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Yoga Poses For Disabled And Handicapped People

Yoga Poses For Disabled And Handicapped People

The ancient Indian practice of Yoga involves moving the body and working to help one’s mind achieve balance and well-being.  Traditional yoga focuses on improving physical and mental health while helping each person to reach his or her highest potential.

Yoga is a beneficial and adaptable activity for people of all ages and abilities.  From children to seniors, this exercise has become a national centerpiece in the Western world as it proves to help improve health and boost life energy time and time again.

It may seem intimidating those from a disability or handicap, but it shouldn’t. In fact, everyone can benefit greatly from the exercise. Yoga is beneficial for people with disabilities, handicaps and chronic health conditions due to the physical postures and the breathwork.

The wonderful thing about the practice of yoga is that every pose can be modified to meet the needs of the individual.

Whether suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or a physical handicap of any kind, there are variations of yoga that can assist every person into the journey of physical and mental wellbeing.

 Benefits of yoga include, but are not limited to:

  • Greater flexibility
  • Improved focus and mental clarity
  • Increased strength and balance
  • Higher lung capacity
  • Reduced stress
  • A sense of well-being

So now understanding why yoga is such a good exercise to incorporate into your life, let’s focus on some specific poses that are good for disabled and handicapped people.

Basic Chair Poses

Whether confined to a wheelchair or suffering with limited range of motion, chair poses are an excellent way to participate in Yoga.

There are a variety of different chair pose salutations you can follow, the highest recommended being the Chair Sun Salutations and those specifically modified for people in wheelchairs.  Even if your handicap does not confine you to a chair, you will benefit greatly from the following exercises.

Chair Sun Salutations

Remove your shoes and sit comfortable upright in a chair. Keep your thighs parallel to the floor and place something under your feet if needed. Roll your shoulders back a few times to warm up.

Step 1.  Place your hands over your chest and feel your breath as you inhale and exhale deeply.  Feel your stomach expand and your chest rise as you breathe in and feel it fall out as you release your breath.  Allow the stresses of the day to leave with your breath.

Step 2.  Inhale as you stretch your arms up toward the ceiling and, if possible, gently arch your back.

Step 3.  Exhale as you gently bend forward toward the floor. Bring your chest to your knees. Allow your arms to relax and hang down beside your legs so that your hands are at your feet.

Step 4.   Inhale as you lift your left knee to your chest while looking up at the ceiling.

Step 5.  Exhale as you round your back forward and gently bring your head to your knees.  Continue to allow your body to relax into the pose and let your arms hang by your legs as you finish exhaling fully.

Step 6.  Inhale as you arch your back gently up, keeping your hands down by your legs.  Lift your right knee to your chest while extending your back into a gentle arch.

Step 7.  Exhale as you raise your right knee and bring your head down toward it.  Drop your neck gently forward and lower your foot to the floor.  Allow your arms to hand at your sides as you exhale fully.

Step 8.  Stretch your arms upward toward the sky.  Gently arch your back and extend your spine.  Be careful not to overstretch.

Step 9.  Place your hands on your chest and breathe and relax.  When you are ready, complete the 9 steps with your left leg.

Wheel Chair Yoga

  1. Cow Pose

            This is a front of body opener pose.

  • Begin by holding on to your chair or placing your hands on your thighs.
  • Inhale as you lift your head gently toward the ceiling, allowing the front of your chest to expand. Carefully arch your back.
  • Hold the pose for a few deep breaths.
  1. Cat Pose

This is an excellent pose for stretching your back.

  • Put your hands on your thighs or grip your chair
  • Exhale as you round your upper body forward
  • Like a cat, arch your spine and drop your chin down toward your chest
  • Hold the position for a few deep breaths.
  1. Side stretch

This is a yoga pose which focuses on the obliques. Do not lean deep into this pose if you have rods.  It may be wise to avoid this stretch unless you have approval from your physician.

  • Start by lifting one arm up over your head as you inhale. Allow your other arm to rest for support
  • Exhale while your stretching arm reaches as far over your head as it can go.
  • Breathe deeply as you hold the pose for 3 to 5 full breaths.
  • Inhale as you come back to the center. Follow the same steps of the stretch for the other arm.
  1. Twist

This yoga pose focuses on relieving tension from your back.

  • While inhaling, bring your bring your right hand across to your left leg while using your opposite arm for support
  • Exhale as you twist to look over your left shoulder
  • Hold the position for 3-5 full breaths.
  • Carefully release the hold and relax. Repeat the same steps for the opposite side
  1. Forward Bend

This poses isolates and works on the lower back, hips and hamstrings.

  • Begin this pose by inhaling as you lengthen your spine by sitting up tall
  • Bend forward from your waist while you exhale, placing your hands on your wheelchair for support
  • Continue breathing deeply as you hold the position for 3 to 5 breaths
  1. Eagle Pose

This yoga pose stretches the shoulders and back.

  • Inhale deeply and lift your arms
  • Exhale as your cross your arms at the elbows so that your hands are back-to-back
  • Hold the position, while breathing steadily, for 20 to 30 seconds
  1. Hip Stretch

 This pose will focus on your hips.

  • Inhale as you life one leg and cross it over the other leg
  • Exhale and lean forward from your hips
  • Keep breathing as you hold the stretch for 3 to 5 breaths
  • Carefully release your leg and repeat the same steps using the other leg
  1. Leg Stretch

This pose stretches your hamstrings

  • Inhale as you sit as tall as you can, lengthening your spine
  • Exhale as you reach your hands around the back of your leg or shin and lift your knee so it is at a comfortable level
  • Stretch and hold the position for 3 to 5 breaths
  • Carefully come out of each stretch. Repeat the same steps for the other side

Yoga can be an excellent tool for gaining and maintaining strength for all levels and abilities when practiced regularly. It is always important to ask for your physician’s approval before attempting to perform any of the yoga poses above, or adding anything new to your daily routine.

To fully maximize the benefits of yoga, it is recommended that you perform it in a quiet, dimly lit  room or with soft music playing in the background.  Always stop performing yoga immediately at the first sign of pain and consult with your physician.

About the author:

Sarah Williams is a passionate self-development writer and avid yoga practitioner, passionate about healthy lifestyle. She always tries seeing things from a different perspective, avoids small talk, and makes her interactions more satisfying and meaningful. She shares her thoughts on personal growth at Wingman Magazine.


Submitted exclusively to CrystalWind.ca by Sarah Williams © 2019 crystalwind.ca

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/zIx5wzjHRnE

About the author:

Sarah Williams is a passionate self-development writer and avid yoga practitioner, passionate about healthy lifestyle. She always tries seeing things from a different perspective, avoids small talk, and makes her interactions more satisfying and meaningful. She shares her thoughts on personal growth at Wingman Magazine.

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