Yoga teacher uses chairs in practice

Former Langara student Cindy Hsu-Becker offers a different take on yoga techniques


Reported by Kelsea Franzke

Inspired by her mother-in-law’s difficulty with movement, one Vancouver-based yoga teacher is helping seniors and others with mobility issues through the practice of chair yoga.

Cindy Hsu-Becker is currently a chair yoga instructor at the Sunset Community Centre in Vancouver. Prior to teaching yoga she was a landscape architect. Because the outdoors has been a perpetual draw in Hsu-Becker’s life, deciding to become a yoga instructor was an easy decision to make.

“The practice of yoga is traditionally an outdoor practice, so it was just a natural flow for me as a landscape architect who enjoys designing outdoors, to practice yoga outdoors,” said Hsu-Becker. “There’s just a really close correlation between the two,” she said.

From student to teacher

As a graduate of the yoga teacher training program at Langara College, Hsu-Becker is trained to teach the therapeutic benefits of yoga in her classes and focuses on the wellness of the both the body and mind. In the yoga studio she shares her knowledge and mindful living practices with her students.

“Cindy is very calm, methodical and upbeat. She’s gentle with students and offers lots of options if you need to do something different, or have an injury,” said Sarah Holland, a former classmate of Hsu-Becker.

“She’s very grounded and offers an atmosphere in class that is reaffirming and positive,” Holland said.

An exercise that includes everyone

As yoga is a form of exercise that varies in intensity, Hsu-Becker says that people with mobility problems often struggle to get up and off the floor when practicing traditional yoga. The practice of chair yoga solves this, as it is geared to those who have physical limitations.

“When teaching yoga, you can decrease a level of intensity so you are still receiving the benefit of the yoga exercises, just without the additional stress on the body. This is what we do with chair Yoga,” Hsu-Becker said.

Naseem Gulamhusein, program coordinator for the yoga teacher training program at Langara, encourages yoga teachers to get a professional credential, and is proud to see that Hsu-Becker, her former student, is now sharing her knowledge within the community.

“I think it’s amazing that Cindy is out there in the community, spreading the teachings of traditional yoga and is really making a difference in the lives of others. She was a really stellar student and now teacher,” Gulamhusein said.

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