1) Your students truly benefit from it.
Your students will likely be either seniors or those with physical limitations. Especially in the case of someone that has not been exercising at all because of their condition, you will often see rapid improvements. Prospective students sometimes report feeling better after a single class.
Liz knew that she was on to something from that very first demonstration to the senior’s group at our church. After the demo, one of the women rushed up to Liz and put her hands in Liz’ hands. “Do you feel that?” she said, “my hands haven’t felt warm in years!”
While we don’t promise miracles (and neither should you!) we’ve seen chair yoga lower students’ blood pressure, cause them to stop needing anti-anxiety medicine, allow them to sleep better, regain height, relieve the symptoms of chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and much more. Students’ health care professionals will sometimes notice the difference chair yoga is making and ask what they are doing differently. Of course, the patient is always told to keep it up!
2) Your work will be truly appreciated and you’ll hear about it, too.
You will often enjoy having people tell you about all the wonderful things that chair yoga has done to make them more comfortable, healthier, and happier.
Those of us that are younger and don’t have a debilitating condition tend to take some things for granted. Chair yoga might help a person raise their arm above their heads to reach something, or turn their head back to check traffic, when they had lost the ability to do so. I think I’d be appreciative, too!
3) Millions of prospective students and growing daily.
I just saw a statistic that blew my mind – one baby boomer turns 50 every 8 seconds!
So much has been said about the value of marketing into the coming boom in baby boomer seniors that I shouldn’t have to convince you. Besides, we can all see it happening right before our very eyes.
As a yoga instructor, adding chair yoga to your list of teaching skills is a good way to take advantage of this social phenomenon.
Baby boomers aren’t much interested in retiring to sit back in a rocking chair and wait while their bodies deteriorate from disuse. So no matter what age or stage they are in, they will be seeking ways to keep themselves fit.
Baby boomers are more likely to consider alternate approaches to staying healthy than previous generations, so they will be much more likely to be receptive to the notion of practicing yoga. In fact, many will have some sort of prior experience with yoga, as we have seen.
The oldest of the boomers are just now turning 60, so it is a great time to get serious about teaching chair yoga!
4) There is an abundance of ready-made classes to find.
Most yoga classes come about in an organic fashion, adding one or two students at a time. But by teaching chair yoga, you can find yourself starting whole new classes with several customers all at once.
This is because you are often taking the yoga class to the people where they are already congregating. One of the biggest markets for chair yoga is seniors, and seniors are easy to find already in a group together.
Just where to go will vary depending on where you live, but here are a few ideas to get you started thinking about this:
o Retirement villages, retirement centers, assisted living centers, nursing homes
o Adult day care
o Seniors’ groups at places of worship
o Community centers/Parks and recreation programs
o Fraternal organizations
People suffering from particular ailments such as multiple sclerosis or arthritis tend to get together to help each other cope with the disease. All you have to do is find the organizations in your neighborhood that are addressing this need and approach them with the idea of helping the group practice chair yoga. Yoga has been shown to effectively ease the symptoms of many types of ailments, and yet few have anyplace to go where there is a yoga program appropriate for them.
With some brainstorming you can probably come up with a pretty good list appropriate for the circumstances in your community.
The beauty of approaching these groups is that you almost always are proposing to teach yoga to people that never imagined they’d be in a yoga class. That means you aren’t competing with all the yoga teachers trying to capture classes out of the existing pool of practicing yogis and yoginis.
Just how you go about approaching these types of organizations is something that we go into detail about in our Yoga In Chairs teacher training intensives and the materials for the at-home training program.
5) Enjoy having loyal students.
There are many reasons why chair yoga students will be more loyal to you than students in your more traditional classes.
It is likely that they were introduced to yoga by you or by the leadership of the group they are in. Since they never had a notion to seek out yoga before, they will be much less inclined to look for alternative teachers in your area. Plus, as has already been noted, they probably don’t have many other chair yoga programs to turn to, even if they wanted to have choices.
If you take the class to the students it is of course easy for them to participate every time you are there.
Most of your chair yoga customers will be mature people who know the value of being considered reliable. This means that when they make a commitment to participate in a program, they likely will follow through.
In fact, Liz’ students typically call or email her if they are not able to come to class for some reason. She, in turn, contacts them if she notices they were absent from class, especially if it is longer than a few weeks. By simply staying in touch in an unobtrusive way she retains more students.
If you are a yoga instructor and you aren’t already teaching chair yoga, you are encouraged to do so. Not only will you have more classes to teach, but also you will be making a REAL difference in the world.