What Is Chair Yoga?
Regular exercise improves your health and your mood – everyone knows that. But for some people, even moving around can be challenging. People with disabilities, seniors, post surgery, or disease need to take it easy. The answer: chair yoga.
WHAT IS CHAIR YOGA?
Chair yoga is a very simple and gentle yoga practice where you perform the movements while using a chair. This gives additional support and balance, so you can complete the session and pay more attention to learning the right posture and practicing correct breathing.
Chair yoga can also help people who have a hard time getting on and off the floor, such as those with arthritis or joint pain. “I didn’t think I could ever do yoga because I had trouble bending my knees,” says 70 year old Anna. Through chair yoga, she was able to follow the exercises. “Now my knees are stronger and my balance is better. I rely on the chair less and less, but I am glad I used it or I would have given up on yoga before I could really feel its benefits.”
Chair yoga is also useful for sneaking in a couple of minutes of exercise while you’re at the office. You can’t lie down on the floor during your lunchbreak without attracting attention, but you can do a few chair yoga poses to calm your mind in the middle of a hectic day. “I like to do chair yoga when I’m feeling stressed and irritable,” says Beth, an advertising executive. “I can do it in my cubicle or in a conference room, and it helps steady my breathing and recenter myself.”
CAN CHAIR YOGA BE APPLIED TO ANY POSE?
Yes! Practically every yoga pose can be tweaked to include the support of a chair. For example, wen you do a mountain pose – which involves standing with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at 90 degrees and arms raised – you can keep the chair next to you for extra balance. Other poses such as the Forward Fold can be done while you’re sitting down or holding the back of the chair.
Sit down in the chair. From there, you can do a simple Cow Stretch (hands on your knees, then hunching your back and then extending your spine). Or you can raise your hands while you inhale, and then bring your arms down in a modified UrdhvaHastasana. Other simple exercises are the Chair Forward Bend (just lean down and touch your toes) and Chair Extended Side Angle (touching the floor with one hand, then twisting your torso while the other hand reaches up to the sky).
These Chair Yoga poses – and many more like them – can stretch your spine, engage your core, and loosen your back muscles. Just pay attention to your breathing and posture, and try to hold your poses instead of rushing through them.
Chair yoga won’t make you burn fat or lose weight, but it still gives you a number of benefits. You will boost blood circulation, improve balance, engage different muscle groups, and improve your mood and focus.