You may think of yoga as a practice only done by the young and flexible, but all of us can do it. After a recent knee surgery, I was unable to get around without crutches, but I was still able to do breathing practices, meditate, and even some yoga postures in a chair.

Whether done standing, in a chair or even a bed, yoga and its practices can help us connect body and mind, and it can bring us a sense of calm. Yoga is a mind and body practice with origins in ancient Indian philosophy. The many styles of yoga practiced in the United States combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. Recent studies have shown potential benefit for those who suffer from low back pain.

Ready to give it a try? Join Whole Health Coach and Yoga Instructor, Katherine Hillgren from the St. Louis VA Medical Center in this 23-minute gentle lower-body chair yoga class. Grab a chair – preferably without wheels or with wheels that can lock – and a strap, belt, or towel and enjoy:

Learn more about yoga and how you can incorporate it into your own life with this Introduction to Yoga for Whole Health: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/Veteran-Handouts/docs/Yoga-508Final-9-4-2018.pdf.

Yoga is just one way to reduce stress, improve sleep and increase self-awareness. For more Whole Health resources on how to live happier and healthier, check out the Circle of Health: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/index.asp.

Looking for other adaptive activities? VA’s Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events provides Veterans with opportunities for health and healing through adaptive sports and therapeutic art programs. These specialized rehabilitation events aim to optimize Veterans’ independence, community engagement, well-being and quality of life. The programs are built on clinical expertise within VA, with essential support from Veteran Service Organizations, corporate sponsors, individual donors and community partners. Learn more about VA Adaptive Sports & Therapeutic Arts: https://www.blogs.va.gov/nvspse/.


Alison M. Whitehead, MPH, C-IAYT is the national program lead for the Integrative Health Coordinating Center in the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.   

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