Gentle Chair Yoga stretches, postures and breathing techniques will improve your quality of life no matter how old you are. If you cannot get down on a mat, you may want to try out a class that uses a chair as a prop. Often times the chair is used as something to hold onto when standing Yoga positions for Chair Yoga are being practiced, The chair assists with balance and provides more confidence when attempting the different poses.
I look forward to my class once a week. I go there feeling slouched over in pain, and leave there actually feeling taller and more at peace. Chair Yoga is a gift I give to myself.
I continue the stretches at home but I benefit more from being with my instructor and group of friends. I love the social aspect of it, and the meditations that we close our sessions with. Being at home, I find it difficult to just sit by myself for twenty minutes and be introspective. I think I will make that a resolution for the new year, try to sit still for twenty minutes and clear my mind!
Though Yoga positions for Chair Yoga vary a bit because participants do sit down for part of the class, they are not completely separate exercises from traditional Yoga – just modified.
According to the University of Michigan Health System, people are fit when they can do physical activity with energy and a sense of well-being. Chair Yoga improves your ability to twist, bend and move around. While it does not directly prepare you for intense physical activity, it allows you to keep up with your daily life and generally improve basic routines. They cite flexibility as one of the key components of fitness and many of the postures strengthen muscles, too.
The Mayo Clinic reports that practicing Yoga may help with sleep problems, fatigue and mood, which in turn could have positive effects on a variety of health conditions such as high blood pressure, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), vertigo, depression, and chronic syndromes such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FMS). It is also ideal for people suffering with Arthritis because it reduces the pressure placed on joints, while still offering opportunities for stretching to increase flexibility and range of motion.
Personally, living with CFS, FMS and Arthritis, Chair Yoga has been instrumental in controlling pain. I am also able to sleep soundly when I return home from my evening class.
The report also stated that Yoga can help with stress management. Some of the poses are discrete enough to be done while at work in the office, in a wheelchair, or in a plane, such as simple spinal movements, deep breathing techniques and wrist or ankle rotations.
Some of the modified Yoga positions for Chair Yoga are Downward Facing Dog, or assisted balance poses, such as Tree or Dancer.
One pose that I recommend to be practiced daily is Angel Breaths. This is one that you can start your day with: Begin with your hands at your heart center (breast bone), palms together in prayer pose. With an inhalation, sweep your arms above your head, you can tilt your head back and look up. (if you have neck issues, keep your chin parallel to the floor). As you begin to exhale, sweep your arms back out to the skies and return your hands to your heart center. Repeat several times. Your body will let you know how many is enough.
As you are reaching up, feel the rib cage lift up and the lungs expand with your breath. As you come back down, use your abdominal muscles to help expel the used air.
You may want to state your intention. It may help to set the tone for the rest of the day. Doesn’t it feel wonderful to breathe deeply?
This pose may be done sitting or standing. If seated, sit well in your chair with your back away from the back of the chair, feet planted firmly on the floor. If standing, be sure your body is well aligned with your feet planted firmly, hip distance apart.
When you feel ready to end, sit for a few moments with your hands at your heart center, your head gently bowed forward, and your eyes closed. Listen to your breath. Feel the new energy moving through your body and mind. Let yourself be calm and quiet in preparation for your day ahead. Namaste.
I am spreading the word about this amazing super-food!
Today, besides being an active grandmother, I am a volunteer with several community organizations and love spreading the word of an amazing super food – Earth’s First Food!
***I have a new site! www.TeamNewEarth.com/pattiquinn
To read more about my journey living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia - click here.