Practice yoga and enjoy its many health & lifestyle benefits


You say you can’t do yoga?  Then you should try doing it from a chair; it is not that difficult.

That was the theme of Diana Mountanos, with Pure Yoga Pattaya, the guest speaker at the April 10 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club.  Visit her website at:

According to Diana, everyone should do 70 minutes of strenuous exercise per week.  This could include not only working out at the gym, but also golf, swimming, walking or running, bowling, or any other sport.  “Exercise is a life style,” she said.  “Activity is the spice of life.”

Diana Mountanos, PCEC Member Mag Rittinghaus, and Gay Burnett, an associate of Diana who works in the Pratumak Medical Clinic, pose for a picture prior to beginning their presentation at the PCEC’s regular Sunday meeting.

But before you do any strenuous exercise, you should warm up so you don’t pull a muscle or do other harm to your body.  Yoga, Diana said, is a great way to warm up.  It’s also good to do several times a day in order to tone your muscles, relieve stress, and just relax.  Yoga is basically stretching.  The object is pulling, getting your blood circulating, and learning how to breathe.

According to Diana, yoga is good for every aspect of your life.  Every pose has a medical benefit.  It can help chronic pain, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, stress, just to name a few benefits.  “We have tremendous results with people who have disk degeneration,” said Diana.

Diana Mountanos explains the importance of exercise to her PCEC audience and how Yoga is easy to do, even from a chair, and is primarily a series of stretching exercises.

Diana described about 40 different yoga exercises.  Mag Rittinghaus demonstrated the exercises effortlessly, and many audience members participated in the exercises from their chairs.  Here is just a sample of the exercises:

Squats: – In front of a sturdy, armless chair, stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart.  Extend your arms so they are parallel to the ground and lean forward a little at the hips.  Keep your knees over your ankles and your back straight.  Lower yourself in a slow, controlled motion, until you reach a near-sitting position.  Pause.  Then slowly rise back up to a standing position.  This is great for strengthening hips, thighs, and buttocks.

You don’t need to spend money on fancy weights. Diana Mountanos explains as Mag Rittinghaus demonstrates the use of milk cartons filled with water for weights.

Finger Marching: – Stand, or sit forward in an armless chair, with feet on the floor, shoulder-width apart.  Imagine there is a wall directly in front of you.  Slowly walk your fingers up the wall until your arms are above your head.  Hold them there while wiggling your fingers for about ten seconds and then slowly walk them back down.  Next, try to touch your two hands behind your back.  If you can, reach for the opposite elbow with each hand – or get as close as you can.  Hold the position for about 10 seconds, feeling a stretch in the back, arms, and chest.  Now release your arms and finger-weave your hands in front of your body.  Raise your arms so that they’re parallel to the ground, with your palms facing the imaginary wall.  Sit or stand up straight, but curl your shoulders forward.  You should feel the stretch in your wrist and upper back.  Hold the position for about 10 seconds.  This exercise will help strengthen your upper body and your grip, and increase the flexibility of your arms, back, and shoulders.

Mag Rittinghaus demonstrates how to do Yoga “Squats” exercise from a chair, which is great for strengthening hips, thighs, and buttocks.

Lunge: (Seated Variation) – Draw right knee into chest and hold around shin.  Press left foot into floor; (Standing Variation) – Place hands on chair and step right foot forward, left foot back.  Press into back heel

Yes & No Head Movements: – From a seated position, turn your head left and right keeping your chin level (Repeat 10 times).  Note: Do not force your head to go the same amount on both sides.  Then lift chin and lower your chin without crunching the back of your neck 10 times.

Serving Tray: – Hold your arms straight out in front of you for three minutes.  This gets rid of flab under your arms.

Side Bend: – Hold the seat of the chair with your right hand and curl your left arm over your head.  Lean to the right as far as you can.  Hold it while taking 3-5 breaths.  Repeat to the other side.

PCEC members and guests get join in the Yoga exercises being described by Diana Mountanos and demonstrated by Mag Rittinghaus.

Knee Extension: – Sitting in a chair, slowly lift one leg, extending your leg until your knee is straight.  Pause, then slowly lower your foot back to the ground.  Keep your ankle flexed throughout the move.  Repeat with the other leg.  By targeting the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh, this exercise strengthens weak knees and reduces the symptoms of arthritis of the knee.

Knee Curl: – Stand behind the chair.  Keeping your foot flexed, slowly bend one leg, bringing your heel up toward your buttocks.  Pause, then slowly lower your foot back to the ground.  This will strengthen the muscles of the back of the upper leg, known as the hamstrings.

Gay Burnett from the Pratumak Medical Clinic describes how Platelet Rich Plasma treatment is performed and explains that in many cases it can relieve the suffering from chronic joint pain.

Following Diana’s chair yoga presentation, Gay Burnett, an associate of Diana who works in the Pratumnak Medical Clinic, formerly called the Surecell Clinic, said they had recently changed the name to reflect they were a full medical clinic in addition to doing Platelet Rich Plasma and stem cell replacement programs; for relieving chronic joint pain.  Visit their website at:   She described how PRP works noting that it is effective with reducing pain in about 80% of cases; but the number of treatments will vary depending on the patient.  For the other 20%, it may be necessary to do a stem cell replacement.

After the presentation, MC Roy Albiston brought everyone up to date on club activities and happenings around Pattaya before calling on Tony Heron to conduct the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.  For more information on the PCEC’s many activities, visit their website at