LINDSBORG — Martha Danielson doesn't teach a normal yoga class.
For her, using a chair while performing yoga moves opens up many possibilities for more people to participate, often providing a sense of comfort.
"Not everybody can get on the floor and not everyone can touch their toes or reach the ground. The difference between what you might call the normal yoga class from chair yoga is that we do not get down on the floor," Danielson said. "The postures that we do are either seated in a chair or standing behind or beside a chair, in the event that we need a little more support for balancing."
By happenstance, Danielson’s yoga career began in Las Vegas, when her granddaughter won a three month membership to a local gym. Danielson practiced yoga prior to coming to the gym, but when instructors noticed her passion for it, they offered her a position.
"They handed me a flyer and then one thing led to another and I just fell in love with it. The next thing you know, I'm traveling all over the country taking trainings," she explained.
Danielson moved to Lindsborg in 2016, and again through happenstance, a conversation with the mayor turned into her teaching classes once again.
"We were just chatting for a bit and he mentioned something about a yoga recreation director so that's how that happened," she laughed.
To start her classes, she begins by telling her students to let go of all competition, expectations and judgement of themselves and others. Letting go of daily stressors allows participants to focus on the task at hand.
"We truly focus on our body and on our breath and people really surprisingly embrace the relaxation part of it, which comes at the end of the session because I think we're living in a day and age now where people are really seeking even for a few minutes a day to just find a way to relax — and that's what yoga does," Danielson said.
Danielson also ensures that students are comfortable with each pose.
"Nobody is ever expected to step or move in anyway that will cause any pain or anxiety," she noted.
Although she may want her students to feel at ease in her class, she does challenge them from time to time.
"Sometimes we step it up and challenge ourselves, but we also always carry with us the wisdom to know when it’s time to step back and back off. So you can stop at anytime and do whatever you need to be in a comfortable position," Danielson added.
Danielson said her students use the chairs for half of the class, but can choose not to if they wish.
After teaching chair yoga for many years, Danielson has seen some impressive benefits come from it.
"First of all, you're creating a movement in your body, which is a very healing thing, and then yoga also focuses on breath and embraces relaxation techniques. The difference between what you would do in an aerobics class or something like that is that yoga takes you through a full range of motion of all joints and it stretches and strengthens all parts of your body, which is something you don't get in an aerobics class," she explained.
Danielson's walk-in class is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings at Lindsborg City Hall, located at 101 S. Main St. and cost $3 each.
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