Popular Chair Yoga Postures:
When we talk about the evolution of yoga practices, we have to discuss it’s versatility. Yoga is a practice that can be tailored to many individual needs. Whether that be using it as strictly a way to improve flexibility, balance, posture, all the way to goals focused more on improving mind-body awareness and peace of mind. Today we focus on, popular chair yoga postures.
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Why Chair Yoga?
We wouldn’t be doing the practice justice if we didn’t mention certain aspects. For example, how you can take a specific style of yoga, and modify asanas. Subsequently to work with our bodies, as we age, recover from injury, or require an even gentler path.
Some practitioners simply lack mobility, and that’s okay. We all could use better mobility within areas of the body. This lack of mobility may make certain standing poses, more difficult to complete. At any rate, many “standing asanas” can be modified to a seated position.
With the right information and adaptability, you can move to easier, modifiable chair yoga postures. Chair yoga makes it possible to focus on creativity in a more gentle arena of yoga. Therefore allowing one to still advance their practice.
Also, we must talk about the breath in this respect. When doing asanas which are painful, is it easy to focus on the breath? Not really, right?
However, completing asanas in a more comfortable setting, helps you retain, breath focus. Pranayama (breathing) is key to fully benefiting from yoga as an art form. So in the setting of chair yoga we don’t lose the importance of pranayama.
Research On Chair Yoga:
A major area of focus as we age is on balance and proper body posture. Subsequently this may help prevent falls, which can be very much age correlated. Besides, falls can lead to acute pain, chronic pain and unwanted suffering.
According to one study (which incorporated chair yoga within an assisted living community among 80-90 year old seniors), chair yoga was found to be not just safe, but feasible. Furthermore, stating “there is promising effects related to balance and mobility in this population”.
Another study published in 2019, found that both chair yoga and chair-based exercises are effective in managing biophysical outcomes for older adults. Specifically, one’s whom suffer from lower extremity osteoarthritis.
Chair yoga isn’t just about balance, age or improper body alignment. For instance, it may also aid in people who suffer from chronic pain conditions. In turn this makes standing yoga postures, potentially more difficult to complete.
Chair yoga may offer a way to reduce pain and improve overall quality of life within this population.
It’s not just physical limitation that leads to individuals ability to perform standing yoga or other forms of physical exercise. A randomized control trial study evaluated effectiveness of chair yoga, chair-based exercises and music intervention on individuals suffering from moderate to severe dementia. Moreover, these were individuals unable to participate in regular exercise.
Consequently, chair yoga was found to be safe for stretching, strengthening and flexibility. However, yoga also helped incorporate a focus of breathing to help relax muscle groups, thus seemingly improving quality of life in the participants.
Breathing Technique: Perfect For Popular Chair Yoga Postures
Now that we’ve made the process of yoga more comfortable, lets talk breathing. This breathing technique can be seamlessly used in chair yoga.
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As we’ve touched on briefly, is the importance of breathing techniques in yoga. Referred to as pranayama.
Oftentimes a popular type of pranayama is Ujjayi breathing. A relatively easy breathing technique. If done correctly can enhance your practice. Furthermore, helping to improve concentration and focus when performing asanas.
Ujjayi Breathing or “Fire Breathing” Example Video(s) Below
Simple Chair Yoga Asanas To Get The Blood Flowing!
Cat/Cow Chair Asana (Chair Marjaryasana Bitilasana):
A beginner friendly chair asana, cat/cow is a staple in many yoga routines. This can be considered both a forward-bend and back-bend type pose.
In particular, cat/cow is also a great starting asana to then transition to other poses within your chair yoga sequence. Chair cat/cow places emphasis on your lower, middle, upper back, as well as your hips, chest and neck region.
1. Begin seated on your chair. Then, place your hands on your knees, elbows relaxed.
2. Knees should be 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor.
3. Inhale, with the chest and back coming forward, neck gently back. This is cow pose.
4. Exhale, roll the spine in the opposite direction, allowing the chest to collapse. Pelvis and back should continue back. Drop the head down, you’re now in cat pose.
5. Continue for a cycle of 5 full cat/cow transitions.
Cat/Cow Posture Chair Asana!
Cat/Cow Posture On A Yoga Mat
Cat/Cow Yoga Mat
1. Begin on the mat, hands and wrists under your shoulders. Knees directly under your hips.
2. Secondly, inhale deeply, arch your back, pushing your naval toward the mat, which really helps you stretch and open up your back muscles. Then, bring your head up and back gently. This is cow pose.
3. Then, slowly exhale through the spine by pulling in the abdomen and making a curve with your back, upward toward the ceiling.
Hip Circles (Upavishta Hip Circles Chair)
This posture can be beneficial to loosen up your hip muscles, requiring you to try and be in control of your spinal movement.
This maneuver simply involves you seated on a chair. Once seated, begin to slowly rotate the spine in circular motions. You can first begin in a clockwise direction for a few rotations and then allow yourself a brief pause, alternating into a counterclockwise movement.
Oftentimes, this is used as a warmup maneuver.
Here Is An Entire Chair Yoga Routine!
Sun Salutation By Arms:
Next, we’ll move into Sun Salutation completed in a chair. This sequence helps in releasing tension that you may have in your back, shoulders as well as your neck.
Sun Salutation Modified, in A Chair
Eagle Arms Chair Pose (Garudasana)
1. Begin seated on a chair. Inhale, reach your arms out to the side of your body, parallel to the floor, opening up your chest.
2. Then, exhale, taking your right arm underneath your left in front, at the level of your shoulders, bending the elbows, wrapping your elbows, and then your wrists. *If you cannot wrap, simply grab ahold of your shoulders, as if you’re giving yourself a hug.
3. Bring your elbows downward, hands away from your face.
4. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to one minute.
These kinds of chair yoga postures can help in releasing shoulder stress/tension as well as working your hands and wrists.
Final Thoughts: Popular Chair Yoga Postures!
We hope this reference guide to chair poses can be a helpful starting point for those that need a more modified approach to yoga.
As always, be sure to share any of your favorite chair poses that may be beneficial to our readers and practicing yogi’s.
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