7 min read

Chair Yoga

Do you find it difficult to get motivated to work out? Are you looking for a gentle way to improve your health and well-being? If so, chair yoga may be the perfect solution for you!

 

Chair yoga is a form of yoga that can be practiced sitting in a chair or standing. It is perfect for people who are new to yoga or who have mobility issues. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of chair yoga and provide some tips on how to get started.

 

What is Chair Yoga?

woman using chair yoga to stretch her body

Chair yoga is a form of yoga that can be done while seated in a chair. It is perfect for beginners or those with limited mobility.

Chair yoga classes can help improve flexibility and range of motion, as well as increase strength and stamina. Additionally, it can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Chair yoga is also a great way to get in some gentle exercise.

If you are unable to do more strenuous forms of yoga. All you need is to sit comfortably and have a sturdy chair.

As with any exercise, if you have any existing health conditions, please seek professional medical advice before trying this out!

 

What Are The Health Benefits of Chair Yoga

This style of yoga can be done while seated in a chair. It is ideal for those who have difficulty standing or balance issues. Chair yoga can also be done by people of all ages and fitness levels.

Some of the benefits of chair yoga from peer-reviewed studies include:

- Improved flexibility: It's no secret that one of the benefits of yoga is improved flexibility. When we stretch and lengthen our muscles, we not only increase our range of motion but also improve the elasticity of our muscles and connective tissues. This can lead to better posture and reduced risk of injury. Not to mention, it just feels good!

- Increased strength: While increased flexibility is one of the more well-known benefits of yoga, increased strength is often overlooked. However, with regular practice, you can expect to see a significant increase in your core muscles and endurance. This is especially beneficial for those who may not be able to participate in more traditional forms of exercise.

- Improved balance and coordination: Yoga requires you to use your body in new and challenging ways. This can help to improve your balance and coordination, as well as your proprioception (your ability to sense where your body is in space). Improving these skills can help reduce your risk of falls and injuries.

- Enhanced mind-body connection: One of the unique aspects of yoga is that it requires you to be fully present in the moment. This can help to improve your mind-body connection or your awareness of your body and its movements. With regular practice, you can learn to control your body with greater precision and ease.

- Improved circulation: When you practice yoga, you help to pump oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your body, including your organs and tissues. This can lead to better overall health and function. Additionally, improved circulation can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

- Better posture: By lengthening and stretching your muscles, you can improve your alignment and learn to stand (and sit) taller. This can help to reduce pain and stiffness, as well as improve your overall appearance.

- Reduced stress and anxiety levels: It should come as no surprise that one of the main benefits of yoga is reduced stress and anxiety levels. When you practice yoga, you help to calm and relax your mind and body. This can lead to a reduction in stress hormones, such as cortisol. Additionally, yoga can help to increase levels of serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which are known to promote relaxation and calmness. This will also help your sleep habits.

 

seven Essential Chair Yoga Poses

This practice is a great way to perform yoga without having to get down on the floor. Here is a complete guide to these seven common chair yoga poses.

 

Chair Eagle - Garudasana

To do Chair Eagle, start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap. From there, lift your right leg and place your right ankle on top of your left knee. Then, bend forward at the waist and reach your arms around the back of your chair. Grab onto the back of the chair with both hands and try to straighten up as much as you can. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute before switching sides.

 

Chair Forward Bend - Uttanasana

To do Chair Forward Bend, start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap. From there, reach your arms up overhead and then lean forward from the waist, bringing your chest toward your thighs. Try to keep your back as straight as possible as you reach for the ground with both hands. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute.

 

Chair Twist - Bharadvajasana

To do Chair Twist, start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap. From there, twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the back of the chair and your right hand on the seat of the chair. Then, twist your torso to the left, placing your right hand on the back of the chair and your left hand on the seat of the chair. Hold each side for 30 seconds to one minute.

 

Chair Warrior I - Virabhadrasana I

To do Chair Warrior I, start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap. From there, lift your right leg and place your right foot on the seat of the chair. Then, twist your torso to the left and reach your left arm overhead. Try to keep your back as straight as possible as you reach for the ground with your right hand. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute before switching sides.

