Since years, yoga has been attributed to positive improvements in people’s health when practised appropriately. We can practice yoga in many ways and the best part is yoga can be modified according to age and health needs. Chair yoga is a form of yoga which is performed while sitting on a chair or while standing and using a chair for support. When you have lesser space or cannot move out of your home and office space, do practice chair yoga to reduce stress and keep sickness at bay.
What is chair yoga?
Chair yoga is a term used for practising a modified yoga posture so that yoga can be practised sitting in a chair. The modifications made to yoga poses make yoga accessible for even those who find difficulties in giving extra time for yoga in the morning. Which means, now you can practice yoga anywhere and at any time even when you are at work or during home study.
Who can do chair yoga?
Since chair yoga is the modified form of yoga poses, it can be practised by people of every age. Chair yoga can be practised by every people who desire to take a break from work or study and enjoy the advantages of yoga in comfortable postures. For instance, ones who have injuries or require support for any reason can practice chair yoga easily. Office workers or the ones who follow strict day to day routine at work can also enjoy the benefits of chair yoga and sneak in some body stretches at work.
Benefits of chair yoga
An active lifestyle has always benefitted us in many ways. But, increasing age, illness and injuries make exercising challenging for us. Chair yoga is a rescuer which can be practised by everyone as it is safe and effective.
Increased body flexibility
Flexibility in our body is very important as it helps us in doing things like bending and picking things or getting engaged in sports activities. With chair yoga, your body flexibility is retained which ultimately improves your mobility.
Practising yoga every day increases our body immunity and physical strength. More strength means better balance and reduced risk of falling ill. This also enhances your ability to withstand uncertain injuries.
One of the inherent parts of yoga is mindfulness. When you focus on a body movement and your breathing technique, it promotes relaxation and improves mental clarity. Through meditation, while doing chair yoga, your mental stress is reduced and you get relief from issues such as depression and anxiety.
Chair yoga provides you with skills that can help in reducing body pain. Chair yoga focuses mainly upon breath and meditation which can be applied to cope with discomfort and pain.
Provides better sleep
By exercising regularly, you can get better sleep and chair yoga can prove very advantageous if you are facing sleep disorders. Chair yoga if done regularly can reduce the chances behind disruptive discomforts which intervenes with your sleep.
Chair Yoga Poses
1: Chair Cat-Cow Stretch
This char yoga position can be performed on a chair. You need to keep your spine long and straight with your feet on the ground. Keep your hands on the knees or you can even keep them on the thighs.
When you inhale, arch your spine along with rolling the shoulders backside and then down again. This will bring your shoulders blades on your back. This position is also known as cow position.
While you exhale, just round your spine and then drop it to your chest. Let it sit upon the shoulders and head coming forward. This position is also known as cat position. Keep moving in cow and cat positions while inhaling and exhaling until five breaths.
2: Chair Forward Bend
This chair position is also known as Uttanasana. To perform this yoga, you need to bend forward over your legs while exhaling. Let your hands rest upon the floor if you can reach the floor. Slowly your hands may tend to become heavy. On an inhalation, raise the arms back up around your head.
Keep repeating this movement between the forward fold system and raised arm position, moving every time you take a breath.
3: Seated Tadasana
This chair yoga can be performed by sitting on the chair. You need to raise your arm above your head and stack the wrists over the shoulders. Work out to straighten your elbows as long as you can. Do not bend too much and stay in a comfortable position instead.
When you try to bend your fingers towards the back portion of your head, you can spread your fingers to reach out. Keep your abs engaged while doing this yoga as you try to sit up straight and tall.
Keep your shoulders relaxed and again stack up against your head directly over the torso. Do lift the chin and bend backwards a little to keep your spine in alignment. Stay as long as you can and keep breathing for 3-5 counts.
4: Seated side stretch
When you perform tadasana, just extend your right arm to the left side of your body. From right hip till the right armpit, find as much length as you can.
Your palm can face towards the left and your face towards your bicep if that feels good to you. Maintain a space between your ears and shoulders.
5: Chair Raised Hands Pose
This chair yoga position is also known as Urdhva Hatasana. To perform this yoga, you need to raise your arms upwards during inhalation. Maintain a good body posture when you sit up. Keep the shoulders relaxed and let the rib cage sit calmly over your hips. In your chair seat, anchor the sit bones and reach up while you sit there.
6: Chair Extended Side Angle
This chair yoga is known as Utthita Parsvakonasana. To perform the yoga, you must bend forward and stay folded. Bring the left fingertip outside the left feet on the floor. When you twist to the right side, open up your chest to inhale and bring your right arm. Look up towards the ceiling at this point. This angle is called an extended side angle pose in the chair. You can hold the position for a few breaths after which bring the right arm downwards and exhale.
If you face difficulties in bringing your left hand towards the floor, place a block or any other object to bring it near and start twisting it from there. Keep on trying both the positions with left arm up and right arm down and vice-versa.
7: Chair Eagle
Chair eagle or Garudasana can be performed by crossing your right thigh over the left to pose like an eagle. Wrap the right foot if you can and make it all the way around left calf. Next, you need to cross the left arm over the right from the side of the elbow.
Bring your palms to touch while you bend your elbows. Lift elbows a little while the shoulders drop away from the ears. Take 3-5 breaths in this pose and then repeat it from the other side.
8: Chair Spinal Twist
To do chair spinal twist or Ardha Matsyendrasana, you need to sit on the chair in sideways position, facing the left side. Just twist your torso a bit towards the left and hold back onto the chair back to give your spines a little twist. Straighten your spines on every inhale and twist while you exhale every time until five breaths. Move your legs towards the left side of your chair and keep repeating the twists to the right side.
9: Desk Chaturanga
Just like we do push-ups, the desk chaturanga tones our arms, abs, wrist and lower back. To do this chair yoga, you need to take a little help from your desk too. Just place your body in a straight and long position from head to toe. Lean your body slightly forward in a standing position and put the hands on the desk with shoulders wide apart.
Breathe here for a few minutes and get ready to push yourself back in the standing position. Make sure that every inch of your palm presses down properly and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle while the elbows are pinned to the sides.