Sunday, 27 November 2016

Yoga with a chair

Yoga with a chair is great if you have limited mobility.  Remember yogis say 'if you can breathe, you can do yoga'.  Try the following yoga videos on my YouTube Channel- 

Chair yoga - severe arthritis/elderly.  Part 1-

Chair yoga - severe arthritis/elderly.  Part 2-

In this blog post however, we are using the chair as a prop to help with balance, to bring the ground nearer than a block would and to help you relax.  

Try using a chair in the following yoga poses (Safety note - please make sure that your chair will not slip).

Downward Facing Dog using a chair (using a chair is a half way stage between having your hands on the mat and having your hands on a wall (see last week's 'Yoga with a Wall'

Stand  with the chair seat facing you, your feet at hip distance and place your hands on the chair seat.  Breathe out walk your feet back and bring your head between your arms.   To come out of the pose, breathe in and walk your feet forward to come up. As a counter pose, interlace your fingers behind your back, breathe in and lift your arms up and back as you lift your chest.

Revolved Triangle (a chair brings the floor nearer than a mat in this challenging pose) - stand a little way from the chair (chair seat facing you) with your feet at hip distance.  Step your right foot forward so that it is under the chair and turn your back toes out.  Level up your hips by taking the right hip point back.  Place your left hand on the chair seat and your right hand on your right hip.  Breathe in and start to twist to the right, abdomen first then ribcage then shoulders.  If you have a good twist, take your right arm up and if you have no neck issues, look up at the right hand.  Breathe in, take your right hand to your right hip and come back to centre.  Place your right hand on the chair, breathe in and come up, step your feet together.  
Repeat second side.

Tree (a chair can help you with balance) -from standing facing the back of the chair,  take your weight into your left leg. Bring your fingertips to the back of the chair. Find a drishti, a gaze point then bring the sole of the right foot to cup the left ankle, to the left shin or reach down and bring the right foot to the left thigh (never place the right foot on the knee).  Press the right foot into the left leg and press back into the right foot with the left leg. Keep the tail bone lengthening down towards the mat. If you feel stable take one arm up and if possible both arms up, knowing you can return your fingertips to the chair if you start to feel unsteady. Hold for several breaths then release on a breath out.  

Plough - Please note this pose is contraindicated if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, have neck issues or are menstruating (a chair is helpful if you have tight hamstrings)- lie in front of the chair with a folded blanket under your shoulders so that your neck and head are on the mat, not on the blanket.  This creates space for your neck.  Breathe in and as you breathe out, engage your core and take your legs up and over so that your feet come to the chair.  For extra comfort you may place a cushion on the chair.  Ideally, support your lower back with your hands.

Restorative Seated Forward Bend - sit with the chair seat facing you and your legs under the chair.  Place a cushion on the chair and bring your right cheek to the cushion and rest your arms on the chair seat.  Stay here for a few minutes then turn your head so that your left cheek is on the cushion.

You might also like the following videos on my YouTube Channel:-

Yoga to help relieve pain - Chair yoga 1 - power sequence to fight pain
Yoga to help relieve pain - Chair yoga 2 - release tension, release pain
Yoga to help relieve pain - Chair yoga 3 - releasing endorphins, nature's pain killers

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