Sometimes you want to move and stretch but can’t get away from the desk. There are numerous reasons that a full workout isn’t in the cards at the moment. Time, energy, mobility, or space constrictions can make a full yoga practice unavailable. In those instances, chair yoga could be a perfect fit. Chair yoga can be incorporated for all ages – from kids who need a quick movement break, adults who sit at a desk all day for work, to older people who are not able to do certain standing poses or benefit from additional props.
Yoga for all! Doing yoga from a chair has all the same benefits: improving flexibility and stiffness, improving posture, decreasing pain, and reducing stress and tension. Chair yoga can help improve strength as well by working those muscles that are often neglected during the day. Yoga helps improve proprioception as well – knowing where your body is in space and coordinating your movements accurately. This is particularly important for children to help prevent falling and tripping. It can mean better control over the body and its movements. Yoga can help reduce stress and improve mental clarity – also very important for children. Being calmer and more relaxed leads to better focus and concentration at school, and a greater feeling of happiness and well-being – something we can all benefit from!
Here are 11 Chair yoga poses to get you started right away. By doing this sequence, you’ll be able to get in a quick full body stretch and strengthen. Practice with me and get in a movement break to help clear the mind and move the body. These are all kid friendly so you can even have the kids do chair yoga along with you. It makes for a great homework brain break. Motion is lotion so wherever you are right now, let's get moving!
Come to sit at the front of your chair. Open your chest, squeeze your shoulder blades together, look up, and bring your hands to the back of the chair. Arch into a baby back bend.
From a sitting position with your feet flat on the ground, round your back and tuck your chin into your chest, stretching your back.
CRESCENT MOON POSE:
Sit on your chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Reach your arms up high over your head, bringing your palms together. Tilt your upper body to one side. Come back to center. Tilt your body to the other side.
Stand tall in Mountain Pose behind your chair. Then grab the back of your chair with your right hand, stand on your right leg, reach your left leg out behind you, and place the outside of your left foot into your left hand. Bend your torso forward, with your right hand on the chair for balance, and arch your leg up behind you. Switch sides and repeat the steps.
EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE POSE:
Sit towards the front of your chair with your feet flat on the ground with your legs and feet together. Tilt your upper body forward, then twist to the right, rest your left elbow on your right knee, lengthening your left hand towards the ground. Look up and reach your right arm straight up to the sky. Repeat on the other side.
Perch at the front of your chair with your legs stretched out in front of you. Place your feet hip-width apart and flex your feet to rest your heels on the ground. Slowly bend your upper body (ensuring that your chair is stable and reach for your toes. Keep a straight spine and look down at your toes.
Stand in front of your chair, then bend over and grab the front of the chair with both hands. Step your right foot back into a lunge position. Keep a flat back and open your chest. Hold for a few breaths, then bring your right foot back up to meet the left foot. Switch sides and repeat the steps.
Sit tall with your feet flat on the ground. Bend your right leg and place your right ankle on your left knee. Place your left hand on your right foot and your right hand on your right knee. Switch sides and repeat the steps.
REVERSE PLANK POSE:
Sit at the front of your chair, look up, open your chest, and place your hands at the back of your chair. Ensuring that the chair is steady, slowly lift your buttocks to a reverse plank position with your legs and spine straight and feet flat on the ground.
Sit tall on your chair with your feet flat on the ground and your palms on your knees. Then take your left arm straight up to the sky. Tilt your upper body to the right and place your right hand on the chair. Open your chest, look up, and feel the gentle stretch on your left side body. Come back to center. Switch sides and repeat the sides.
WIDE-LEGGED FORWARD BEND:
Stand tall with legs hip-width apart in front of your chair, feet facing forward, and straighten your arms alongside your body. Then, step your feet out wide, bend your upper body, and take your hands to the back of the chair. Bend your arms and rest your forehead on the front of your chair. Feel the gentle stretch in your legs.
Chair Yoga can be a really convenient way to get in a movement practice. Did you try any of these? Which are your favorites?