Benefits of Chair Yoga

Yoga — what do you think of when you hear that word? You probably picture flexible fitness enthusiasts twisting their bodies and hanging upside down. Let me give you some good news; you don’t have to be hyper flexible to be practicing Yoga. My yoga teacher used to say that if you aren’t flexible that means your body needs Yoga plus he always highlighted many other benefits of yoga.

There are many different types of Yoga that are practiced today. You can practice Yoga without ever leaving your seat; you can take advantage of the many benefits of chair yoga. If age, illness, or an injury has made exercising challenging, it doesn’t mean you can’t practice Yoga. Chair yoga is a great way to practice and is safe and effective.

Who’s Chair Yoga For?

Individuals of all ages and activity levels can enjoy chair yoga classes. Chair yoga was initially introduced to the fitness arena to modify the hatha yoga style. Chair yoga had primarily catered to the special population with mobility and health issues, but soon it became popular among the young and the old alike. In the same way that a traditional yoga practice flows through motion and poses for increased flexibility, chair yoga flows through those sequences on the chair or with the support of the chair.

For many people working a desk job for 8 hours, just a gym membership doesn’t undo the effects of sitting long hours. If you are looking to introduce physical activity to your office or desk space, chair yoga is for you. Standing desks, stability balls, and walking breaks are all good practices. Why not add regular chair yoga practice?

Debbie Kell, a ToneandStrengthen team member and certified yoga instructor, has been teaching chair yoga classes for several years. In her expert opinion, “those of us who are trapped all day in a desk job can find time to practice some yoga, right in our chairs, to help refresh the body and restore our energy. A few minutes here and there can make a difference.”

If your work involves frequent travel and you find yourself sitting at the airport or on the plane for hours, chair yoga is the perfect way to stretch and move. Chair yoga exercises during a long flight can lessen the potential risk of blood clots. According to the American Society of Hematology, for flights longer than eight hours, “Blood clots can sometimes form in your legs during air travel because you are immobile for long periods.”

Benefits of Chair Yoga

Debbie shares many of the chair yoga benefits with us. They are listed below.

  • Chair yoga helps us quiet the mind, calm our moods, steady our emotional fluctuations, and sharpen our mental focus.
  • Chair Yoga brings us greater awareness about our bodies.
  • It Steadies our breathing, expands our range of motion, increases our balance, and builds strength throughout our bodies.
  • Chair yoga gives us the ability to better cope with stress and stay balanced, both physically and mentally.
  • Chair yoga enhances our range of motion, and we build physical strength, especially in the core.
  • When we use the chair as a prop, we can experiment with movements and postures that otherwise might be intimidating. Chair yoga practice lets us borrow the chair’s stability and build on it with our bodies.
  • Practicing chair yoga can inspire us to transition to more traditional mat-based yoga classes (that’s what Debbie’s clients’ experience has been).

Debbie says that’s not all. She thinks, “there’s something that many don’t think about regarding Yoga. Yoga trains the body to find ease through functional and fluid movement. We’re not working with isolated movements when we practice Yoga. Our bodies are moving through space, balancing, finding leverage, becoming stronger in ways that enhance our ability to participate in our lives. Yoga treats the body as a whole system. ”

You can do chair yoga nearly anywhere you can find a place to sit. Try a virtual Chair Yoga session with Debbie Kell on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. ET. Click HERE for more information about the classes.

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About the Author

Aesha Tahir is a health and wellness coach and a certified personal trainer. She holds a Master’s degree in Applied Exercise Science and is certified by the NASM as a Personal trainer. She is a certified USA Track and Field Running Coach and Road Runners of America Coach. She is a 200-HR Registered Yoga Teacher. She is also a group exercise instructor specializing in barre, spinning, strength training, boot camp, and yoga classes. She has over five years of experience in the fitness and wellness arena with focused expertise in coaching, corrective exercise and injury prevention, individualized fitness programs, and group fitness programs. She is also an aspiring public speaker in the fitness and wellness world who believes in this quote; “To be inspired is great, but to inspire is incredible.”

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