Mix up your home yoga routine with these seated poses.
Did you know you can modify many yoga poses so they can be done while seated? These simple modifications make yoga more accessible if you lack the mobility. Practicing chair yoga gives you all the same health benefits of regular yoga, including better breathing habits, reduction of stress, better sleep,improved muscle tone and an overall sense of well-being. Plus, seated yoga is convenient to practice from just about anywhere… even in the office!
Try incorporating some of the below chair yoga poses into your next workout.
By Ann Pizer
Chair Cat-Cow Stretch
Come to sit on a chair with the spine long and both feet on the floor. Place your hands on your knees or the tops of your thighs. On an inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back, bringing your shoulder blades onto your back.. This is cow position. On an exhale, round your spine and drop your chin to your chest, letting the shoulder and head come forward. This is cat position. Continue moving between cow on the inhalations and cat on the exhalations for five breaths.
Chair-Raised Hands Pose
On an inhalation, raise your arms toward the ceiling. Allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back as you reach upwards with your fingertips. Anchor your sit bones in your chair seat and reach up from there.
Chair Forward Bend
On an exhalation, come into a forward bend over the legs. Let the hands rest on the floor if they reach it. Let the head hang heavy. On an inhalation, raise the arms back up over the head. Repeat this movement between a raised arms position and a forward fold several times, moving with the breath.
Chair Extended Side Angle
After your final forward bend, stay folded. Bring your left fingertips to the floor on the outside of your left foot. Open your chest as you twist to the right on an inhale, bringing your right arm and gaze up to the ceiling. This is your chair version of extended side angle pose. Hold here for several breaths. Bring the right arm down on an exhale. Do the same position with the right arm down and the left arm up.
Come back up to sit. Bring your right ankle to rest on your left thigh, keeping the knee in line with your ankle as much as possible. Hold this chair pigeon for three to five breaths. You may forward bend to intensify the stretch if you like. Repeat with the left leg up.
Cross your right thigh over your left thigh for eagle pose. If you can, wrap the right foot all the way around the left calf. Cross your left arm over the right one at the elbow. Bend the elbows and bring your palms to touch. Lift the elbows while dropping the shoulders away from the ears. Hold three to five breaths. Repeat on the other side.
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All images courtesy of Ann Pizer.