Wheelchair Yoga is a practice from India which embraces each individual as unique and beautiful.  Consequently, each exercise (called a Yoga pose) is an expression of the individual.  Therefore, just as no two people are the same, no two poses are the same.  When performing Yoga in a wheelchair, each individual should work toward expressing the pose to his or her fullest capability while honoring his or her limitations.

Benefits of wheelchair Yoga include include:

  1. improved flexibility
  2. increased strength
  3. greater lung capacity
  4. reduced levels of stress, tension and anxiety
  5. improved mental clarity and focus
  6. improved sense of well being
  7. increased feelings of connection, less isolation
  8. more restful sleep

Precautions

When practicing wheelchair Yoga, follow these precautions:

  1. Consult with a doctor before beginning this or any fitness program
  2. When possible, perform Yoga poses with a partner or caregiver present
  3. Stretch only to the point where you experience a mild tension, never pain
  4. Continue to breathe normally as you hold each stretch

Wheelchair Poses

The following are Yoga poses that can be done in a wheelchair.

Cat Pose (back stretch)

Cow Pose (front of body-opener)

Side Stretch (obliques and lats)

Twist (back)

Eagle Pose (back and shoulder stretch)

Forward Bend (low back, hips and and hamstrings)

Hip Stretch (hips)

Leg Stretch (hamstrings)

Resources for Wheelchair Yoga

For more information on Yoga and other activities for people with disabilities, visit the The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability.