If you think you’re too old or inflexible for yoga, think again! You actually don’t have to touch your toes or get down on the floor and turn into a bendy straw to benefit from chair yoga. However, you still get to take advantage of the many benefits that this practice can bring to your life! Keep reading to learn more about doing yoga while sitting in a chair and how it can improve your mental and physical well-being.
What is chair yoga?
This is a specific form of yoga developed by Lakshmi Voelker-Binder in 1982. It’s practiced sitting on a chair or using a chair for support. Poses are often adaptations of asanas in modern yoga as exercise.
This type of yoga has been evaluated for possible medical benefits like osteoarthritis. Researchers have also found small to moderate benefits for older people, including maintaining good balance, reducing symptoms of depression, and improving lower limb strength and vitality.
6 Benefits Of Chair Yoga
This type of yoga is both a safe and effective exercise for many that are unable to enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle. Here are six benefits you will gain by doing it:
1. Improve strength.
We already know that strength leads to better balance, which reduces our risk of falls. Sitting in a chair to do yoga helps retain and even improve strength. In fact, it’s even been an effective alternative treatment for osteoarthritis!
2. It can increase flexibility.
Many people assume that loss of flexibility and increasing age go hand-in-hand, however, the rule is “use it or lose it”. By gently challenging your body, you can actually improve your mobility and increase your flexibility!
3. Improve proprioception!
Proprioception describes the ability to accurately sense where your body is in space. So, how does that translate to yoga done on a chair? When we do yoga, we shift our bodies smoothly from one pose to another. By practicing these shifts, we’re improving our coordination. As a result, our risk of falling decreases because our proprioception is improved.
4. It can reduce stress.
Because mindfulness is an inherent part of yoga, you’re also promoting relaxation, reduced stress, and other positive mental effects. And like other forms of exercise, chair yoga may also help improve mood and offer relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression.
5. Yoga helps release endorphins.
There’s countless research out there that proves exercise can reduce some forms of pain. And it allows you to capitalize on your body’s natural painkillers: endorphins!
6. It can even help you get better sleep.
Keeping a regular exercise routine often brings better sleep — even if it’s yoga done in a chair! Simple stretching and yoga relaxation exercises work to enhance mental and physical relaxation, which will improve the quality of your sleep. The stress and pain-reducing benefits listed above will also ensure fewer disruptions.
6 Chair Yoga Poses To Try Now
Cat-Cow aka Chakravakasana: Doing the cat-cow yoga pose in your chair is simple to do and will help you stretch out your back. Plus, it will help improve posture and balance. It can also help you relax.
Forward Fold aka Paschimottanasana: Doing the forward fold yoga pose in a chair will stretch your spine, shoulders, and hamstrings. Plus it will possibly improve your digestion and helps relieve some of the symptoms from menopause.
Spine Twist aka Parivrtta Utkatasana: Doing the spine twist yoga pose in a chair will improve spine mobility by stretching the neck, chest, shoulders, and upper/lower back.
Chair Pigeon aka Chair Kapotasana: Doing this hip opener is a great way to target hips that hurt without putting stress on your knees.
Side Bend aka Parsva Sukhasana: Doing this side bend yoga pose in a chair will stretch the muscles in between your ribs, as well as your abdominal muscles and thigh muscles.
Chest Opener: Doing this chest opener yoga pose in a chair will open up your pectoral muscles and help you improve your posture.
Chair Yoga Video Tutorial
Watch the short video below to learn how to safely go through a quick sequence that incorporates six different poses. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for more yoga fitness videos.