She created Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga™ in 1982 when one of her thirty-something students was stricken with arthritis and could no longer get down on the floor to practice Yoga. In 1999, she authored and produced her widely acclaimed “Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga: The Sitting Mountain Series” CD/cassette.
She has studied, practiced, and taught Yoga and other Eastern disciplines since 1969. From her early years, she integrated these disciplines with Western health concepts. Her focus has always been to improve her students’ health and wellness by making the integration of these disciplines accessible to the broadest audience possible.
Following the success of her CD, she then created the first Get Fit Where You Sit!® DVD Video, a series of innovative Chair Yoga Fitness and Exercise DVDs in 2007. She made breakthroughs in two areas: extensive step-by-step instruction of each class and providing multiple levels of flexibility so all poses are accessible.
Lakshmi also certifies Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga™ teachers (LVCYTs). In just the first three years of this program, she has certified over 400 people in the United States, Canada, and Japan.
“In 1982, I developed Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga for a dear friend who contracted arthritis. As the Chair Yoga became a more important part of my practice, I wanted to get the gift of Yoga through Chair Yoga out to the world. So, I authored a CD with a tutorial booklet in 1999, started certifying Chair Yoga teachers in 2005, and then made my first DVD in 2007.
“The factor that all my Yoga masters from around the world shared was/is the Yamas and Niyamas, or observances and restraints. All of my teachers and masters gave of their wisdom and knowledge freely. This aspect has stayed with me all of my life. I share all that I have learned freely with my students and teachers-in-training. I do not own this wisdom and knowledge. I must give it back!
“The elements that were important to me as I developed a chair-based program were:
(1) Kindness, humor, sharing of all I have learned, freedom to allow my students and
teachers-in-training to be themselves and create their own studies and classes.
(2) Adapting poses to the chair including the levels of flexibility; staying on the chair 100% and not using the chair as a tool for standing poses; to actually practice true Yoga, pranayama, and meditation on the chair, not just doing stretching exercises.
“Chair Yoga teaches those with mobility issues to learn to love the chair or wheelchair on which they sit. They feel the freedom in the classes of doing the best they can with the levels of flexibility they have at the moment. That leaves the door ajar for opening up to change either tomorrow, next month, next year—whenever! They can feel good about themselves and their accomplishments, that they indeed are doing Yoga on a chair.
“Let’s include everyone that, for whatever reason, cannot participate in regular exercise. I keep the classes simple; not a lot of words. The encouragement is through the levels flexibility allowing students to do the best they can today. If they need to rest, then they do. I encourage them to sit tall and feel good about themselves. They are then able to open their eyes and hearts to the benefits of Yoga on a chair!