Have a seat for chair yoga

People who want to reduce their stress, gain flexibility and keep moving can benefit from chair yoga.
“We move all the joints in our body so it helps maintain flexibility and range of motion,” said Diane DeMars, who teaches chair yoga at University Place Senior Center.
Her Wednesday afternoon classes at the center, which is at 2534 Grandview W., are called Heart and Soul Chair Yoga, begin the second Wednesday of each month and run from 3 to 3:45 p.m. Fees are $25 per month for a three-class series, and everyone is welcome.
DeMars said chair yoga also creates a sense of well-being.
“It helps folks be able to bend over comfortably, reach into their cupboards and look over their shoulder,” she said.
DeMars has been teaching yoga fulltime for almost 20 years. “I started before it was popular,” she said
She began attending yoga classes 25 years ago and fell in love with the activity.
“It is an amazing, practical class, and now it has gotten to be a fad. If I’m packing boxes and start to feel back pain, I stop and do yoga poses and the pain stops. Yoga is a very practical, everyday practice that you can use in your daily life. It is more than just a class,” she said.
Class participant Norma Washington would agree. She said she suffered from anxiety and panic attacks prior to taking yoga.
“Now I’m armed with the proper breathing techniques and stretches and haven’t suffered one attack,” Washington said. “My increased flexibility and strength has also been beneficial to my overall health.”
DeMars said that focusing on breathing helps make movements safer and more energy-efficient.
“You use less energy when you are moving with the breaths,” she said.
As people age, their balance can suffer and yoga helps with that as well, said DeMars. People who “come to class and learn to breathe better and help with their balance” have enhanced their life, she added.
Another class member said she has vertigo problems, and chair yoga has helped her immensely. She said she has a tendency to get frustrated easily, and chair yoga has taught her breathing skills to calm herself. After classes, she feels better and continues to do the movements when she gets home
Class members said DeMars is knowledgeable and cares about each student.

Chair yoga classes like the one taught at University Place Senior Center have enthusiastic participants.
Chair yoga classes like the one taught at University Place Senior Center have enthusiastic participants.