By MARY HURSH
One of the large conference rooms at the Oakwood Resort will be transformed into a yoga studio for an hour Feb. 20 in preparation for the second winter event offered by Chautauqua-Wawasee to area residents.
For this event, Chautauqua-Wawasee has partnered with Parkview-Warsaw YMCA. The class, “Chair Yoga for Seniors,” will run from 11 a.m. until noon. Those coming should wear tennis shoes, comfortable pants with stretch and a T-shirt with a long sleeve sweater or jacket.
A focus of the large space at Oakwood Feb. 20 will be a series of chairs set up to make it possible for seniors to do a variety of seated and standing yoga postures. “The poses we will do are designed to increase flexibility, balance and range of movement,” said Dawn Weed, a yoga teacher at the Parkview-Warsaw YMCA who will be leading the class.
For the Oakwood event, Weed will take participants through the SilverSneakers Yoga Stretch program which moves the whole body through a complete series of seated and standing yoga poses. “Chair support is offered to safely perform a variety of postures designed to increase flexibility, balance and a range of movement,” said Weed. Restorative breathing exercises and a final relaxation will be offered to promote stress reduction and mental clarity.
“I have taught SilverSneakers Yoga and Classic Yoga at the YMCA since 2014. Teaching is rewarding because the age group I work with is so committed. I love to see those who first come in with a walker or a cane gain not only confidence and strength but also core balance. We really work on strengthening the core to increase stability and help prevent falls.”
SilverSneakers is a health and fitness program designed for adults 65+ which is included with many Medicare Advantage plans. Membership provides access to any participating gym location, weight training, aerobics and group exercise classes. Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, does not cover this benefit.
Weed’s weekly schedule focuses on many aspects of health. On Monday, she teaches SilverSneakers Yoga and Enhanced Fitness. Tuesday is SilverSneaker Classic. Wednesday is SilverSneaker Yoga Stretch and Enhanced Fitness again. Thursday is another SilverSneakers Classic. On Fridays, Weed works as a healthy heart ambassador for the blood pressure self-monitoring program to help adults with hypertension lower and manage their blood pressure.
The SilverSneaker Classic Weed teaches at the YMCA includes some seated cardio exercises and accommodates everyone who wants to work on upper body strength. Stretch bands, balls, and hand weights are often used. Her SilverSneaker Yoga Stretch class emphasizes learning how to breathe and how to use breathing techniques to do various yoga movements.
Weed is certified as a healthy heart ambassador through the YMCA’s blood pressure self-monitoring program. She is currently learning how to become an engagement coach at the YMCA. This type of coach introduces people to the various cardio machines. The machines can be linked to a cellphone or watch so staff can tell how long someone has walked. “We always give participants fitness incentives and awards. One of the fun challenges is the recliner challenge.”
After graduation from Wawasee High School, Weed went to work in the family Ace Hardware business in Warsaw. She worked there for more than 39 years before deciding to get into fitness. “When I went to Texas to visit my mom, I was introduced to SilverSneakers. That was the beginning!”
Weed is certified in Yoga Fit Level 1, Yoga Fit Seniors and SilverSneakers Yoga Stretch, Classic, and Circuit as well as Enhance Fitness.
Weed and her husband live on the south side of Little Barbee. “We built our own bermed house and enjoy lake activities on our pontoon.”