Seated Yoga poses include straight and cross-legged postures, forward folds as well as twists. These kinds of asanas are appropriate for practitioners at all levels with the use of props as required to promote safe alignment. You can do them in order to loosen up at the beginning of a yoga session. However, you will probably be able to go deeper if you revisit them towards the end of your practice after you’ve generated some heat with your standing postures.
The term ‘chair yoga’ is a general term for practices which adapt yoga poses so that they can be done while they are seated in a chair. These alterations make yoga accessible to individuals who cannot stand, lack the mobility to easily move from standing to seated to supine asanas, or would like a quick break from office work.
Many of the fundamental body mechanics of the individual yoga poses remain the same. While seated on chairs, yoga students can do types of twists, hip stretches, forward bends in addition to mild backbends.
As well as a good stretch, chair yoga participants can also enjoy other healthful benefits of yoga, including improved muscle tone, better breathing habits, stress reduction,3 better sleep, and an improved sense of well-being.
Seated Cat Cow
- Begin with your hands on your thighs. Sit up tall.
- As you breathe out, round your back and pull your abdominals into your spine. Tuck your tailbone under and your chin into your chest.
- Be as round in your upper back as you can and push your mid-back toward the chair. This is cat pose.
- As you breathe in, let your belly move forward, arch your back and send your sternum forward.
- Look up towards the ceiling (if your neck is feeling comfortable) or make sure that you keep your head in a position parallel to the floor. This is cow pose.
- Repeat this motion several times, inhaling into cat and then exhaling into cow.
Extended Mountain Pose
- Sit on the frame of a chair with your feet flat on the floor (approximately the distance of the chair legs) and toes slightly pointed out.
- Take a deep breath in as you reach your arms overhead and keep your shoulders away from your ears.
- Ensure that you feel a stretch through the front of your body.
- If you’d like to, lift your arms toward the right so you feel a stretch on the left side of your body.
- Return to centre and switch sides. Release.
Chair Forward Bend
- On an exhalation, make sure that you come into a forward bend over your legs.
- Let your hands rest on the floor if they reach it. Let your head hang heavy.
- On an inhalation, raise your arms back up over your head.
- Repeat this movement between a raised-arm position and a forward fold several times. Move with the breath.
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