I love Chair Yoga (also called Yoga for All Bodies). Here's why:
It's super accessible
No more excuses for not coming to yoga class!
Injured or recovering from surgery? Take it slow with lots of options.
Completely inflexible? No problem! No one is putting their foot over their head here.
Find it hard to move to and from the floor? No need! My students only come down to the mat if they want to.
Balancing is difficult? You can hold on to the back of the chair whenever you like.
Too tired to go to Vinyasa? Me too.
Experiment with poses! If you find that you don't want to use the chair, you don't have to.
My chair yoga classes have a large age range of students. Like 20s to 90s. Feel the community vibe. Gain powerful insight from making friends with someone of a different generation!
Keeping your spine properly aligned is hard in many standing poses, especially for beginners to yoga. Holding onto the back of a chair (or the edge of a counter or windowsill) allows you to get into a pose with a straight spine, even if the muscles aren't there yet. A pose like warrior 3 (your body parallel to the floor while balancing on one leg) can go from impossible to totally doable.
Longer Seated Meditation
It's hard for many people, myself included, to comfortably sit on the floor and meditate for longer than 5 minutes. With the chair available, there is another option for a meditation position. I can guide a 15 minute Yoga Nidra, knowing that no one is going to fall asleep from lying down, and that no one will have a back ache from sitting cross-legged.
How much time do you spend sitting in a chair every day? Yeah, I thought so.
When you learn some chair yoga poses, you can add more movement into your day without having to get out a yoga mat or go to the gym.
That guy in the photos is Tim Sitt, who I run retreats with. He wrote a great book called "Move or Die" that's about how being sedentary is killing us. Exercises that use a chair are perfect to incorporate into an office or any workplace for a quick activity break.
A one-hour Chair class will look something like this:
Seated: Breathing, Gentle warm-up
Seated or Standing behind the chair (you choose): Face yoga, Toe yoga, Warrior series, Self-massage
Standing behind chair (holding for support if needed): Balancing postures
Seated: Breathing techniques, Meditation
Even though I do often attend more vigorous classes, like Vinyasa, I still try to get to a chair class every week. It's like therapy for my body. Check out a Chair Yoga class at a studio near you!
*Simone runs Chair Yoga classes at Bliss Yoga Studio in Toronto. She also teaches accessible yoga one-on-one.