Chair yoga participants come in all ages, shapes, and sizes. Some have challenging health issues, others are recovering from illness or surgery, or lack mobility and balance not suited for typical able-bodied yoga classes.
And this type of yoga isn’t limited to the elderly or infirm. The adapted postures can benefit anyone who sits for long stretches of time: at work, school, frequent travelers, or couch surfers.
What is chair yoga?
Chair yoga falls under the category of hatha yoga (a form of yoga that uses breathing, postures, and meditation) and is practiced while sitting in a chair, standing and using the chair for support, or a combination of both seated and supported standing poses.
A chair practice incorporates all the tools of a regular asana class such as deep breathing, poses, and relaxation, so you receive the same benefits as a mat class without the difficulty of getting on the floor.
Benefits of chair yoga
- Improved strength
- Increased flexibility
- Better balance
- Reduced joint strain
- Improved pain management
- Better concentration
- Increased stress relief and relaxation
When selecting a chair for yoga practice, choose one that is sturdy with no arms to restrict your movement. You might also want to include other props like mats, blankets, blocks, and straps.
A yoga mat provides traction and lessens the chances the chair will slip or slide on the floor. Blankets cushion the backs and bottoms of the chair as well as provide warmth during centering and savasana.
Blocks act as magic extenders for your arms and legs. If a participant’s feet don’t touch the floor, they can use the block to prop their feet on. When forward folding, individuals may need the block to support their upper body, and if you don’t have yoga blocks, a shoe box works well.
Straps come in handy when working the upper body like your arms and shoulders. If you don’t have any straps available, neckties and scarves will do the trick.
With your sturdy chair and any necessary props, you’re ready to begin. You can follow along with the video, or you can use the step-by-step guide and pictures.
30 Minute Chair Yoga Sequence
Chair Yoga Step-by-Step
So that you don’t have to start and stop the above video to jot the sequence down, you can use the quick reference I provided here. Just as I plan any yoga class, I used the same six-step strategy for sequencing for this chair class.
- A comfortable seated position with their feet on blocks.
- Arms lift overhead + lower.
- Seated twist to each side.
- Adapted sun salutation
- Forward fold with twists.
- Seated eagle
- Seated pigeon
- Warrior three (or seated leg extension)
- Supported lunge + pyramid (or seated pyramid)
4. Deep Stretch
- Shoulder stretch with strap
5. Cool Down
- Seated bridge
- Seated cat back
- Seated twist
6. Seated Savasana
A comfortable seated position with their feet on blocks. Allow the participants to relax for three to five minutes.
Chair yoga for everyone
Yoga teachers: called in to sub a chair class but you feel clueless on what to do? Feel free to borrow this sequence.
As a style of yoga truly accessible to all body types and abilities, everyone can start banking the benefits of a yoga practice today.
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