How one can Do Chair Yoga


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Social media feeds stuffed with images of health fashions twisted into poses requiring excessive energy, flexibility, and steadiness could depart you considering, “Yoga will not be for me.”

Nadine Kelly, MD, founding father of Yogi MD, desires to alter your thoughts.

“We have a tendency to consider yoga as an athletic endeavor that must be completed on a mat,” Kelly says. “Yoga apply is about way more than the bodily [poses]; the apply consists of abilities like respiration, regulating your feelings, and working towards self-care.”

What Is Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga, a delicate type of yoga that’s completed whereas seated or utilizing a chair for steadiness, makes the apply extra accessible. In chair yoga, it’s attainable to maneuver into poses like cat/cow, warrior, solar salutations and ahead folds, all whereas seated.

Kelly believes the Arthur Ashe quote, “Begin the place you might be, use what you will have, do what you possibly can,” is ideal for chair yoga.

“You’re there to work and to problem your self, but it surely’s about … realizing what’s best for you,” she says. “I consider yoga poses as adaptable to a scholar’s physique and never the opposite method round.”

Whether or not yoga is finished in a chair or on the mat, the apply nonetheless focuses on the identical core ideas: focusing in your breath, being attentive to your ideas, and staying within the second.

The Advantages of Chair Yoga

Analysis reveals yoga is linked to decreased ranges of stress, nervousness, and despair, lowered ldl cholesterol and blood stress, improved vitality, higher sleep high quality, much less ache, and diminished physique mass index. Matt Minard PT, DPT, bodily therapist with Atrium Well being in Charlotte, NC, believes these advantages prolong to chair yoga.

Chair yoga can be an excellent, secure exercise for newcomers.

“It’s an effective way to work your core, discover the totally different vary of movement of the joints and prioritize motion,” Minard says. “While you’re sitting down or utilizing a chair for steadiness, the security issue goes method up.”

Who Ought to Attempt Chair Yoga?

Though chair yoga is commonly promoted as a apply for individuals who could wrestle with a mat apply, anybody can profit from this kind of mild train.


Kelly says chair yoga is especially well-suited to individuals who use wheelchairs and people rehabilitating after surgical procedures, residing with power sicknesses, or coping with steadiness points that make it arduous to get down onto a yoga mat. It’s additionally good for a fast exercise through the workday or whereas touring.

“It’s not concerning the final result. It’s not about hanging the right pose,” Kelly says. “Whether or not yoga is taught on the mat or in a chair, it’s all about being wholesome.”

Chair yoga can be ultimate for newcomers who could be intimidated by a standard mat apply as a result of it provides a secure method to be taught the poses, Minard provides.

The place to Discover Chair Yoga Courses

You’ll find chair yoga courses at group facilities, health services, and yoga studios. There are additionally a variety of on-line choices. On this video, Kelly supplies detailed directions for a brief chair yoga apply that’s appropriate for all ranges.

How one can Get Began

To apply at dwelling, use a sturdy chair (an workplace chair on wheels or overstuffed armchair usually are not acceptable for chair yoga). Minard suggests a chair that naturally positions your hips barely larger than your knees and permits you to put each toes flat on the ground.

“In case your toes aren’t flat on the bottom, your weight is all in your backbone and if the chair is just too low and your knees are above your hips, there’s extra impingement in your hips,” Minard says. “You need to have the ability to do gradual, managed actions with out placing further stress in your again or hips.”

Make sure that the chair is on a secure floor like carpet or a yoga mat to maintain it from slipping. You can even place the again of the chair in opposition to a wall for further stability, Minard provides.

Yoga props like blocks, straps, and resistance bands which might be widespread in mat practices aren’t required for chair yoga — until you need an additional problem.

“Chair yoga is an effective place to begin to make use of muscle groups you haven’t used shortly with out the potential dangers of overloading [your muscles and joints] or falling,” Minard says. “If the resistance out of your physique weight isn’t sufficient of a problem, you possibly can add mild hand weights, ankle weights or resistance bands to your chair yoga apply.”



Nadine Kelly, MD, Yogi MD, Sawyer, MI.

Matt Minard DP, DPT, Atrium Well being, Charlotte, NC.

Worldwide Journal of Preventive Medication: “The Impact of Yoga on Stress, Anxiousness, and Melancholy in Girls.”

Complementary Therapies in Medication: “Yoga for secondary prevention of coronary coronary heart illness: A scientific overview and meta-analysis.”

BMC Geriatrics: “Feasibility of a yoga intervention to lower ache in older ladies: a randomized managed pilot research.”

BMC Psychiatry: “The impact of yoga on sleep high quality and insomnia in ladies with sleep issues: a scientific overview and meta-analysis.”

Journal of Osteopathic Medication: “Mindfulness-Primarily based Stress Discount within the Administration of Power Ache and Its Comorbid Melancholy.”

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