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Ask the Expert: Chair Yoga

Sheri Plough, chair yoga instructor at the Nassif Community Cancer Center, discusses chair yoga, how it can benefit patients and much more.

What is chair yoga?

Chair yoga is a beneficial form of yoga for any fitness level, from active seniors to those recovering from an illness or  injury. It is an effective low-impact exercise that can build strength and flexibility and enhance mental health. Chair yoga is also a viable option for older adults with limited mobility.

What can patients expect at a chair yoga class?

They should expect a low-impact class that combines strengthening and stretching movements with breathing exercises. They will also use a chair to perform the traditional yoga poses to support the body and protect against falls and injury, which allows them to reap just as many benefits as taking a traditional yoga class.

In what ways can chair yoga benefit cancer patients during treatment, as well as cancer survivors?

There are studies that have linked yoga with reduced fatigue in cancer patients. Chair yoga reduces stress. We all know that battling a life-threatening disease is physically, emotionally and mentally stressful. Practicing chair yoga, and having a regular routine can reduce the likelihood of mood disturbance and improve physical functioning. Cancer also affects the body’s ability to move. Spending time in the hospital or being sick at home can make the body stiff and sore and make it more difficult to complete daily tasks. Chair yoga will also allow you to sleep better. This is beneficial as healing the body requires rest. Overall, chair yoga is a gentle way to stay limber and active. It’s also great community. We all need each other!

What would you say to someone who may be hesitant to try chair yoga?

Come give it a try and see what you think, you really have nothing to lose. Everyone has something going on in their bodies and it’s okay. We start where we are and do what we can. There’s never any judgment. 

What is your goal when working with patients at the Community Cancer Center?

My goal for my students is to show them compassion and keep them safe as we practice chair yoga while giving them an energetic, physical and mental boost so that when they leave class they feel better than when they came. I want to help them learn and broaden their skills as they practice each week. 


Sheri Plough

Sheri Plough has been a certified yoga instructor for seven years. She has extensive training in restorative and chair yoga, with over 800 hours of coursework completed to earn her multiple instructor certifications. She keeps up on the latest techniques through online continuing education courses.


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