When you think of Chair Yoga, is “yoga for old people” the first thing that comes to mind? Yes, it’s true that many older and elderly people participate in Chair Yoga. But so do lots of other folks!
Let’s start with the basics – what, exactly, is Chair Yoga? Simply put, it is a yoga practice which uses a chair for support, either as a total support for the body or to use as an aid to balance in standing postures and movements. Some choose to be on a mat for a portion of the practice. A Chair Yoga class encompasses most of the components of a standing mat yoga class – pranayama (breath work), mindfulness, stretching and strengthening, asana (postures), Sun Salutation flow, and Savasana. We do move more slowly, savoring the opportunity to notice the sensations in the body and mind.
Certainly, Chair Yoga is a wonderful option for those with mobility challenges. But many others may find Chair Yoga to be a vital addition to their wellness practice. In my own experience, Chair Yoga enabled me to experience a daily yoga practice during the challenging early recovery period following rotator cuff surgery. My 30-year old, very athletic son attended Chair Yoga classes following surgery to repair a tibial fracture. Some like to follow a challenging cardio class with Chair Yoga. The gentle stretching, along with the slower pace and focus on breath and mindfulness, offers an excellent cool-down after more vigorous activity. On low-energy days (we all have them!), Chair Yoga may be just the ticket. Those working at a computer can incorporate what they’ve experienced in Chair Yoga into their workday; helping to relieve physical, emotional, and mental stress while also increasing mental clarity.
Consider challenging yourself to try something different; join me for a class or two. Whether Chair Yoga becomes a regular part of your self-care or you pop in once in a while, I’m pretty sure you’ll feel better afterward; in body, mind, and heart.