Published 10th October 2019, 3:54pm
CAYMAN ISLANDS (GIS) – One of the key take-aways from Grand Cayman’s newest fitness class is that yoga is for all fitness levels and all ages.
Bliss Yoga Cayman, is hosting its first-ever Seniors Chair Yoga classes during Older Persons Month in partnership with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The 45-minute class, being held every Friday throughout October, uses a combination of breathing techniques, stretches and gentle poses to help participants keep their bodies aligned, supple and toned.
The introductory class, held on 4 October, attracted 21 seniors. This was the first in series that is catering exclusively to the over 60s, many of who have never tried yoga before.
According to DCFS Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams, the sessions are part of her team’s commitment to introducing new and dynamic activities into the Older Persons Month schedule each year.
“One of the aims, of our October celebration and appreciation initiative, is to show seniors ways to embrace and enrich the ageing journey,” she said.
Bliss Yoga Instructor Lindsay Correia said: “Yoga offers a low-impact and highly relaxing way of exercising in a controlled and tranquil setting. Many of the movements help to open up the rib cage and relieve built-up tension in the body, which can get increasingly inflexible due to long periods of restricted movement and inactivity. A relaxed and comfortable body leads to a relaxed and comfortable mind,” she added.
“We experienced unprecedented demand,” said Bliss’ Manager Tricia Nelson. “We were hoping to attract 15 people per session, but were pleasantly surprised that registration was very brisk. Straight after the first session, 18 signed up again, one’s even registered her husband!”
Ms Correia originally devised the sequence of poses to help a friend resume modest exercise after major leg surgery.
“The more I got into planning the workout for her, the more I realised its suitability for seniors wanting to retain mobility and reclaim a greater flexibility. I took Chair Yoga participants through various poses after a few minutes of deep breathing exercises. These included the Goddess, which opens up the pelvic region and some modified Warrior poses, for improving balance and posture while strengthening your legs, outer hips and upper back,” she remarked.
Ms Correia originally devised the sequence of poses to help a friend resume modest exercise after major back surgery.
“The more I got into planning the workout for her, the more I realised its suitability for seniors wanting to retain mobility and reclaim greater flexibility. I took Chair Yoga participants through various poses after a few minutes of deep breathing exercises. These included the Goddess, which opens up the pelvic region and the Warrior pose, for improving balance and posture while strengthening your legs, outer hips and upper back,” she remarked.
Ann Elliott from South Sound said: “The class was brilliant. I wasn’t quite sure that I’d take to it having never done yoga before. It was so relaxing, and yet I definitely felt that I was exercising.
“I am a fairly active senior but my daughter is always telling me I could do more. I’ve signed up for next week and have registered my husband as well,” Mrs. Elliott added.
North Side residents, John and Rhoda Smith also registered for the next class. The couple, who attend many of the Older Persons events together, undertook the first session to try it out.
“I’ve never experienced anything quite like it,” said Mr. Smith. “I can’t even describe how I feel right now but it’s definitely positive,” he added after the taster session.
“What I liked about it is that I stretched muscles I haven’t thought about in years. This class should be year-round,” he concluded.
DCFS Social Worker Sigrid Menschaart, who organized the sessions, was encouraged by the positive feedback.
“I was delighted that Seniors Chair Yoga was so well attended,” she said having watched some of the first session through the studio’s viewing window.
“This is the first time we’ve had this kind of class as part of our Older Persons Month offerings. The more active seniors seem to have responded really well to it. A few of those who came along have never attended any Older Persons Month events before, so it’s very encouraging that we are reaching new seniors,” she confided.
This Friday’s (11 October) Bliss Yoga Cayman Chair Yoga session is almost full. To try Chair Yoga on Friday 11, 18 and 25 October, contact the studio at 949-9642.