Physically distanced, but socially connected

Creating Healing through community in the practices of chair based yoga
By Maria Jones, Chair Based Yoga expert:

Chair based Yoga

“Social Distancing”

Don’t you just hate this expression by now?

Humans, like other sentient beings, are social creatures and crave contact, connection and community.

Connection and community are in fact something yoga teachers are good at creating in their classes. In the spirit of yoga, connection and community are engrained in its practices. They are themes that motivate people to come back to the mat. There is a collective energy , shared in each class that can be truly healing.

In the words of Jan Vanier:

One of the marvellous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we could not as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in distress and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner-healing.

Jan Vanier

This healing effect of yoga is particularly true when teaching those with chronic illness, low mobility or the elderly and frail.
These populations are often attracted to the practices of chair yoga for the accessibility and gentleness of the practice. The yoga over time becomes not only part of the management of the disease or age related illness, but also a social opportunity.

The latter has been of greater importance due to the recent pandemic.

Chair based Yoga

MS Society Scotland, who I work for, recognised this and moved all of their offerings online in April 2020. As an instructor I had my reservations about these online classes, but it was evident, after the very first time, that more people engaged, members enjoyed participating and immediately reported experiencing the benefits of the practice.

These sessions have given people the chance to chat and share experiences at a time when they may have fewer opportunities to speak to others.

This work not only supports the members, but provide opportunities for service users and their families, to get more connected in their wider community.

What the Aberdeen group has been doing, in what has been a difficult time for everyone, is keeping people at risk of being isolated connected and that is absolutely invaluable.

Morna Simpkins, Director of MS Society Scotland

The online sessions have in fact connected MS patients across the length of the United Kingdom and beyond and it has been my honour to be part of such a great initiative that promotes social connection, community and healing.

Find out more about teaching chair based yoga, being of service and having a positive impact in the lives of those you teach with chair based yoga:

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