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Some effective yoga poses for wheelchair users

Yoga is recognized the world over as helpful for both physical and mental health. The poses range from the simple to complex and can be adapted depending on a person's needs. On the occasion of International Day of Yoga, we bring some yoga poses that can benefit wheelchair users.

Samapada Talwadkar, a yoga teacher from Mumbai, believes that anyone can do yoga, regardless of age, body type or disability and that regular practice brings positivity and freshness.

"Even people who use wheelchair can feel their energy levels improving with yoga. Once they start doing yoga, they feel stronger, internally, and more confident", says Talwadkar.

So, in what ways does yoga specially benefit wheelchair users?:

  1. Improves lung capacity, breathing.

  2. Improves strength & flexibility.

  3. Better sleep

  4. Boosts morale, improves the mood.

  5. Reduced anxiety and stress.

  6. Feelings of positivity and optimism.

  7. Building social connections, feeling less isolated.

Karan S Shahh, does yoga regularly and swears by its benefits.

Regular practice feels good and refreshing. I also believe that mediation is very effective for people who use wheelchairs. I try and meditate every day and it improves my focus, thinking and brings a feeling of wellbeing. - Karan S Shahh, Canine Trainer- Behaviourist

Do with care

However, like with any other exercise regimen, do consult a doctor about what asanas you should avoid or do with care. And remember go slow at first. You can injure yourself if you get too aggressive with your body. In general, avoid doing yoga alone and practice in the presence of care givers, friends, or a teacher. Also remember that if a pose causes discomfort or pain, stop and consult a doctor.

Here are some yoga poses recommended for people who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility.

  1. Cow pose

Place your arms on the wheelchair or on your thighs. Then slowly lift your head toward the ceiling while you inhale and arch your back. Continue breathing and hold the pose for a few deep breaths.

  1. Cat Pose

Place your arms on the wheelchair or on your thighs. Move your chin downwards while exhaling and arch your back like a cat. Hold this position for few moments and keep breathing slowly.

  1. Twist

Bring your right hand across your left leg as you inhale and slowly try to look over your left shoulder. Breathe 3-5 times, release then do the same with the right arm. The pose helps in stretching and relieves tension from the back.

Aim to hold each pose for a count of 10 seconds to start with and repeat every asana three times. As you progress, you can increase the duration of each pose.

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