HCN News & Notes

Visiting Angels Offers Free Weekly Chair Yoga at Brownstone Gardens

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Visiting Angels West Springfield sponsors free weekly chair yoga classes for seniors or anyone who would like to join. These classes are held every Monday at 1:30 p.m. in the community room of Brownstone Gardens 1, located at 75 Pleasant St., East Longmeadow. They are taught by Sheila Magalhaes of Heartsong Yoga.

These weekly classes began in summer 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when a widespread shutdown forced many seniors to spend the majority of their time inside, alone, without any activity.

That was when Michele Anstett, owner of Visiting Angels West Springfield, and her team birthed the idea of sponsoring weekly chair yoga classes, free to anyone who wanted to join, especially the seniors of Pleasant Valley Senior Center in East Longmeadow.

After the idea was approved by the town, Sheila Magalhaes taught the first class in September 2020. Chairs were set far apart to meet social-distancing guidelines, and more than 20 seniors showed up to participate. Three years later, the classes have grown immensely, including men and women of all ages, the oldest being 102. Anyone interested in joining should call Brownstone Gardens at (413) 525-4596.

“One of my greatest pleasures as a studio owner and a yoga teacher in our community is working with the seniors who live in my hometown,” Magalhaes said, adding that these yoga classes helped “alleviate the stress and anxiety brought about by the challenges of not being able to enjoy social connections and movement, two of the most important aspects of longevity and happiness. Having the Visiting Angels as our sponsor means that there are no financial barriers to attending classes, and we are grateful for their ongoing support.”

Visiting Angels West Springfield provides elder in-home care to seniors and veterans located across the Pioneer Valley, including Springfield, West Springfield, Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, Wilbraham, Agawam, Ludlow, Westfield, Southwick, Chicopee, Feeding Hills, Indian Orchard, Holyoke, Southampton, and Montgomery.