Wheelchair yoga is a simplified version of yoga, a Hindu ascetic, and spiritual discipline. These involve meditation, breath control and postures performs with the body. It has many health benefits and helps reach a higher level of relaxation. Thanks to the simplification of yoga for wheelchair users they too can practice it to benefit from stress relief and lowered blood pressure.
It is important to note that just as it may benefit some, wheelchair yoga can also have a negative impact on others.
For this reason, a physician’s approval is necessary to knowing if wheelchair yoga is or isn’t safe and what some the limitations may be based on the specific circumstance. The physician’s decision should be respected as they are the most knowledgeable to what the body can or cannot do.
The most common poses for wheelchair users are combinations of stretches of the upper body that they are able to do from their own wheelchair. For a wider range of position, it’s important to have assistance to ensure your safety while practicing yoga.
Here is an example of some stretches and breathing techniques:
The cow stretch is performed by sitting up straight on the wheelchair with the hands on the knees or thighs. Then inhale, gently roll shoulders back arch your back and bring head up towards the ceiling. When ready to exhale switch to cat stretch by maintaining hands on thighs or knees and arching your spine forward. Also, allow chin to come towards the chest and shoulders to drop in front. Hold positions and breath slowly for a couple of seconds to get a stretch on various parts of the back.
Raised hands pose will help stretch upper both by sitting up straight, looking forward and raising hands straight up as much as possible. After performing for a couple of breaths the side stretch can be done by remaining sitting up straight and reaching over the head with the right hand as the left hand supports. Exhale when reaching over the head and inhale when coming back towards the center.
After getting used to the previous exercises one can do the forward bend by inhaling as you sit up straight and exhale as you reaching over your knees to touch the floor with your hands. This exercise will prepare you for the extended side angle. Simply do the previous exercise and instead of using both hands to reach the floor one hand touches the floor and the other reaches towards the sky. This will create a twist like stretch throughout the back. Once completed do the hip stretch by bringing one leg over the other while inhaling and exhaling as you lean forward from your hip. Rotate legs and repeat for deep breaths.
Always consult your doctor before engaging in a new exercise regime and continue to listen to your body.
Yoga is great natural therapy alternative. It can help with your posture, breathing, and alleviate anxiety or stress.
See more yoga poses by clicking the link below: