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Chair yoga is also a social occasion


Even though they spend part of the session seated, participants in chair yoga get a very good workout.

Various poses help their legs, thighs, calves and spines. Leaning forward in their chairs, attendees pretend to “stir the pot.” They even do jumping jacks while seated. One of the exercises is meant to help your memory.

Chair yoga, offered at the Grand Island YMCA, is a popular class. On a recent Tuesday, 25 people took part.







Chair Yoga 1

Attendees at the YMCA Chair Yoga class do a stretch during their Feb. 8 workout.




The class is offered at the Y every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30-10:15 a.m. The instructors are Tracy Noble and Joyce Meinecke.

Chair yoga is a modified approach to traditional yoga. The participants take both seated and standing poses. But only their feet touch the floor.

“You don’t have to have that stress of getting up and down the floor,” Meinecke said.

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Class members are asked to do only what they can do. “Our motto is ‘respect your limitations,’” Noble said.







Chair Yoga 2

Attendees at the YMCA Chair Yoga class do chair jumping jacks during their Feb. 8 workout.




In addition to older adults, the class is meant for people who have conditions that limit them. One of those conditions might be arthritis.

“It’s a great program,” said Noble, who’s taught the class for 17 years.

Chair yoga is good for balance and stability, Noble said.

“Most of our emergency room calls as we get older are (related to) falls, and so we’re really working on balance — standing on one leg, standing on the other leg,” Noble said.

“That’s why we have the chair, too. If we’re not confident, we need to have something to grab.”







Chair Yoga 3

Reaching for the stars, attendees at the YMCA Chair Yoga class do a stretch during their Feb. 8 workout.




Chair yoga will strengthen people’s legs and cores. Squats are great because they strengthen your thighs, Noble said.

Chair yoga also helps people with their breathing.

Because their lungs aren’t as flexible, people don’t breathe as deeply as they get older, Noble said. The breathing exercises help people with blood pressure and stress, Noble said.

Many older people face stress. Some of those people might be caring for another person. Chair yoga is a good time “for them to get away and work on themselves,” Noble said.

Chair yoga benefits people who are looking at knee or hip replacements.

“We’ll see them go out and then we’ll see them come back,” Noble said. “And most of the time they’ll bounce back a little quicker because they’ve been doing some of these strength exercises along the way.”







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Attendees at the YMCA Chair Yoga class do a “stir the pot” exercise during their Feb. 8 class.




Some class members have cardiac problems. Facing open heart surgery, they make themselves stronger in chair yoga. They go have their surgery and then come back. “And they’ll come back stronger sometimes,” Noble said.

Sometimes, class members come in wheelchairs.

There is no age limit for chair yoga. To take part, one must be a member of the YMCA, or pay a $10 fee to use Y facilities for one day.

Chair yoga is also offered at St. Leo’s Catholic Church, where it’s called chair stretch.

Attendance is also good at St. Leo’s, Noble said. Those sessions are Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. Free will offerings are accepted.

Each class concludes with five minutes of relaxation.

People leave the sessions relaxed and ready for the day, Noble said.







Chair Yoga 4

Chair Yoga class is held in a gymnasium at the YMCA in Grand Island.




Attendees don’t have to worry about the religious aspect of yoga.

“We’re not a religion. This is an exercise class,” Noble said.

One member of the class, Evelyn Stelk, is 90. “It gets me moving,” she said.







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Chair Yoga class is held in a gymnasium at the YMCA in Grand Island.




John and Linda Dahlstrom try to get to the Y five days a week. John, 83, had a triple bypass two years ago.

Chair yoga is just one of many things the Y has to offer, says longtime YMCA member Mary Cannon.

The Y is a great asset to the community, and many people don’t realize everything that’s available, Cannon said.

The new name and sign for a segment of Highway 30, dedicated to former Firefighter Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz, gets revealed …

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

Attendees watch a clip show for the unveiling of the new Highway 30 sign and rename at Babel’s Barn in Wood River on Friday, Feb. 16. The sign…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

Plaques and images of Captain Bob Heminger and Captain Kenny Woitalewicz rest during the sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood Rive…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

The clip show about the Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz ends during the sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood River on Friday, F…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

Lindsay Krycki, left, and Ryan during the Heminger and the Woitalewicz families’ sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood River on Fri…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

Melissa Woitalewicz, second left, receives a box rose from Cindy Schellpeper, right, during the sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wo…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

Lindsay Krycki, back, hugs Cindy Schellpeper during the sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood River on Friday, Feb. 16. Krycki, who…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

An attendee looks the memorial for Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz during the sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood River on Fri…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

The Heminger and the Woitalewicz families hug each other during the sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood River on Friday, Feb. 16.…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

Ryan Woitalewicz, left, and his mother, Melissa Woitalewicz, watch the clip show during the sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood R…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

The Heminger and the Woitalewicz families take a photo in front of the new sign during the dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood River o…

Highway 30 sign dedication for Fire Captains Bob Heminger and Kenny Woitalewicz

An American flag waves in the wind during the sign dedication ceremony at Babel’s Barn in Wood River on Friday, Feb. 16. The flag was ties to …



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