Yoga for Disabilities | Friendly Wheels | Issue 26

Posted on Wednesday March 23, 2011

Yoga-cize in 2010!

Friendly Wheels, Issue 26
March 2010

By: Fran Hetzner, Amigo Mobility

altRecently, I began to notice subtle but distinctive changes in a good friend of mine. Kathie is my very tolerant watercolors’ instructor, 70+ years old, and sharp as a tack. She is more than fun and attends Curves on a regular basis. Seeing her clothes drape her frame in a more flattering fit and her eyes sparkle and complexion glow, I asked her what she was up to.

Her immediate response was brief and to the point, “Yoga. You need to try it.” While I haven’t yet, the benefits are outwardly and inwardly (as you’ll read below) apparent.

Keeping an exercise routine intact is important, but especially so as people age. Stretching is always helpful for the body. Yoga is a great way to calm your body, and stretch your muscles. Even better, it’s accessible to people with disabilities.

Shelley Sidelman ( is a yoga therapist (her students with MS attend class regularly) who has been in private practice, since 1995. “My soft and gentle approach to yoga is both therapeutic and rehabilitative. I combine simple breathing, relaxation and stretching techniques that will enable you to reduce pain, increase circulation and improve your flexibility.”

An excerpt taken from Yoga Resources For People With Disabilities by Kim Donahue,, cites the following benefits on practicing yoga from the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD):

  • Digestive system, as the bending and stretching poses stimulate the digestive system
  • Cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary systems (also known as your heart and lungs!), as the more active poses increase heart rate and lung capacity through aerobic activity
  • Lymphatic system (essentially, the primary component of your immune system), which needs strong muscles and active interaction among the lungs, diaphragm, and thorax to stay strong
  • Skeletal and muscular systems, which benefit from yoga’s focus on proper alignment, flexibility, and muscle-strengthening

One of the best free sources of information on the benefits of yoga is the NCPAD’s Web site section, “Yoga for Individuals with Disabilities.” Visit it today!

Make yoga a lifestyle change in 2010. I will…if you will. Let me know at

Read more Friendly Wheels articles here.

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