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Chair Yoga

Experience the Benefits of Chair Yoga

Tranquil, centered, at peace. That’s how I felt after my first session of chair yoga. I participated while researching the complementary medicine and wellness therapies practiced at The Ghosh Center for this article. Many people, however, take part because chair yoga is an essential element of their healing journey while undergoing cancer treatment.

Focused Breathing

During the 45-minute session, we stretched and lengthened, relaxed and extended, focused and let go. And we breathed –  intentionally and deeply – as our instructor encouraged us to:

  • Sit in a chair
  • Straighten your spine
  • Place your hands on your knees
  • Close your eyes
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, filling your lungs with air
  • Exhale forcefully, like blowing out a candle.
  • Continue the cycle, natural inhale and a forced exhale, in a smooth comfortable rhythm

This breathing technique, known as Shining Breath, is an essential element of TriYoga®, the art and science of yogaflow®, that blends posture, breath and subtle hand movements. TriYoga is practiced at The Ghosh Center by teachers from TriYoga of Cedar Rapids, who provide chair yoga and other mind-body-energy therapies to cancer patients and their caregivers.

Sterling Hart, our instructor, emphasized that breathing is inherent in movement, stretching and posture. When you breathe with focused awareness, you can direct oxygen and blood flow to specific parts of the body, which is especially important for people dealing with illness.

He added that anyone can do chair yoga. It’s based on awareness; the chair helps focus the awareness of our spine, the foundation of the body, whether you’re mobile, in a wheelchair or on oxygen, or are a caregiver in excellent shape. It’s safe for people of any age and activity level. For the greatest benefit, you can obtain a DVD to continue chair yoga at home.

Benefits of TriYoga

The TriYoga website lists the following as benefits of TriYoga practice:

  • Accelerate the transformation of body, mind and spirit
  • Increase flexibility, strength, and endurance for healthy muscles, tendons and ligaments
  • Develop a supple spine and a dynamic nervous system
  • Maximize the power of digestion, assimilation and elimination
  • Invigorate the immune, cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • Purify and strengthen the vital organs and glandular system
  • Awaken positive qualities such as emotional balance, mental clarity and self-confidence
  • Illuminate the intellect to higher understanding and the realization of intuitive knowledge
  • Expand awareness allowing the energy to flow

Like many, I’m a believer in the transforming power of chair yoga. It’s one of the many integrative medicine services offered by The Ghosh Center at no cost. If you or someone you love has cancer, I encourage you to try them.

— Michelle LeCompte

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