Chaverim Yoga: New Addition to the JCC Program » Infinity News Network
Chaverim Yoga for Elders

Chaverim Yoga: A New Addition to the JCC Program

They work and have responsibilities. They have relationships and cope with stress. Track meets and soccer games make them ache. They could take advantage of sharing everything they have accomplished as well as complaining to their friends, either by receiving support or by offering it.

Everything mentioned requires a special place.

Many people find something in yoga that improves both the physical and mental aspect of themselves.

That is the reason the director of the Center for Inclusion & Special Needs, Jody Margolis, considered a yoga class to be an ideal way to enhance the Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC’s program for people with disabilities.

The name of the program is Chaverim. It provides classes two times a week, and it aims to offer opportunities for recreational, social, and educational improvement to adults.

The program includes yoga now as well, and that has been the case for over a year.

Michael Torres, who has been attending the JCC for 24 years to play soccer, bowl, and run tracks, has included yoga in his routine. He said he enjoyed it and considered it relaxing.

Chaverim yoga — which translates from Hebrew as “friends” and is pronounced “HAV a reem,” comprises physical exercises and stretching along with a meditative practice. Chaverim yoga, just like all yoga, can be modified according to any level of ability. In this particular case, there is a large number of participants who use chairs.

This program offers a wide range of benefits. From the physical aspect, yoga stimulates stretching and flexibility, thus helping with recovery, and ultimately, resulting in improved performance.

Padraich “Drake” Spence is an athlete who practices a vast number of sports — volleyball, basketball, track, bowling. He has been rather busy due to his employment at Eggers Imprint and has not been practicing as many sports as he used to. However, he strives to remain active.

He has recognized the potential of yoga to help him achieve his goal.

Spence admitted that he had once considered yoga to be an activity mainly directed towards females. However, he has come around and realized that anybody could do it. According to him, yoga is beneficial for both burning calories and relieving stress. He stated that it helped him relax as well as improved his flexibility, which was especially important for his soccer season.

Practicing yoga has other benefits as well, especially when it comes to mental health. Yoga includes meditation practices, which imply calming one’s mind and focusing on breathing.

Sydney Selig practices basketball, soccer, and bowling. Yoga helps her perform in those sports, but it also provides her with the energy she needs in order to handle her busy schedule. She has a job at Noodles & Company in Shorewood on Oakland Ave.

Margolis said she had noticed Sydney’s frustration and asked her what they talked about.

Sydney responded it was about taking deep breaths and claimed she was working on that in order to relieve stress.

Margolis stated that they used breathing techniques they had learned in yoga classes to calm themselves down.

Minda Devorkin, a yoga instructor, is the one teaching relaxation methods, poses, as well as breathing techniques. 

According to Margolis, Devorkin is compassionate, and her presence and engagement have enriched the program. Margolis stated that her devotion helped the participants learn how to seize the moment and gain self-confidence.

According to Devorkin, in addition to managing to be present and learning how to cope with everyday pressure and accept one’s body, one of the main benefits of yoga is gaining independence.

As she claimed, yoga enhances a person’s presence in their body by connecting it with breath and mind, and the results are especially noticeable in a group which has been under discussion. Devorkin continued to explain the benefits of yoga — comprehending one’s body in space, managing to trust oneself, discovering within oneself the possibility to achieve balance and flexibility and find strength, and managing to do things beyond what one perceives as their possibilities.

The Chaverim program comprises a wide range of activities, such as dining out, art projects, Jazz events in the Park, live theater, and sporting events. It offers relaxation and stress workshops. Not only does the program lead towards independence, but it also provides opportunities for socializing. According to Margolis, that is an essential segment of healthy living, although it sometimes tends to be overlooked.

Margolis stated that many participants would have confirmed that these sessions had become their second home. She explained that the program provided a sense of comfort, self-confidence, and community for the participants. She concluded by saying that the Center for Inclusion & Special Needs was the place those people could consider their own.

The Chaverim yoga has made a contribution to the program in general by becoming its popular part. When it first commenced, it included 12 people doing “chair yoga” as the majority of them had a certain balance issue. The class has expanded and now includes 25 participants, many of whom have managed to move on to mat yoga.

Spence stated that the class was a great way of forming new friendships. He said that many people were often rather shy, regardless of whether they had disabilities or not. Spence mentioned that there was a shy person in his own group. Regardless of the impression she leaves, he believes she is making an effort to connect with her colleagues.

According to Spence, practicing sports can bring you together with some of the most amazing people you will ever get to meet.

Spence, Selig, and Torres all admitted that trying something new could be terrifying, especially in regards to physical activities. Attending a yoga class or an exercise class for the first time, joining a group of strangers, and not being sure what to expect can be quite challenging.

However, they believe it is worth trying.

Selig claimed that anyone was able to do it and succeed.

Torres invited everyone to try it and claimed they would have fun.

According to Spence, one can never be fully aware of their own potential until they make an effort. He provided an example of himself, claiming that he used to be rather round and unathletic in his young age and that he had managed to overcome all that and become athletic, flexible, and in better shape.

He concluded by claiming that it could have the same effect it had on him on anybody willing to try it.  

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