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Whether you have a limited range of motion, are recovering from an injury, or want to mix up your practice – Chair yoga is a great option for everybody!
Using a chair as a prop and platform is a great way to build up strength and stability.
The only prop you need for these 7 beginner friendly poses is a chair. Preferably one without arms, and definitely one that has a back.
1. Cat/Cow – Sitting comfortably on your chair, hold on to the fronts of your knees. As you inhale, lift your chest up, squeezing the shoulder blades behind you. Exhaling, contract the spine, looking towards the knees. Repeat this action through for a few rounds.
2. Side Stretch – Bring your right hand to the left edge of your chair. Reach the left arm up towards the sky and move in to a side bend. Reach your your fingers up and over, lengthening through the left side. Return to center. Bring your left hand to the back of the chair, and use it to open up into a twist to the left side, maybe looking back over your shoulder. Inhale, to lift and lengthen. Exhale to twist deeper. Gently release and then repeat through on the other side.
3. Half Sun Salutations – Inhale, circling the arms up, bringing the palms together overhead. Exhale, hinging at the hips to fold forward over the legs. Inhale, bringing hands to the shins, lifting up halfway and lengthening the spine. Exhale, to fold fully once more. Push in to the feet to come all the way back up on an inhale. Then exhale hands return to the heart. Turn to one side, straightening the legs out a bit. Inhaling to lift the heart. Then as you exhale, fold all the way down. Maybe the fingers touch down to the floor. Let the head be heavy and release tension from the neck. After a few breaths, gently walk the hands up the legs to return to a seat.
4. Leg Stretch – Facing forward on the chair, slide forward so that only the seat is on the chair. Hug the right knee to the chest, holding the back of thigh or the shin. Roll the ankle a few times in each direction. Holding the knee in, open the left arm out to the side. Then challenge yourself to release the right hand out as well. As you inhale, maybe also straighten the leg forward. Bring the hands to the back of the hamstring and lift up. Release and set the foot down. Switch sides.
5. Goddess – Open the legs up as wide as they will go. Turn the heels in and toes out slightly. Opening the knees and hips at the same angle. Inhale, circling the hands up overhead. Exhale the hands to the heart. Squeeze in to the glutes to open the knees. Release hands down on to the thighs. Drop the right shoulder down, use your right hand to push the knees open further. Getting a big stretch in the inner groin along with a twist in the upper body.
6. Warrior 2 – Open the right knee out to the side, and step your left foot back. The right thigh should be fully supported by the chair. The right toes point directly forward, with knee over the middle toes. The left foot is flat to the ground and parallel. Reach your arms out long, with palms facing down. While holding here, play with building strength by pushing the feet in to the mat and lifting the hips off of the chair. Reverse your Warrior, reaching the left hand up and over. Then come to Extended Side Angle, bringing right forearm to the right thigh and left arm up and over. Release and repeat on the other side.
7. Figure 4 – Move toward the front of your chair. Hug your right knee in, crossing the ankle over top of the left thigh. Pushing your right knee open. This may be enough, or you can fold it forward, hinging at the hips. After a few breaths, cross the right thigh over the left. Bring your left hand across to the outside of the right leg/thigh. Sweep the right arm back in a twist. Release and switch sides.
Want to practice along with me for the full chair practice? Click the video below.
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