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Energize and Revitalize in Comfort with Chair Yoga

August 21, 2023

Are you sitting comfortably as you’re reading this blog? Or are you on the go, perhaps walking down the road between errands? No matter where and how you’ve come across this blog post, we’d like to ask another question – have you considered practicing yoga while sitting on a chair? 

Like other forms of our yoga practice, chair yoga has unique benefits, including increased mobility, flexibility, and mental well-being. Here is a closer look at the reasons for and benefits of chair yoga. 

What is Chair Yoga and Does Chair Yoga Really Work?

Energize and Revitalize in Comfort with Chair Yoga

As the name suggests, chair yoga means practicing yoga while sitting in a chair. For the practice to benefit you, it doesn’t matter too much what type of chair you choose. Any chair that allows you to sit comfortably and move relatively freely will work. 

Having said that, different chairs offer different benefits. Standard kitchen or desk chairs work well as long as they have the right height for your body type. Backless chairs allow you to include a wider range of poses into your chair yoga practice but could be harder to find. Balance ball chairs, a recent alternative to standing desk chairs, give you the added benefit of engaging your core while you’re practicing. 

If you’re using an office chair, try to look for one without wheels and armrests because it will make it easier to perform your poses while remaining stable. If that kind of chair is impossible to find, you could always move it on top of a carpet or against a wall for added stability. 

Does chair yoga work? Yes! Don’t get us wrong, practicing on a mat gives you access to a wider number of asanas for sure. However, if you’re recovering from an injury or trying to fit in a few minutes of yoga practice during a busy office day, chair yoga is a great choice. 

You will build strength, and increase mobility and flexibility. Plus, performing chair yoga as a way of letting your mind breathe during a busy day in front of the computer may just give you that boost or inspiration you’ve been waiting for!

What are the Most Popular Sitting Yoga Poses?

Popular Sitting Yoga Poses

Chair yoga has the advantage of allowing you to do yoga almost anywhere. Take a look at these poses and choose your favorites to try.

1. Seated cat-cow

Normally performed on all fours, cat-cow works well while seated in a chair of your choice. Sit tall with your hands on your thighs. Inhale and allow your belly to roll forward, arch your back, and look toward the ceiling for your cow pose. Now exhale, round your back, and pull your belly button toward your spine. Tuck your tailbone under and your chin toward your chest for your cat pose. Repeat several times.

2. Seated chest opening pose

This is an excellent stretch for everyone who tends to hunch in front of their computer for hours. Sit on the front edge of your chair and interlace your fingers behind your back. Inhale and lift your hands up, away from your back. Most people will feel a stretch in their shoulders. Exhale and release your arms. Repeat and switch the grip of your hands. 

3. Seated twist

Are your back and shoulders starting to feel tight? Try a seated twist. Move your left hand to your right knee and put your right arm over the back of the chair. Turn and look over your right shoulder for several breaths. Lengthen your spine when you inhale, relax when you exhale, and deepen the twist. Repeat on the other side. 

4. Seated hip opener or chair pigeon

Driving to work and sitting in the office can all contribute to tight hips. This pose can help you stretch and release your hips. Start by placing your left ankle on your right knee. Let your left knee relax and drop but keep the foot engaged. Inhale and sit up tall, then exhale and lean forward to increase the stretch. 

5. Chair forward bend

Sit with a straight back. Exhale and bend forward over your legs. Rest your hands on the floor, if possible, and let your head hang heavy. Stay here for several breaths. Inhale and raise your back to a straight position. Repeat several times. 

6. Chair extended side angle

From your forward bend, move your right hand next to your right foot (you may want to use a black for support). Inhale and twist to the left, bring up your left arm, and gaze toward the ceiling. Check that your chest is as open as it can be, then repeat on the other side. 

How to do Chair Yoga for Beginners?

Chair Yoga Poses

Chair yoga is a great practice for beginners who find some of the standing poses challenging. Remaining seated can add to your stability and allow you to build up strength and mobility until you’re ready for more. 

If you already have a yoga practice, start by trying the poses above to see which ones may suit your best. If you’re new to yoga, check out our online class dedicated to chair yoga. Remember, our experienced instructors at Uptown Yoga are always happy to guide you in your practice, and they’re available for private yoga lessons if you’d prefer a more personalized approach. Just a few private lessons can help transform your practice. 

What are the Benefits of Chair Yoga Poses?

Chair yoga makes yoga accessible for anyone struggling to practice on a mat. Whether you’re recovering from illness or injury or looking to integrate yoga into a busy day, performing yoga poses on a chair is a great option. 

The benefits of chair yoga include:

  • Increased strength: chair yoga poses help you build basic strength in your core, arms, and other muscles, preparing you for more challenging poses.
  • Better flexibility and mobility: chair yoga poses can help you loosen up tight back and neck muscles during a long office day. Forward bends increase your flexibility, potentially helping you reach your toes if that’s been a challenge. 
  • Easy integration of yoga into your day: even with the extensive schedule of classes at Uptown Yoga, it’s not always easy to get to a class in time. Practicing chair yoga allows you to continue practicing even on days when you don’t have access to a mat or simply struggle to make time.  
  • Reduced stress: just a few minutes of this yoga can help bring down your stress levels, lower anxiety, and let you tackle the rest of your day. 

Final Thoughts

Chair yoga may seem like a bit of a strange suggestion at first, but it’s an excellent option to integrate your yoga practice into busy days. Chair yoga is also a great way of gently returning to your practice after an illness or injury. You may not be able to complete your normal routine on your mat, but there is no reason not to practice the poses that are accessible to you now.

Last, but not least, chair yoga is extremely beneficial for everyone who spends the majority of their day sedentary. These poses allow you to take a break and improve your physical and mental well-being – all without leaving the office.  

Give the online yoga poses above a try today, or take a look at our chair yoga online class to get started. 

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