When it comes to yoga, we hear these often: “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible,” or “I don’t know what all the fuss is about yoga,” or “My daughter does yoga, but she’s young and fit,” and “You won’t catch me in yoga pants!” But what about chair yoga?

If you believe these statements, and applied them to chair yoga, you would be missing out on a practice that could literally change your life.

Yoga has been found to increase flexibility, strength and balance. Yoga can help relieve arthritis symptoms and back pain. Yoga can relax your body and mind, and improve your sleep. Most of all, yoga is for everybody – regardless of age, fitness level or ability.

Check out this chair yoga session with Mary Ann Douglas, Whole Health recreation assistant at the Grand Island VA in Nebraska. This 34-minute gentle and relaxing yoga series demonstrates how yoga can be practiced and adapted at any age and for all bodies. Perhaps this easy alternative practice may make its way into your routine.

Move your body!

Yoga is an excellent way to begin to move your body in a gentle and supported way. Learn more about yoga here:  https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/Veteran-Handouts/docs/Yoga-508Final-9-4-2018.pdf.

Registered Nurse Fletcher Watson, from the Roseburg VA Medical Center in Oregon, has been working with Veterans since 2014 to introduce them to yoga and other complementary and integrative health practices. In a previous blog post, he said, “(With yoga), this ability to simply notice and stay present gets strengthened and seems to translate powerfully into everyday life for many of our Veterans…”

May is a great time to start moving your body. Biking, walking, swimming, gardening, yardwork, playing a sport and actively playing with children or pets are some examples to ‘move it, move it.’ Yoga is another way to move your body. The key is to make a movement plan that you can incorporate into your lifestyle and repeat regularly. Any activity that uses your energy to move the large muscles in your body is helpful to your whole health and mental health.

Andrea Young is a Field Implementation Team Consultant for the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation

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