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Chair yoga for senior citizens

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Don't be fooled by the walkers and wheelchairs, a group of seniors can do a mean, although modified, downward dog.  It's yoga for the senior set and they're not letting their years get in their way.

"They said you could do as much as you could, don't worry about doing that which you couldn't. So I'm coming and do what I can," chair yoga student Alayne DiFranco said.

Welcome to the weekly chair yoga class at Albany's Atria Shaker Assisted Living Center.

Noreen Santa Maria, Chair Yoga Instructor: "It's a blend of several programs I've been involved in."

No one has to be a contortionist and it can be done from the comfort and safety of a chair.  It brings many things to the senior population.

"Energy, movement, um, confidence in themselves that they can move when they didn't think that they could," chair yoga instructor Noreen Santa Maria said.

"I thought it was gonna be hard, and I didn't want to make a fool of myself but it's not. It's very easy, relaxing," chair yoga student Pat Testo said.

Now in its fourth month, the program initially attracted only a handful of residents.  The buzz about it was so good, now 25 of the 100 residents take part, including 98 year old Thelma Ryan.  She is the oldest student in the group.

"I enjoy it very much. I feel so relaxed afterwards," chair yoga student Thelma Ryan said.

"Whatever we can do for our residents to keep them active, keep them nimble, obviously allows them to have a healthier life and you know, we want to give them different things so they, because variety is the spice of life. Yoga is something that can be just be part of that," assisted living director Josh Krull said.

That's why Frank Gorman signed on.  At 89, Gorman says yoga makes him feel 39.

"Well, because a lot of us are afraid to move or hate to move and it's good to move. If you want to live, move," chair yoga student Frank Gorman said.

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