An Inclusive Partner Yoga Memory Café: Take-aways

Parallel Chair Set-up

Parallel Chair Set-up

Our Saturday Memory Café had 16 participants (8 partners) join us for Partner Yoga fun. The room was set-up with two parallel chair lines, and guests quickly found partners if they hadn’t arrived already with a partner (spouse or sibling). Memory Café Guests enjoyed fellowship and Valentine’s-themed snacks before and after the facilitated Partner Yoga program.

The structure of the facilitated Partner Yoga program began with a large group warm-up. Participants were invited to mingle using eye-contact and shaking hands with new friends to the song, “Getting to Know You” sung by Julie Andrews. We then moved into two smaller groups and repeated the same warm-up exercise (Names with a Feeling Motion: “I’m (name) and I’m feeling (motion); Group repeats, “(Name) is feeling (motion)!). Participants reported feeling safer and a sense of greater comfort in the smaller groups.

Small Group Names & Motion

Small Group Names & Motion

Participants were then invited to stay in the small grouping and sit across from their partner for a fun feather boa push and pull game to the song, “Getting to Know You” sung by Julie Andrews. Once finding a comfortable distance, the partners set the boa down and picked up sparkly pipe cleaners to further play around with levels of closeness and distance, to the song, “Brass in Pocket,” by the Pretenders. The prop was particularly helpful for friends who desired to be close, but not too close. Some participants also enjoyed the “glamour” of the props.

After, the partners were invited to find their “better side” (seeing and hearing), with the help of their friend humming on the left and right side of their head. When they each found their “better side” they matched up their chairs to sit better-side by better-side. Partners were invited to find one plastic heart bracelet under one of the chairs. The partner “with” the bracelet was invited to notice their feelings as they “offered their love (via the bracelet)” to their partner. The receiving partner was invited to notice their feelings as they “received the love (via the bracelet)”. The partners were invited to find a comfortable way of holding onto the bracelet together with their better-side hands. Many partners found a way to fit both wrists into the bracelet comfortably. Some found it comfortable to grab one side with a finger, and the other with the other partner’s finger. One partnership formed the tinsel pipe cleaners into canes, hooked the bracelet with the canes, and enjoyed a fun comfortable distance. The partners relaxed together, in their chosen positions with the heart bracelet, side-by-side, to the song, “If it’s Magic,” by Tuck & Patti. Finally, the partners were invited to choose their favorite prop(s) (feather boa, pipe cleaners, and/or bracelet) to dance side-by-side, to the song, “Side by Side” by Kay Starr.

Our next Inclusive Memory Café will be March 3 and will offer a fun horticultural therapy activity.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
Mary
Creative & Clinical Director,
Topsfield Memory Café
funded by MA DDS and Topsfield Cultural Council!

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