Introducing yoga classes in our Starr Memory Care Residence

It is commonly known that exercise is important for everyone. Physical activity, whether it is
walking, working out at the gym, or any other type of movement you enjoy, can improve your
self-esteem, mood, and physical health. Maintaining a good level of fitness is key to healthy aging,
and it becomes even more important for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Incorporating regular
movement into our residents’ days is important to help maintain strength, flexibility, and a level of
independence. To help with this, we have begun a yoga program to keep our residents moving.

Through our partnership with Sarasota Memorial Health Fit, we now offer 30-minute yoga classes
for our residents in the Starr Memory Care Residence and Seaside Assisted Living Residences. Every
Saturday morning, yoga instructor Nancy Zampella holds classes in both the Ringling and Lido
neighborhoods of our Starr Memory Care Residence.

Nancy has been practicing yoga since 1991 and is now the owner of her own studio, Yoga Libre.
She was a student of yoga for 10 years before she decided to pursue a career as a yoga teacher.
The training program was a transformative experience for Nancy that helped her heal her own
carpal tunnel by improving her shoulder alignment. She completed the course with a feeling of
empowerment and a new mission to show others they don’t have to live in pain.

On Saturday mornings, Nancy teaches chair yoga to residents in the Starr Memory Care Residence.
Chair yoga is a gentle, non-traditional form of yoga that reduces strain on the limbs and joints.
“A lot of people don’t know that you can do yoga while sitting in a chair, but it is a lot of fun,”
Nancy said. “This class has been an opportunity for me to try new ways of teaching, which has
been a wonderful surprise.” Whether in a chair or on a mat, yoga is all about moving your energy
throughout your body. As a teacher of yoga, Nancy’s goal is to help people open up their bodies and
feel better, mentally and physically. The class focuses on simple, rhythmic movements to increase
circulation and develop muscle memory.

Yoga is not only an exercise for the body. It also works the mind and helps reduce stress and improve
mood. Alzheimer’s can be disorienting, and yoga’s emphasis on connection with your body, mind,
and breath helps people reconnect with themselves and their world. The group setting of the class
provides residents with an experience they can share in together, and friends and family of residents are encouraged to attend the classes as well. “Both caretakers and residents can benefit from a yoga class, and doing it together can be a meaningful experience,” Nancy said. “The more the merrier!”