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