Every week I have the honor to teach one of my favorite classes, ‘chair yoga’ at the appropriately named ‘Joyful Living Adult Day Health Center’. The participants are in their 70’s or 80’s and although we practice a gentle sequence using chairs as support, they are very physically healthy, mentally alert and emotionally peaceful. Not many words are exchanged… I don’t speak Mandarin or Cantonese and they don’t speak English, but after teaching them for over a year it is clear that the practice of yoga speaks for itself. I am greeted with smiles, waves and clapping when I enter the room to begin class. The center is always decorated with colorful displays as there always seems to be something to celebrate at the center.. a birthday, Valentines Day, Chinese New year… or just life! The participants transition easily from their mahjong games, karaoke singing or ping pong to eagerly gather together for the yoga class. Its an uplifting experience to be at the center where truly aging is just another pose in the process of life. Although the yoga ‘asanas’ might be new to them, I know I have so much more to learn from them on how to age with dignity, humility and resilience.
Here is a sample of a chair yoga sequence I created in 2002. I offer many more poses in the class I teach at the Joyful Living Center such as seated warrior poses and standing balancing with the chair as support.