One of my older yoga students gets mildly irritated every time she hears a yoga teacher say: “Listen to your body and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right”. She says: “My body tells me to stop moving and go lie down. If I listened to that I would never get out of bed.” The trick here is to learn how to interpret body’s messages and differentiate between genuine physical discomfort that can cause problems and procrastination.
An experienced yoga teacher doesn’t fight student’s hesitancy to move. It makes much more sense to meet the student where he/she is energetically, start with basic body and breath awareness, then continue to small movement, and then gradually expand the parameters of movement until the whole body is involved. Chair yoga works great for that because we start in a seated position that is comfortable to a vast majority of students and requires little energetic expenditure. After getting our students focused on the body and breath, we can take the practice wherever we want it to go, choosing the level of intensity that is appropriate for the group or the individual student. Below are some suggestions on how to structure a chair yoga class while building gradual movement progression.
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