Seated Yoga-Based Exercise for Stroke Survivors
This video reviews some of the benefits of yoga practice for stroke survivors, and then guides you through some deep breathing exercises and seated yoga-based poses. Yoga is a great way to strengthen your mind-body connection, and improve your balance, range of motion and strength. Seated poses can be accessible to stroke survivors at many different levels of recovery and can be further modified as needed. Practicing yoga poses are also great for improving your mental health too!
DISCLAIMER: American Stroke Foundation staff and students are not claiming to be certified yoga instructors. This video is intended to educate the viewer on yoga and join Katrina in her own yoga practice and complete yoga-based exercise for stroke survivors. This is not certified yoga instruction.
Benefits of Yoga for Survivors of a Stroke (0:00 - 2:21)
The focus of yoga is not about how flexible you are, or how good your balance is, it’s really about connecting our mind and body.
Yoga can help to improve your:
- Mind-body connection
- Balance, strength and range of motion
- Walking and balance
- Mental health → Manage anxiety, depression, stress, anger or sadness
- Accessible for all stroke patients → Make adjustments to fit your stage of recovery
- Remember to breathe while you exercise!
Deep Breathing (2:22 - 4:49)
To start, find a comfortable seat, with or without arm supports, whatever you are most comfortable with. Deep breathing is a great way to prepare for stretches.
*If you start to feel light-headed – stop and return to normal breathing pattern.
Neck Stretches (4:50 - 7:29)
Slowly move your neck with your breath by looking side to side, bringing your ears down to your shoulders, moving your neck slowly and gently.
Reminder: keep your shoulders relaxed down.
Arm Reaches (7:30 - 9:42)
Reach your arms up as high as you can without feeling pain. You can reach up with your arms separate or together. You can always modify by assisting your other arm. It’s important to do what feels right for your body.
Arms Movements - Open and Cross (9:43 - 11:39)
Cross your arms over your chest. Then turn your arms outward, keeping your elbows in to your sides. Option to do one arm at a time, or assist your affected arm. For an extra challenge, try to alternate which arm goes on top when crossing over your chest.
Side Stretches (11:40 - 14:21)
Place one arm on the arm of your chair for stability. Reach the opposite arm up and lean to one side to feel a stretch along the side of your body. Modify as needed by assisting your affected side.
Push & Pull Shoulder Stretches (14:22 - 15:34)
Bring your arms in front of you, and push your arms forward as you round your back to stretch the back of your shoulders. Then pull your arms straight back bringing your elbows to the back of your chair and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Don’t forget to keep breathing!
Balance Exercises (15:35 - 17:26)
Test your balance skills! Make sure you are in a stable chair when practicing your exercises. Sit up tall, reach one arm up, and lift your opposite leg straight out in front of you. Squeeze your core to stabilize as you breathe through this position. Modify as needed by assisting your affected arm in reaching up.
Final Deep Breaths (17:27 - 17:58)
Start to wind down by taking a few final deep breaths. Take time to reflect on how you feel mentally and physically after your exercise.