Yoga has many benefits for your body and your mind. It’s a fantastic way of improving strength and flexibility without doing an intense or strenuous workout.
Yoga is easily adaptable for those with limited movement. Traditional yoga poses can be modified so that they can be done from a seated position, making them accessible for the elderly or those who have disabilities that restrict their movement.
Not only will chair yoga help with your posture, balance, and strength, but it will also help you to breathe better, sleep better and reduce stress.
Try some of these basic poses to ease yourself into chair yoga:
Chair cat-cow stretch
Begin by sitting with your spine long and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Place your hands on the top of your thighs. Try to focus on your breathing here and ensure it’s in a controlled rhythm, inhaling through the nose and breathing out through the mouth. This is your cow movement.
On inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back, bringing your shoulder blades together. This is your cat movement.
Exhale, rounding your spine and bringing your shoulder and head forward, dropping your chin to your chest.
Repeat both movements for 5 breaths.
Raised hands pose to forward bend
On inhalation, raise your arms up towards the ceiling.
Allow your shoulder blades to relax and move down your back as you reach upwards with your fingertips. Feel the stretch up through your spine to your hands.
On an exhalation, release and come down into a forward bend over the legs.
If your hands reach the floor, let them rest there. Let the head hang heavy and relax your body.
On an inhalation, repeat the raised hands pose. Repeat this movement between the two positions several times, making sure to move with the breath.
Come to sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left.
Twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair, for a spinal twist. Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths.
Once you have repeated the move for five breaths on your left side, turn your legs around to the right side of the chair and repeat the twist to the right side.
This is a great pose for engaging your core, adjusting your posture, and focusing on your breath.
To begin, take a deep breath and sit up straight, extending your spine. As you exhale, root your sitting bone and really feel your position on the chair. Your legs should be at a 90-degree angle, with a little room between them.
Next, take a deep breath and as you exhale, roll your shoulders down towards your back, pull your belly button inwards, and relax your arms down at your sides. If your chair has armrests, you may need to have them out to the front just a little or a bit wider, to clear the armrests.
To begin position yourself in the Seated Mountain pose above. Take a deep breath and as you inhale, lift your arms out to the sides and raise your hands up to meet above your head.
Lace your fingers together and point towards the ceiling directly above you. in Seated Mountain, take a deep breath. As you inhale, lift your arms out to the sides, then raise your hands up to meet above your head.
Lace your fingers together, keeping your pointer fingers and thumbs out, so you’re pointing at the ceiling directly over your head.
As you exhale, roll your shoulders away from your ears and down your back. Continue to take even breaths as you settle in here, taking at least 5 deep breaths before you exhale and release your clasped hands.
To finish your yoga session, take a few minutes to sit with your eyes closed and breathe deeply. Place your hands on your thighs, with your palms facing upwards.
Starting from your toes, focus on each part of your body and relax each part as you move up towards your chest for a final breath.
Yoga helps to strengthen body parts without the strain of intense exercise and is great for the mind. Always make sure you're in comfortable clothing and in a chair that offers you support and room for movement.