Yoga Poses For Paraplegics

By pal | September 11, 2008
Paraplegic Yoga Workout Programs

Yoga as a healing therapy for the physically challenged

Yoga is a vast ocean of goodness. It has something good to offer to everyone. Yoga aims for complete well being of a person and it aims to the ultimate union of body, mind and soul. So it is for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Yoga does not deprive you of its goodness because of some physical disability. ‘Karma Yoga’ (yoga of selfless service), ‘Bhakti Yoga’ (yoga for spiritual and divine connection through meditation, breathing and chanting) and ‘Jnana Yoga’ (yoga of acquiring knowledge) can be practiced by any one irrespective of their physical limitation. But it might be tough to practice ‘Hatha Yoga’ (yoga for physical fitness) for a physically disabled person.

Being confined to wheelchair, you cannot do various poses of yoga. But there are various other poses, some of them being a result of alteration of the original pose, which can be practiced by paraplegics. Paraplegics can do breathing exercises and meditation. These have tremendous effect on stress relief and physical fitness. Breathing exercises like Kapalabhatti, Anuloma-Viloma and Ujjayi can be done by paraplegics. They can practice meditation and relaxation exercise. A special yoga has been designed and developed for paraplegics who have limited physical ability.

In recent years, “Chair Yoga’ has gained a lot of popularity among paraplegics. It is not recognized formally as any form of yoga like ‘Hatha Yoga’ or “Kundalini Yoga’. It is just a series of gentle yoga poses designed to help senior people and people with wheel chairs who have limited physical ability. These poses are meant for physical fitness and most of them are alterations of poses from “Hatha yoga’. The postures of ‘Chair Yoga’ is actually ‘Hatha Yoga’ tailor made for physically disabled.

‘Chair Yoga’ is the gentlest yoga that can be practiced sitting in a chair or standing using a chair for support. It is provided at many senior centers, centers for physically disabled and adult daycare centers. It is a complete set of exercises involving breathing, meditation, relaxation and exercises for physical fitness. Most of these exercises involve breathing, head, neck, shoulder and upper part of the body. Complicated poses and maneuvering positions are avoided keeping in mind the physical limitations of the person. ‘Chair Yoga’ should be practiced under supervision of a good teacher who is aware of the limitations of the students and can tailor the positions as per his comfort and need. Chair yoga classes have helped a lot of paraplegics gain confidence and have also helped them fight with conditions like stress, hypertension, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, carpel tunnel syndrome and arthritis to name a few. Anyone who has physical disability due to age or medical conditions can benefit from this gentle form of yoga

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