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Gentle Yoga for those in Wheelchairs

People with disabilities can use yoga to broaden perceptions of what is possible in their lives. We have worked with many people who have a wide range of physical limitations and challenges, and what we notice the most is a person's attitude always improves after yoga.

Deep Breathing and Small Movements Stimulate Healing

The breath in yoga is taken deep into the belly, thereby bringing in more oxygen which nourishes the cells of the body replenishing the blood and stimulating the healing process. The cells are constantly regrouping and replenishing themselves, so breathing is very important. Combined with gentle movement, the squeezing and twisting action releases toxins from the body and promotes good digestion.
 

Breathing is Yoga


"Even if a person canít move
at all, just about any category
of disability can benefit from
deep breathing.Ē
Mary Cavanaugh, Yoga Teacher


Gentle Yoga for Immobility

Yoga for Lower Spine Injuries: If a person in a wheelchair has no feeling in his or her legs and has somebody who is willing to work with them, the use of props can assist them in receiving more benefit from yoga stretches. By using a belt, the helper can put the belt over the ball of the person ís foot and have the helper take their hands and lift that foot up and move that leg back and forth. By doing this, there is opening in the hip and the area of the groin which gets the energy lines open, so that oxygen and blood get into those areas.

Yoga for Upper Body: A person with an injury to the lower spine, who can move his or her arms and neck, can participate in gentle yoga stretches that affect those areas. While sitting in the chair, they can focus on the feeling of moving one's arms up in the air, and notice the warmth and energy flow in their shoulders. Working from the wheelchair, one can take their right hand and reach over and grab the left arm of the chair, and turn their torso. This is a tremendous movement for them, and encourages them to continue with these simple moves.

Yoga for Bedridden Patients: If an SCI patient is bedridden, they can still do yoga. Yoga from a bed involves arching the back up and down and breathing. These patients should focus on the feeling of the chest being opened, and the feel from arching the back that the spinal cord is moving. Any movement is positive. Even if that movement is done in the mind's eye.



Gentle Yoga for Seniors DVD



Yoga with a Chair VHS



Gentle Chair Yoga Seated Series DVD

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