DEEP RIVER, Conn. (WTNH) – “They close their eyes, take some deep breaths, do a little body scan,” says Meg Spaulding, owner of Aspen Yoga, who is one of the participants in her unique class for senior citizens.
Participants check in with themselves, asking, “How am I feeling today?”
“Then we start to do basic stretches wrist rolls. This is simple stuff, stuff for circulation, arthritis, little kinks in your neck,” she said.
Then Spaulding leads these seniors through a chair yoga program at Kirtland Commons, an affordable housing community in Deep River. She started her business working with kids with special needs then it struck her that she could help our older population, too.
“I really just started expanding, wanting to bring yoga to pretty much anyone who couldn’t just go to a studio like I can,” she explained.
“I sat around for a year reading and watching TV. I found myself getting weaker and weaker,” said 77-year-old Vicky Shorey.
When the pandemic eased up, Shorey’s daughter encouraged her to do this class.
Now, after a year and a half, this great-grandmother feels so much stronger in her core.
“I was actually at the point of thinking of getting one of those four-foot canes for balance and now I just wander around like nothing is wrong,” she says.
“It’s even more than the exercise. I walk in here and the stress just plain goes away,” added 75-year-old Bruce Edgerton.
The class also increases seniors’ balance, confidence and sense of camaraderie. For this busy grandpa, the moves make aging a little easier.
“Sometimes I come into class and the shoulder would be bothering me like crazy and we’d go through a few reps of stuff and the pain is just plain gone,” he said.
Traditional poses, like the warrior, are adapted to work with the chair.
“When you’re sitting in the chair and you’ve got one foot down and then this leg is lightly lifted, you’re starting to test your balance, you’re opening up, you’re building muscle, getting more body awareness,” says Spaulding as she demonstrates the pose.
Folks in wheelchairs have even participated.
Spaulding says, if you’re nervous, sit to the side and watch. But inevitably those people join in, finding better health and happiness.
“It’s good, it’s healthy, endorphins, I say everyone should do yoga. The world would be a better place,” says Spaulding with a smile.
The 45-minute sessions take place twice a week and are open to Deep River area residents.
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