Chair Yoga: Bryna Parker

I love coming in with new concepts I love
it when I see something and I’m like, “We can do that in a chair.” Once I started teaching, I started realizing
that there’s this whole population of people who could benefit from this, but coming down onto the floor, or putting all the weight on their wrists in downward dog just wouldn’t
work. And so that’s when I started playing with
the chair and I’m like well, it feels just as great to downward dog on a chair. Well I’ve been doing yoga off and on since
1979, and I’d pick it up and let it go, pick it up and let it go. About five years ago, I was diagnosed with
Multiple Sclerosis, and I thought I need to take control of my body again. Chair yoga has actually made my yoga practice
better. When I use the chair now, instead of having
to worry about getting down on my knee and thinking about the pain that’s happening,
the chair has taken that problem away. I’m actually able to focus way more on what
I’m supposed to be doing with the pose. I love the idea of taking whatever it is that
I need to move or strengthen or stretch in my body, and finding a way to make it accessible
with a chair. I started attending yoga classes about 30
years ago. I would say the introduction to the chair
yoga class that my daughter brought me to, brought me back. I was having a lot of problems with asthma,
and with balance because of an ear injury. I cannot tell you how improved my breathing
is, my balance is so much better just using the core and my breath that I had forgotten
to use. I would recommend everybody try a chair yoga
class. It changes the way you think about yoga. It’s not just sitting in a chair. There’s the same type of engagements and stretching
and strengthening that you can do with or without a chair. You can do all these same stretches and movements
and strengthening in a chair without coming up and down on the floor, or putting pressure
on your knees, or worrying about the balance, worrying about if I’m stable. Then on any given day depending on how you
feel you can decide, do I need more of the chair today? Or do I need less? The biggest thing is I’m not really trying
to create the same look of a ‘traditional’ yoga posture. I’m trying to figure out what is being stretched,
or what is strengthening, and then figuring out how I can create that in a supportive
way. So it may look a little different, but I guarantee
you the engagement is there. I really hope that yoga studios everywhere
start bringing chair yoga to more people. It has just made an amazing difference in
how I feel when I leave the class. …and I love the support and connection with
a chair… I…don’t know what I’m saying [laughter]. [off camera – That was really great, I was
feeling it!] Okay, hold on [laughter]

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