Centre, Fall River, NS.