How to Do Chair Yoga


Social media feeds full of photographs of health fashions twisted into poses requiring excessive energy, flexibility, and stability could go away you considering, “Yoga is just not for me.”

Nadine Kelly, MD, founding father of Yogi MD, needs to alter your thoughts.

“We have a tendency to consider yoga as an athletic endeavor that needs to be carried out on a mat,” Kelly says. “Yoga apply is about rather more than the bodily [poses]; the apply contains expertise like respiration, regulating your feelings, and practising self-care.”

Chair yoga, a mild type of yoga that’s carried out whereas seated or utilizing a chair for stability, makes the apply extra accessible. In chair yoga, it’s doable to maneuver into poses like cat/cow, warrior, solar salutations and ahead folds, all whereas seated.

Kelly believes the Arthur Ashe quote, “Begin the place you’re, use what you could have, do what you’ll be able to,” is ideal for chair yoga.

“You’re there to work and to problem your self, but it surely’s about … understanding what’s best for you,” she says. “I consider yoga poses as adaptable to a pupil’s physique and never the opposite manner round.”

Whether or not yoga is finished in a chair or on the mat, the apply nonetheless focuses on the identical core rules: focusing in your breath, taking note of your ideas, and staying within the second.

Analysis reveals yoga is linked to decreased ranges of stress, nervousness, and despair, lowered ldl cholesterol and blood stress, improved vitality, higher sleep high quality, much less ache, and lowered physique mass index. Matt Minard PT, DPT, bodily therapist with Atrium Well being in Charlotte, NC, believes these advantages lengthen to chair yoga.

Chair yoga can also be a very good, protected exercise for newbies.

“It’s an effective way to work your core, discover the totally different vary of movement of the joints and prioritize motion,” Minard says. “If you’re sitting down or utilizing a chair for stability, the security issue goes manner up.”

Though chair yoga is usually promoted as a apply for many who could battle with a mat apply, anybody can profit from any such mild train.

Kelly says chair yoga is especially well-suited to individuals who use wheelchairs and people rehabilitating after surgical procedures, dwelling with persistent sicknesses, or coping with stability points that make it arduous to get down onto a yoga mat. It’s additionally excellent for a fast exercise through the workday or whereas touring.

“It’s not concerning the end result. It’s not about hanging the right pose,” Kelly says. “Whether or not yoga is taught on the mat or in a chair, it’s all about being wholesome.”

Chair yoga can also be supreme for newbies who is likely to be intimidated by a conventional mat apply as a result of it presents a protected technique to be taught the poses, Minard provides.

You will discover chair yoga courses at neighborhood facilities, health amenities, and yoga studios. There are additionally a variety of on-line choices. On this video, Kelly offers detailed directions for a brief chair yoga apply that’s appropriate for all ranges.

To apply at house, use a sturdy chair (an workplace chair on wheels or overstuffed armchair are usually not applicable for chair yoga). Minard suggests a chair that naturally positions your hips barely increased than your knees and permits you to put each ft flat on the ground.

“In case your ft aren’t flat on the bottom, your weight is all in your backbone and if the chair is just too low and your knees are above your hips, there’s extra impingement in your hips,” Minard says. “You need to have the ability to do sluggish, managed actions with out placing further stress in your again or hips.”

Ensure that the chair is on a steady floor like carpet or a yoga mat to maintain it from slipping. You too can place the again of the chair in opposition to a wall for further stability, Minard provides.

Yoga props like blocks, straps, and resistance bands which might be frequent in mat practices aren’t required for chair yoga — except you need an additional problem.

“Chair yoga is an effective start line to make use of muscle tissue you haven’t used shortly with out the potential dangers of overloading [your muscles and joints] or falling,” Minard says. “If the resistance out of your physique weight isn’t sufficient of a problem, you’ll be able to add mild hand weights, ankle weights or resistance bands to your chair yoga apply.”

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