You might have already guessed it, but chair yoga is done sitting down. It is a popular form of yoga for those with disabilities, or older men and women who struggle to do regular yoga because of balance issues, for example.
However, it can also be incorporated into a Hatha yoga session, rather than it just being a specialized class.
This means it is great for those who want to take part in their regular yoga practice, but might have problems with their balance, or getting back up off the ground.
Chair yoga can also bring some extra zen to the office too, or while you are on a long haul flight. This means it is beneficial for practically anyone, and anywhere. It can improve both cramps and general flexibility, too.
In this article we take a look at chair yoga in more detail and how it can benefit you. So, let’s get to it!
Who Might Chair Yoga Help?
Chair yoga can benefit a number of people. Firstly, those with a physical disability may find that chair yoga is not only accessible, but it allows them to take time for themselves and to find their inner peace whilst building up their wellbeing.
Chair yoga is also great for those suffering with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic pain, or even osteoporosis. It allows a person to avoid balancing and having to get up off the floor, making it much easier to do.
Also, just like the benefits above, older people may find chair yoga easier and more enjoyable than regular yoga. Having a chair means that they do not need to balance and risk the possibility of falling over.
As we age our bones become more frail, so having the option to do chair yoga means that an older person does not have to leave their yoga session via an ambulance, rather than their usual way.
How Does Chair Yoga Work?
When it comes to traditional forms of yoga, our body moves in motions whilst helping it to become more flexible. The same thing happens during chair yoga, with plenty of positions able to be adapted to suit those who need to sit down.
In fact, most yoga positions can be either altered in some way or completely replicated even though you are using a chair.
Breathing exercises (which also go by the name pranayamas) are done whilst holding a pose – this is common through chair yoga. Doing so can help to reduce anxiety while being beneficial for a person’s wellbeing.
It can also help with mindful meditation in all aspects of a person’s life, and allow for them to create their own spatial awareness.
How Can Chair Yoga Benefit An Office Worker?
If you spend long periods of your day sitting at a desk behind a computer screen, then you might find that by the time you have finished work, you are feeling both sluggish and anxious for the week ahead.
While you might want to hit the gym at 5am before work, it is not usually viable, and it only makes you tired by lunchtime anyway. One thing an office worker might feel is beneficial to their health and wellbeing is chair yoga.
It can help bring a level of activity when you are stuck in the middle of a lot of work that needs to get done by 5pm.
While a good walk to the office kitchen is good too, and a short 5 minute walk outside is just as helpful, chair yoga can bring its own benefits to your working day.
For example, taking a quick 5 minutes out to do some chair yoga can relieve work related stress, and help you to stay productive throughout the morning and afternoon.
One thing workers have an issue with is burnout. Taking time to focus on the now and listening to your breathing can have a positive effect on your overall health.
Stretching can also help with blood circulation too and help to reduce the risk of blood clots.
Should You Try Chair Yoga On A Plane?
While it makes sense to practice chair yoga when sitting at a desk all day, it also makes sense to give it a go during a long haul flight. This is because more often than not you will be sitting in the same position for many hours.
This ups the risk of suffering with blood clots, so chair yoga is beneficial to keeping it circulating healthily around the body. It allows you to stretch and move, helping to keep the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up.
Chair Yoga Poses To Try Out
If you are wondering where to begin, here are some simple chair yoga poses to give a go the next time you are sat at your desk:
An Extended Side Angle Using A Chair
Plant your feet firmly on the ground and bend towards your knees placing your left or right hand as far as it will go towards the floor, touching it if you can.
If you cannot reach all the way to the floor, place your hand on your calf instead. Using your other hand, reach upwards towards the ceiling as you inhale.
Hold this breath and count up to 3, and begin to exhale as you bring this hand back down to the center of your body.
A Cat-Cow Stretch Using A Chair
While sitting with feet firmly on the ground, place both hands upon the knees. Begin to arch the spine as you inhale and roll those shoulders back for the cat.
When you exhale, drop the chin and round the spine whilst dropping both your shoulders and head forward. This is the cow.
Chair yoga is beneficial for many people, from those who have physical disabilities, and older people who would prefer not to balance or have trouble getting up, to trying it out at work or during a long haul flight.
Next time you are feeling stressed or anxious, why not give chair yoga a try?