Yoga at Home

Denise Anvil participates in a yoga class at the Virginia G. piper Sports and Fitness Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Photo Devon O'Brien

Get started on your yoga practice with these poses to try at home

Carolyn Tirendi-Drake has been teaching yoga classes for fourteen years and has been an instructor at the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities (SpoFit) in Phoenix, Ariz., since it opened in 2011. Although she has worked with all types of people, she finds her adaptive class at SpoFit to be the most rewarding.

“Their spirits are really strong,” Tirendi-Drake says. “I find that to be the most beautiful thing.”

With her experience in teaching yoga to people in wheelchair, she finds three poses to be the most beneficial for the posture of someone who sits all day. The three moves can easily be done from a wheelchair at any short break in your day.


  1. Core Twist: This pose helps alleviate lower back pain caused by sitting in the chair with a rounded back. Twist your torso to engage your core by sitting up tall and holding onto your left armrest with your right hand. As you exhale, contract to the back. Then inhale and come up tall to the front. Repeat for as many breaths as you feel comfortable with, then repeat on the opposite side.
  2. Forward Bend: This move stretches your forearms and shoulders to keep blood flowing strong throughout your upper limbs. Place the backs of your palms together behind your back. Exhale and bend at the waist so your hands are pointing toward the ceiling while you are looking down at the floor. Inhale and slowly come back up to the starting position while pushing your shoulders back to open up your chest. Repeat for as many breaths as you are comfortable with.
  3. Adapted Cat and Cow: This adapted version of a traditional yoga pose opens up your chest and stretches out the upper back and shoulders to counteract the forward pushing movement used in a wheelchair. Inhale and sit up straight, roll your shoulders back as if to make your shoulder blades come together while looking straight up at the ceiling. Exhale and round your shoulder down, drop your chin to your chest and looks straight down at your lap. Repeat for as many breaths as you are comfortable with.


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