Ageless and Accessible: Chair Yoga for a Vibrant Life!
You don't have to be steady on your feet to reap the rewards of yoga. There's a kind of yoga class tailored to people who would benefit from assistance with balance and stability. It's called chair yoga, because the yoga is performed while seated or while standing next to a chair for support. It is especially good for people who can't get up and down off the floor easily, and anyone can do this class as long as the person doesn't have an injury or condition that would cause harm by movement.
Yoga is a series of postures (called Asanas) and breathing techniques (called Pranayama) that include an element of meditation. The postures are beneficial in a number of ways. They help reduce muscular tension, build flexibility and strength, add bone strength, and improve balance. In addition, the meditative quality of yoga triggers a well-studied physiological change known as the relaxation response, which can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Yoga can boost your mood, decrease anxiety and depression, and improve sleep.
A modified approach
Chair yoga includes many of the same postures used in traditional yoga, however in chair yoga the postures are modified to be done while seated or standing next to the chair. You still get the same benefits as if you were standing because you're still focusing on your breath and being present in the moment, so you are relaxing whilst getting a stretch and building strength, too.
Chair yoga class
Like traditional yoga, chair yoga is taught in a class where participants might start with 15 minutes of yoga breathing techniques to cleanse the body with fresh oxygen, balance the nervous system and quiet the mind, then 30 minutes of yoga chair postures to lengthen and strengthen muscles followed by 15 minutes of relaxation and meditation. Throughout the class participants are encouraged to only do what feels comfortable for them. Lots of props such as blocks, straps etc are provided to modify the postures for maximum comfort of each participant.
Over time and with regular practice in class, at home or whilst sitting on any seat the participants can experience many benefits of their yoga practice including:
Improved flexibility: Chair yoga involves gentle stretching and movement of the muscles and joints, which can help improve flexibility over time. This is especially beneficial for individuals who may have mobility limitations or stiffness due to conditions such as arthritis or ageing.
Increased strength: Many chair yoga poses incorporate resistance movements using the body's own weight, which can help improve muscle strength. Strong muscles are essential for maintaining balance and stability, which can reduce the risk of falls and improve overall physical function.
Reduced stress and anxiety: Like other forms of yoga, chair yoga incorporates breathing techniques and mindfulness, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Regular practice of chair yoga can promote relaxation, calm the mind, and improve mental well-being.
Improved posture: Chair yoga can help improve posture by promoting proper alignment of the spine and encouraging core engagement. Good posture is important for maintaining balance, stability, and overall physical health.
Enhanced circulation: Chair yoga includes gentle movements and stretches that can help improve blood circulation, especially in the limbs. Improved circulation can help reduce swelling, promote healing, and provide more oxygen and nutrients to the body's tissues.
Increased energy and vitality: Chair yoga can help boost energy levels by increasing blood flow, releasing tension, and promoting relaxation. Regular practice of chair yoga can help improve overall vitality and well-being.
Enhanced focus and concentration: Chair yoga includes mindfulness techniques that can help improve focus and concentration. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who may struggle with attention and focus.
Social interaction: Chair yoga classes often provide opportunities for social interaction, which can help combat loneliness and isolation, and promote a sense of community and belonging.
Accessibility: One of the main benefits of chair yoga is its accessibility. It can be practised by individuals of all ages and fitness levels, including those with physical limitations, making it a suitable option for a wide range of individuals.
Improved overall well-being: Regular practice of chair yoga can contribute to improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can help reduce stress, improve physical fitness, and promote a sense of relaxation, leading to an overall sense of well-being.
I invite you to sit down and experience the joys of chair yoga for yourself. Wishing you a happy body and quiet mind.