Good morning! We made it to the middle of the week. I hope it’s a great one for you. This Wednesday, we’re going to complete our yoga series. I’m excited to share with you my 8 favorite chair yoga poses. Whether you don’t want to get on the floor, or you want a quick pick-me-up at work, these moves will give you a great stretch. In addition to the flexibility benefits, you’ll also enjoy the health benefits we discussed a few weeks ago. That’s right – things like better sleep, better breathing habits, less stress, and a heightened sense of well-being. Let’s get started.
If you’ve been attending my Sit N Fit class at Roser Church, you’re familiar with this move. Here’s how it works:
- Sit with both feet on the floor with your hands on your knees.
- Inhale as you arch your back and bring your shoulders back. This is the cow position.
- Next, exhale as you round your back, bringing your chin down to your chest. This is cat position.
- Continue moving through cow (as you inhale) and cat (as you exhale) for at least 5 breath cycles.
Seated Side Bend
- Start by holding onto the right side of your chair.
- Inhale as you reach your left arm up overhead.
- Exhale as you bend over to your right side.
- Inhale to sit up nice and tall with your arm still extended straight overhead.
- Exhale as you bring your arm down.
- Repeat on the other side.
Chair Forward Bend
This one will feel great on your lower back!
- Inhale as you sweep your arms up overhead.
- As you exhale, sweep your arms down to the side and fold forward allowing your hands to touch the floor (if they reach) and your head to hang heavy.
- As you inhale, sit up while sweeping your arms up overhead.
- Repeat this movement several times as you raise your arms and fold forward, moving with the breath.
Chair Extended Side Angle
- On your final forward bend, stay folded.
- Keep your right hand down on the floor. If you can’t reach the floor you can place a book or block under your hand.
- As you inhale, reach your left arm up overhead, opening your chest as you twist.
- Hold this twisted position for several breath cycles.
- On an exhale, bring your left arm down to the floor.
- Repeat on the other side, bringing the right arm up overhead.
This one will help to stretch out your hips. You’ll feel it right away.
- Sitting up nice and tall, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Try to keep your knee in line with your ankle as best you can.
- Hold this position for 3 to 5 breaths or longer if you’d like.
- To increase this stretch even more, lean forward keeping your back as flat as possible.
- Repeat with the other leg.
Chair Spinal Twist
- For this one, you’ll want to adjust so you’re sitting sideways on the chair.
- Inhale, sitting up as tall as possible.
- As you exhale, twist towards the back of the chair and hold on to the back.
- Stay in this twisted position for about 5 breath cycles. Each time you inhale, lengthen your spine to sit up as tall as possible. Then, as you exhale, try to twist even more.
- Once you have completed one side, move your legs around to the other side and repeat.
- Again, start by sitting sideways on the chair, facing to the right.
- Keep your right leg positioned over the side as you swing your left leg back behind you.
- Straighten your left leg as much as possible, and position your foot so it’s pointed out to the front of the chair (which is perpendicular to your other foot).
- Keep your torso facing the side of your chair, over your right leg.
- Inhale and raise your arms to the ceiling.
- Exhale and open your arms as your right arm comes forward and left arm goes behind. As you exhale, you’ll also twist your torso, so it’s aligned with the front of the chair.
- Gaze out past the fingertips on your right hand, and hold the position for about 3 breaths.
- Repeat on the other side.
Almost every yoga class concludes with a final relaxation pose called “shavasana.” This position helps you relax and absorb all of the good you have done.
- With both feet on the floor, place your hands face down on your legs. Find a comfortable position for you.
- Close your eyes. If this makes you dizzy, you can keep your eyes open and focus on s spot on the floor in front of you.
- The goal here is to quiet your mind. (This can be tough!)
- As thoughts come into your mind, just notice them and let them go.
- Focus on your breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your nose or mouth.
- Enjoy these moments of total relaxation.
- Relax in this pose for about 5 minutes. If you have longer, that’s great too.
- Slowly open your eyes when you’re ready. You should feel relaxed and refreshed.
Give this yoga routine a try and let us know how you like it. We’d also love to see you in action. Take a few pictures and share them with us on Facebook. Find us HERE! Not only will you get all health benefits of the routine, but you’ll inspire your friends to give it a try too.
Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!
Melissa Merkle and Kirt Lietzow own Boomers N Motion, an exercise and health coaching business focused on keeping baby boomers and older adults active, pain-free, and full of energy into their golden years. For more information on group classes and private, in-home coaching, please visit boomersNmotion.com or contact Melissa and Kirt at coaches@boomersNmotion.com.
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