There is a growing need for more Chair Yoga teachers. Education about the mental and physical benefits of Yoga has spread like "wild fire" in the past couple of decades; but what about the needs of those who are not so young and limber? In some parts of the world, the number of seniors will outweigh the working population. Italy, the United States, and the rest of Europe, will see senior populations grow rapidly. Within the United States, every seven seconds, someone turns 50 years of age. In 20 years, the number of people over 65 is projected to be over 60 million.
"The writing is on the wall," and there are many opportunities for Yoga teachers, senior fitness specialists, and health care professionals. Although government bureaucrats will not adjust for massive senior health care needs, until it is too late, that doesn't mean you can't do something about it. If you are currently a Yoga teacher, you should learn everything you can about Chair Yoga. Continuing education is a big part of teaching, so you want to learn about senior fitness, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, modifications, props, and contraindications. If you are a Yoga student, who wants to teach seniors, you should learn everything you can, and get involved in a Yoga Teacher Training program.
Chair Yoga teachers should have a solid foundation in Yoga and/or be familiar with the physical abilities of seniors. Physical therapists, and senior fitness specialists, could easily learn Chair Yoga concepts, as well. However, you must be honest with yourself in regard to patience and compassion. This type of class is not for the instructor who just wants to do his, or her, "workout." Sure you can demonstrate, but you must also assist, modify, and cue those who cannot always hear so well. Therefore, patience, compassion, and safety, are of prime importance.
This is a direction of employment that could lead to 30 years of job security. Currently, I have been training local Yoga teachers, so they can work with seniors in the Providence area. The reason: As I have said before, "The demand for Yoga is far beyond what any one of us can do." Think about the cost of medical services, prescriptions, and physical therapy.
Then, consider the cost of Yoga instruction. This is a "no-brainer," but don't expect to see a big change right away. Nevertheless, senior centers, assisted living complexes, and nursing homes have already caught onto the fact that Yoga is cost effective preventative medicine.
This proactive mind-set has also infiltrated the medical community. It is not uncommon for Yoga studios to get medical referrals. Medical professionals have so many patients that they are advising many prevention methods, and Yoga is one of them.
Do you think all of the Chair Yoga classes will be in senior facilities, 20 years from now? My bet is some of these classes will be in "top name" fitness centers. The fitness industry will not want to miss the opportunity to tap into a 60 million plus membership market, that will visit them during "off peak" hours. Therefore, look for Chair Yoga and senior fitness to explode, in popularity, for the next two or three decades. This age group will be looking at Yoga for longevity, so it won't be anything close to a "fad.".
Paul Jerard, is a co-owner/director of Yoga teacher training at Aura Wellness Center. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. He is a master instructor of martial arts. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness to children, adults, and seniors. Recently he wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students, who may be considering a new career as a Yoga teacher. http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org