CHAIR YOGA

Anyone Can Do Yoga

Elders Chair Yoga Maglit Basement.png

Chair yoga is a wonderful option for anyone with physical limitations that may

prevent them from getting on the floor to do yoga on a mat.    If you have always

wanted to try yoga, but you aren't sure if you can participate in a regular yoga

class, chair yoga is a great place to start.

WHAT IS CHAIR YOGA?

Chair yoga is one of the gentlest forms of yoga available.  Poses and movements

are simple. Regular yoga poses are modified so that they can be done while

seated in a chair or using the chair for support.  These modifications make yoga

accessible to, and more suitable for, people who cannot stand or those who

lack the mobility to move easily from standing to seated to supine (laying on back/face upwards) positions; including seniors and anyone with physical limitations.

 

Many of the basic body mechanics of the individual poses are retained, no matter the stance of the practitioner.  While seated on chairs, or standing holding on to the chair, yoga students can do versions of twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends.

 

There are three categories of chair yoga poses:

  1. Standing poses

  2. Seated poses on the chair

  3. On-the-mat poses using the chair

Chair yoga is a great practice for everyone, not just those who have limitations.  It is also great if you don’t have the physical space to do a regular yoga practice, in a group setting, at home or at work.

 

A TYPICAL CHAIR YOGA CLASS/SESSION with me (60 minutes)

Before your class – what to bring/wear:

In order for you to feel comfortable and enjoy the class more, here are a few suggestions that might help:

  • Do not eat for at least one hour before the class, preferably two hours

  • Dress in comfortable, stretchable, layered clothing (i.e. t-shirt with a hoodie over it with stretchy pants)

  • Bring a bottle of water

  • Bring a blanket and small cushion/pillow to use during relaxation at the end of class

  • Bring your yoga mat, if you have one (I have extras if you need one – just let me know) – although a mat is not needed for classes that are entirely done sitting in a chair

 

You will also be asked to fill out and sign a waiver form prior to participating in the class.  It outlines any medical/physical concerns that I will need to know about.  A sign-in/out form is also used at each class.

 

Your Chair Yoga Class

My main goal in all of my chair yoga classes is to ensure that participants feel relaxed and confident, so that they can experience all the benefits that chair yoga can have for them.  I will lead you through a practice that will leave you feeling calm yet energized, peaceful, and less stressed.  I like to keep things light and informal, so everyone feels more comfortable and at ease.  And, of course there will be calm, soothing music playing in the background.

 

Class structure will depend on the abilities of the entire group of participants.  If anyone cannot do any part of the practice standing up, then everyone will be seated throughout the entire class.  Class begins with 3 chants of Om – a sound that has high spiritual and creative power that vibrates at the same frequency as all things found in nature; it also calms the mind and the nervous system.  This is followed by a centering and connecting with your breath, which allows you to start focusing more on yourself as you leave the “outside world” behind.  We proceed to warm up the upper body, and then get right into the practice.  Seated, standing, and on-the-mat poses will be used as we do some grounding, centering, and balancing poses that integrate flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination.  Keep in mind that these poses are simplified and uncomplicated, and rest time will be given in between each pose.

 

The final pose is Savasana, or relaxation pose.  During this time, you will either lay down on your mat, or sit comfortably back on your chair, and allow your body to rest as it reaps all of the benefits of everything you have just done in the class.  I will talk you through a guided relaxation and healing mediation sequence that will help to cleanse and clear any blocked energy channels in the body and bring you more into balance.  We will then have a “TLC shower”, as we use the positive healing energy all around us to give ourselves a little extra love and healing through personal touch.  And finally, I will guide you through a few self-reflexology positions on your feet to bring you further stress relief and relaxation.  The class will then end with 3 chants of Om, and an offering of Namaste (a show of respect to each other).

 

BENEFITS OF CHAIR YOGA

Here are just some of the many benefits of chair yoga:

  • You can enjoy the benefits of a complete yoga practice with all major poses, using chair support and with some modifications

  • You do not have to get on and off the floor

  • You can practice at your desired level of intensity

  • Portable and convenient

  • Non-intimidating introduction to yoga

  • Strengthens your core, and tones abdominal muscles

  • Develops balance by practicing in fun and engaging supportive ways

  • Deepens flexibility and strengthens personal body awareness

  • Learn to release stress, relax and renew

  • Stream line breathing to develop good health

  • Improves strength

  • Improves mental clarity and concentration

  • Great opportunity to meet people and socialize

  • Improves pain management

  • Reduces joint strain

  • Relieves cramps and stiffness

  • Improves circulation

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Helps lower blood pressure

  • Builds strength and balance

 

(**Credit for much of this information goes to one of my wonderful enlightened Yoga teachers and mentors: Yogacharya VIneeta Sharma, YOGYAM  Chair Yoga 2015 - 2018; www.yogyam.com)