Dialysis provider Fresenius Medical Care North America has asked Lakshmi Voelker, an author, lecturer and yoga instructor, to create a chair yoga program specifically for dialysis patients. 

Chair yoga is done while seated or standing next to a chair. The stretching exercises can be done by people with a wide range of fitness levels and medical conditions, while the breathing techniques work well for calming and stress reduction, according to a news release issued by FMCNA.

FMCNA said they reached out to Voelker as part of an ongoing Healthy Lifestyles initiative, which encourages patients with chronic kidney disease to lead healthier and better lives on dialysis by eating nutritious, kidney-friendly foods and staying physically active.  

Voelker has been educating people for years about the therapeutic benefits of yoga, which can include; lower blood pressure and stress, better heart function, improved strength, circulation, and flexibility. But rather than simply passing along the traditional yoga techniques that she learned from her own teachers, she has spent the past three decades developing and teaching a form of seated yoga that can be done by almost anyone.

 “Chair yoga exercises have been successfully adapted for office workers seated at their desks and for people on airline flights,” says Voelker. “So I’m confident they can be just as effective and beneficial for dialysis patients.”

“Chair yoga’s unique regimen of stretching and breathing exercises lends itself well to dialysis patients’ needs,” says Jill Hall, RN and vice president of quality management at FMCNA, “It should also be a great way to inspire patients at all fitness levels to be more active.”

Voelker will be participating in a pair of Wellness Day programs on Monday, Sept. 8, at Fresenius Medical Care East Denver. She will be demonstrating specific exercises suitable for dialysis patients, and discussing how they can get the most benefit from chair yoga.