Bring Yoga to the Chair

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Lengthen and strengthen your body with these 5 simple yoga poses you can do in a chair.

Can’t get down on the floor, don’t feel comfortable standing for long periods of time, or recovering from an injury that doesn’t allow you to do your usual activities? Chair yoga may be your answer. These seated yoga moves are designed to increase flexibility, balance, and range of movement.

If you can, use a chair that does not have arm rests to allow space for movement. Lower yourself to the chair, release your shoulders, then relax your arms to the side with palms facing forward. Take a few minutes to focus on your breathing, allowing each inhale and exhale to become longer and deeper. Then, follow along as Jenny demonstrates five simple yoga poses you can do while seated.

  1. Mountain Pose

Bring your body forward to the front part of your chair. Find your grounding with feet pressed firmly to the floor. Sit tall, lifting your upper body up through the crown of your head. Release your shoulders and relax your arms to the sides with palms facing forward. Stay in mountain pose and breathe deeply, matching the length of your inhalation to your exhalation. Try it again!

  1. Cat/Cow Pose

In your chair, bring your hands to rest on your knees. Round your shoulders forward and feel your upper back lengthening as you engage your core. This is cat pose. Next, lift yourself tall through the crown of your head and inhale deeply. This is cow pose. Repeat slowly, paying attention to your breathing.

  1. Prayer Twist

Bring your hands together in front of your heart. Remain sitting tall as you gently twist your upper body to the right, slowly come back to center, then twist to the left. Try this one time in each direction at your own pace.

  1. Lateral Flexion

This pose is a great way to lengthen your body and improve flexibility. Gently raise your left arm and lift tall through your fingers. Relax your shoulders and start to laterally bend to the right, then slowly release back to center. Next, inhale and lengthen your right arm. As you exhale, bend laterally to the left. Release and come back to center.

  1. Eagle Pose

Inhale and extend both arms out to the side, then bring them in to give yourself a hug. Bring your feet closer together and relax your elbows to your body. Lift your left foot up and cross over your right leg. Try to keep your body and knees aligned toward the front. Uncross your arms and release all the way down. Breathe. Hug yourself again and try the pose with your right leg crossed over the left. Release your shoulders, relax your arms to the side. Close with a deep inhalation, bringing your arms overhead. On the exhale, bring your hands together to heart-center.

There are countless reasons to add yoga to your routine. Whether you’re looking to improve balance, ease back pain, strengthen or relax, there’s a yoga practice to help.  Doing a few simple yoga poses that move your spine in every direction can go a long way in keeping your spine mobile and healthy. Plus, research shows a regular yoga practice can help boost energy levels and overall well-being in older adults.

Yoga is a practice. Keep practicing and you will see and feel the benefits. As always, safety is key.

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