 

Chair Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II

To do this one, start in a seated upright position with your feet flat on the ground, your hands resting in your lap and your shoulder blades pressing against the back rest. From there, lift your right leg and place your right foot on the seat of the chair. Then, twist your torso to the left and reach your left arm out to the side at shoulder height. Try to keep your back as straight as possible as you reach for the ground with your right hand. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute before switching sides.

 

Chair Spinal Twist - Ardha Matsyendrasana

To do Chair Spinal Twist, start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap. From there, twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on the back of the chair and your right hand on the seat of the chair. Then, twist your torso to the left, placing your right hand on the back of the chair and your left hand on the seat of the chair. Hold each side for 30 seconds to one minute.

 

Seated Mountain (Tadasana)

To do Seated Mountain, start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap. From there, lift your right leg and place your right foot on the seat of the chair. Then, twist your torso to the left, reaching your left arm overhead. Try to keep your back as straight as possible as you reach for the ground with your right hand. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute before switching sides.

 

Eagle Arms (Garudasana Arms)

To do Eagle Arms, start in a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap. From there, lift your right arm and place your right elbow on top of your left elbow. Then, twist your torso to the right, reaching your left arm behind your back. Try to keep your back as straight as possible as you reach for the ground with your right hand. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute before switching sides.

When you’re finished, return to a seated position with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting in your lap. Take several breaths and relax in this position for one minute.

So there you have it - a few poses that you can do anywhere, anytime! Give it a try as it is an easy yet effective way to start your day or break up a long workday.

 

Two Breathing Exercises for Chair Yoga

When we think of yoga, we often think of people contorting their bodies into pretzel-like shapes on a mat. However, yoga is much more than that. Yoga is a mind and body practice that includes breath work, meditation, and physical postures. While some people are able to do more advanced yoga poses, others need to modify the poses or use props such as chairs. Chair yoga is a great way for people of all abilities to experience the benefits of yoga.

There are many different breathing exercises that can be done while seated in a chair. Here are two different exercises to try:

Dirga pranayama: The first of the two exercises, also known as three-part breath. This exercise helps to calm the nervous system and is a great way to start your practice. To do this exercise, sit up tall in your chair with your feet flat on the ground. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Inhale slowly through your nose, filling up your stomach first, then your chest. Exhale slowly through your nose, emptying out your chest first, then your stomach. Repeat this through three breath cycles.

Alternate nostril breathing: It is the second exercise, also referred to as nadi shodhana pranayama. This exercise helps to clear the mind and improve concentration. To do this exercise, sit up tall in your chair with both feet flat on the ground. Place your right hand in front of you and close off your right nostril with your thumb. Take a deep breath while inhaling slowly through your left nostril. Then close off your left nostril with your ring finger and release your right nostril. Exhale slowly out of your right nostril. Inhale again through your right nostril, then close it off with your thumb and release your left nostril. Exhale out of your left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat for a total of three to five breath cycles.

woman performing alternate nostril breathing

 

Conclusion

Chair yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility and mobility, especially among older adults. If you are looking for help with your shoulders, spine, neck, or general upper body stretches and increased flexibility then you should try this practice.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and family.

 

Anahana Yoga resources

 

YOGA WIKIS

Yoga Wiki

Pranayama Yoga

Hatha Yoga

Restorative Yoga

Gentle Yoga

Yin Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga

Vinyasa Yoga

Kundalini Yoga

Nerve Flossing

Yoga For Runners

 

YOGA BLOGS

How to Clean Your Yoga Mat

What Is Goat Yoga?

Kundalini Awakening

Online Yoga Classes

Private Yoga Lessons

Yoga For Men

Yoga Music

 

References

Effectiveness of Chair Yoga for Improving the Functional Fitness and Well-being

Virtual Chair Yoga for Stress in Older Adults with Dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairments and Caregivers during COVID-19 - ScienceDirect 

Chair Yoga Dua R, Malik S, Bhadoria AS, Kumar R - J Med Evid

First study to show chair yoga as effective alternative treatment for osteoarthritis -- ScienceDaily 

The Benefits of Chair Yoga for Persons with Dementia | Alzheimer's Project 

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