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Chair Yoga

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Updated June 25, 2014

Reverse Warrior in a Chair

Reverse Warrior in a Chair

© Ann Pizer

Chair yoga is a general term for practices that modify yoga poses so that they can be done while seated in a chair. These modifications make yoga accessible to people who cannot stand or lack the mobility to move easily from standing to seated to supine positions. Many of the basic body mechanics of the individual postures are retained, no matter the stance of the practitioner. While seated on chairs, students can do versions of twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends. In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga participants can also enjoy other health benefits of yoga, including improved muscle tone, better breathing habits, reduction of stress, better sleep, and a sense of well-being.

Who Can Do Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga classes are most widely available in senior centers and retirement homes, as senior citizens are its biggest target audience, but obese people and people with neurological diseases are also good candidates to give the chair method a try. Office workers can also take advantage of chair yoga's adaptations to sneak in some stretches at work.

What's In a Chair?

Since chair yoga is all about adaptability, it should come as no surprise that the particular chair you use is not important; you don't have to run out and buy a specialized yoga chair. Chairs with wheels are not ideal, since they are unstable, but almost any other chair will do. If you are short, put blocks or a folded yoga mat under your feet to give yourself a firm foundation.

Chair Yoga Poses

Try chair yoga at home, with this sequence of ten chair yoga poses.
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