The start of the New Year brings the return of Chair Yoga in Canterbury Court and Canterbury Manor.
Pramila Sinha is an experienced certified yoga instructor who trained in India, and has taught chair yoga for the past 10 years. She leads the classes Monday and Wednesday mornings in Canterbury Manor
“Just because you are a senior or are aged, it doesn’t mean you’re not capable of doing things,” explains Pramila. Chair Yoga is wonderful because it gives you confidence, better posture, balance and connection with the mind body and soul.” She adds, “When I see seniors shift their body, they gain confidence and it’s that moment that gives them a spark in their heart that says “I can do it,” - and then they can do it!”
Sessions are 45 minutes long. Resident participants talk about what they would like to work on. Through simple stretches, twists and turns, joints and body parts are coaxed into moving, improving flexibility and well being.
Sitting in a chair helps seniors’ bodies to relax so they don’t have to worry about balancing. Gentle activities include breathing exercises, movement, and strength-building without weights, meditation, relaxation and visualization. “Yoga is not just about moving; it’s about moving with intention, with your feelings with your sensation and understanding your limits and whole body system.”
Chair Yoga benefits seniors of all levels of mobility. Residents can bring their own chairs or walkers; those in wheelchairs can sit in their chairs and follow with adapted movements or transfer to a chair. But it is also fantastic for providing memory support by reducing stress, and benefiting mental health.
Recent studies show exercise like Chair Yoga helps those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Exercising regularly is beneficial to brain function and can improve cognition and fine motor skills. Being in a non-judgmental environment and sitting alone on a chair in stillness, yet without being alone in a group environment is also very calming. Adding a mindfulness element for those with dementia can help improve memory, enhance mood and overall quality of living.
“If seniors are worried they will forget movements, I guide them,” Pramila explains. “I say you don’t need to remember - if you are trying to remember you are going into the logic of doing things. You just need to move, then you are reminding your muscles, tendons, and ligaments what their functions are; and in this way they will co-operate with you.”
Canterbury Foundation is all about enhancing the quality of life for our residents through a wide variety of programs and activities. While COVID-19 has effected some of the programming we’re currently offering, Canterbury’s physical exercise programs include yoga, aerobics, strength training, bowling, walking groups and more!
To learn more about what Canterbury’s wellness program offers check out our activity calendars!