Parks and Rec now offers Sit & Get Fit, chair yoga classes

Andrea Hall, owner of Be Strong Fitness & Yoga, is teaching chair yoga at the Berndes Center on behalf of Parks and Rec. Classes are modified for use of a chair, and are free to attend. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

The goal with chair yoga is to work one’s range of mobility as seen here with the participants stretching their legs apart. Chair yoga is offered every Wednesday.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Last week, Monticello Parks and Recreation Department welcomed senior group activities at the Berndes Center.

     On Monday, Carol Janssen, occupational therapy assistant with Above & Beyond, restarted her popular Sit & Get Fit classes again. These will be offered every Monday at 8:30 a.m., and usually last about 35 minutes.

     Participants must wear a facemask. Sit & Fit classes are being held in the big gym to allow for social distancing.

     “If you show up you can take part,” urged Janssen.

     Another fitness option for senior citizens, or anyone in general, is chair yoga, hosted by Andrea Hall, registered yoga teacher and owner of Be Strong Fitness & Yoga. Chair yoga is offered every Wednesday at the Berndes Center from 9 to 10 a.m.

     Parks and Rec Director Jacob Oswald said both senior fitness classes were on a hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic. But when Sit & Get Fit decided to re-start classes again, Parks and Rec felt it was also a good time to bring in chair yoga.

     Parks and Rec and Hall both credit Leann Herman, former Monticello Nursing and Rehab employee, with initially starting chair yoga prior to the pandemic.

     “When Leann used to do it, there was a lot of success,” recalled Oswald. “People enjoyed doing it.”

     This time around, Parks and Rec Superintendent Shannon Poe reached out to Hall to see if chair yoga was something she’d be willing to offer.

     “I knew it was popular when Leann (Herman) did it and several people inquired about it over the course of COVID,” shared Poe. “I was a little hesitant to reach out, as I know how busy Andrea is, but I figured it didn’t hurt to ask. I’m sure people will be very happy to have it back!”

     Oswald said it was a great idea for Parks and Rec to partner with Hall, knowing she already had the experience and expertise to teach chair yoga.

     Right now the class is offered in the small room, but if the class size grows, it could be moved into the gym to allow for further social distancing.

     “We’ve been making the conscience effort to bring in more experts for adult and senior programming, and at all levels,” offered Oswald. “We want to branch out more than your typical sports.”

     Hall, who also serves on the Parks and Rec Trail Committee, was on board to offer chair yoga at the Berndes Center. Her first class on Jan. 6 boasted about a dozen participants.

     “From a business standpoint, I’m already established here, and this is a good fit with the Sit & Get Fit classes. They go well together,” praised Hall.

     While attendance right now is predominately senior citizens, Hall said she is open to all ages and abilities.

     “It works for those with limited range of motion and mobility,” she explained. That might include those with hip, knee, and should issues, as well as balance issues.

     “The poses are modified to use the chair,” explained Hall. “We focus on breathing, posture, core, and stress relief.” Chair yoga can also “diminish the effects of aging and improve circulation,” noted Hall.

     While Sit & Fit classes and chair yoga are only offered once a week, Hall recommends people of any age try to get 5 to 10 minutes of exercise a day. She said it’s especially important as people have been staying home during COVID.

     At the close of each session, Hall ends with “savasana.” This is the five to eight minutes final relaxation where participants close their eyes and focus on their breathing.

     Those who take part in chair yoga are required to wear a mask. Chairs are spaced 6 feet apart. Hall provides yoga straps for everyone, and everything is disinfected at the end of the session.

     For those who don’t feel comfortable attending in-person, Hall livestreams her sessions on the Parks and Rec Facebook page.

     “It’s free for anybody who wants to do it,” offered Hall. “And you can always revisit the videos again and again.”

     To inquire about Parks and Rec activities, contact Oswald or Poe at 319-465-6640.


Subscriber Login