Chair Yoga Poses for Newbies

Plenty of gyms such as Bodyplex offer plenty of high-energy classes such as the Les Mills H.I.I.T sessions and even Zumba dance classes. But for older folks whose mobility may not be to deal with such frenetic movements, there are classes such as Chair Yoga.

The name is pretty much self-explanatory, as Chair Yoga is basically yoga you can do with a chair. You either sit on the chair for most of it, or you’re standing while holding on the chair for support.

It’s also quite beneficial for many people, especially the elderly. It enhances your strength and flexibility, and reduces joint strain. It also improves your mood and concentration, while it reduces your stress levels.

Another benefit to Chair Yoga is that there are plenty of poses (asanas, in yoga parlance) that you can do just about anywhere. That means you can do chair yoga at home, or even in your office. Here are some of the simple asanas for newbies to help you get started:

Seated Chest Opener

Sit at the very edge of the chair, so you have enough space behind you. Interlace your hands behind your back.

As you inhale, try to lift your interlaced hands up and away from your back, while you carefully lift your chin away from your chest. Then as you exhale, lower your hands.

Repeat these motions as you breath a minimum of 2 times. You can also reverse the grip of your hands as you repeat the motions.

Seated Twist

Sit on the chair with your back near the back rest. Then set your right arm over the back of the chair, while your left hand is on your right knee.

Turn to look over your right shoulder, and hold for 4 breaths. As you inhale, focus on how your spine feels like it’s getting longer. As you exhale, focus on the feeling as you maintain the pose. Then exhale back to the center after the 4 breaths and do the same thing on the other side.

Seated Cat Cow

Sit on your chair with only your bottom and not your thighs on the seat, so your back isn’t resting on the back rest. Sit up tall, and set your hands palms down on your thighs.

Breath gently, and begin with the cat pose. As you exhale, round your back as much as you can, as you push your mid-back toward the chair. Pull your abs into your spine, tuck your tailbone under, and tuck your chin to your chest.

Now as you inhale, let your stomach move forward. Arch your back and set your sternum forward. You can keep your head level to the floor, or you can look up to the ceiling as comfortably as your neck allows. This is the cow pose.

Just do these motions alternately, as you relax into each pose.

Seated Forward Fold

Begin this with you seated and your hands on top of your thighs. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, fold forwards at your hips instead of rounding your upper back. Drape your torso over your thighs, and slide down your hands towards the floor. You can let your arms dangle towards the floor, or you can just hold each elbow with the opposite hand.

Let your torso hang heavy over your thighs, as you relax your neck and head. As you inhale, rest your hands back on top of your thighs while you gradually roll back up to your original seated position.

Keep doing these motions several times.

Chair Hip Opener (or Chair Pigeon)

Sit with the figure-4 leg position, with the right ankle on top of the left knee. Keep your right foot flexed as you relax out the right knee to the side.

Sit up tall as you inhale, and focus on and enjoy the stretch. You can even boost the stretch if you place your right hand on your right knee and apply some gentle pressure. You can also increase the stretch more, if you start to tip forwards from the hips as you keep your back flat.

Stay in this position for about 3 to 5 breaths. Then repeat the same motions on the other side, this time with your left ankle on your right knee.

Gentle Chair Yoga for Beginners and Seniors

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