We caught up with Margaret Hudson who has been teaching chair yoga to older people across Wales as part of our online exercise programme. 

Can you tell us a bit about chair yoga – what are the benefits?

Chair yoga is a gentle but effective practice in which postures are performed while seated and standing with the aid of a chair. It aids those with physical disabilities, or ageing men and women who find a typical yoga session too challenging. It's also a great form of yoga for beginners or anyone who wants to focus on a gentle practice.

Just like a regular yoga practice, chair yoga increases flexibility, strength, and body awareness.

How long have you been teaching chair yoga and why did you decide to start teaching?

I qualified with the British Wheel of Yoga about 30 years ago and its philosophy and teachings, both physically and mentally, have been a huge benefit throughout my life.

I'm a qualified complementary therapies practitioner and I’ve worked with aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki over the years. I believe we can help ourselves keep healthy more than we realise, and learning is life-long. I’m currently training in mindfulness meditation.

The concept of well-being is an important factor in my life. Teaching and sharing these skills is a privilege and hopefully benefits others in their day-to-day life. Over the years I’ve made modifications to suit the varying abilities that I teach, from beginners, improvers and young adults through to senior level.

Do you have any tips for our older people?

Learning correct breathing techniques to go with the different exercises and postures is the most beneficial tip I can give, and every age group receives similar revitalising and energising results.

Along with this, being aware of when you consciously breathe totally relaxes the body and mind, helping you to recognise extraneous thoughts that are not useful.

How is teaching online different to teaching face to face?

I think, as with all online interaction, it's inferior to face to face but, generally, we can get the main information across.

As far as yoga goes, it's really important to emphasise the need to work to participant’s own capabilities as it's difficult for the teacher to see small screens of students and their modifications. It’s important that students can clearly see and hear the teaching of postures.

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