Chair yoga is a huge hit in Ireland’s new normal

Sara de Miguel Hernández, who founded chair yoga, wants to make yoga more accessible to people living with mobility impairment and disabilities.

Flowithme has proven a Covid success story for entrepreneur Sara de Miguel Hernández as she pivoted quickly to bring her popular chair yoga classes online, making them accessible to all.

Sara, who has introduced chair yoga to thousands of people since starting in 2019, says she won’t stop until she has helped at least one million people by sharing her love for the “amazing” wellbeing activity, which is proving more beneficial than ever as we enter another period of lockdown.

Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that involves moving the body and training the mind to achieve balance and wellbeing. The resulting sense of wellbeing allows the individual to reach their greatest potential as a person.

“ It helps with the movement of all major joints of the body”

The beauty of chair yoga is that no matter what your fitness or flexibility levels are, by practicing this type of yoga, you will reap the benefits. Particularly so for those with reduced mobility, disabilities or chronic health problems.

Experience the benefits of yoga

“I saw the chair as the support that would allow everybody, no matter their flexibility or fitness level, to be able to experience the benefits of yoga,” said Sara de Miguel Hernández.

Sara de Miguel Hernandez. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

“I had seen how regular practice was benefitting those attending my weekly classes in Cork, so when Covid-19 hit and I could no longer deliver these sessions in person, I decided to bring the practice online to reach more people in need of this type of exercise to improve the body and mind.

“Surprisingly, my virtual chair yoga classes have been taken up by students from all parts of the world. One of the great benefits of technology.”

Sara is also a life coach and teaches the benefits of wellbeing through good nourishment via her wellness business FloWithMe.

As Ireland entered into the new level-5 lockdown measures this week, Sara believes chair yoga can have a really positive impact on those who are feeling down by the Government’s latest decision.

“For the next six weeks, a lot of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us.

“That is why activities like chair yoga are so important in these difficult times. It helps with the movement of all major joints of the body. This can be a great activity for mornings to reduce stiffness or as a warm-up to any other kind of exercise. You can also use any of these movements throughout the day if you are starting to feel stiff or just need a little bit of movement in your day.”

“During the different movements, you connect with the body and that takes attention and pressure away from the mind”

Chair yoga is also seen as a softer introduction to the world of yoga, and staying active while decreasing stress and anxiety can have several physical and mental health benefits.

“During the different movements, you connect with the body and that takes attention and pressure away from the mind. As a result, the mind becomes calmer and creates a greater feeling of happiness and wellbeing.”

While chair yoga is still relatively young, Sara hopes to change people’s perception of yoga – that it’s over suited to people who keep fit and are flexible.

“Chair yoga can benefit so many people who are not comfortable attending yoga studios, and because of that, I am making it my mission to make it more accessible and create awareness that this practice exits,” she finished.

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By Stephen Larkin

Published: 23 October, 2020