Chair Yoga Poses for Self-Care

By: Kristin McGee, celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor and wellness expert.

 

Subscribers to Caring Crate may not be in a position to get out to exercise and stay physically active. I have written a new book, "Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You" which is exactly what it sounds like: exercises you can do sitting down. Chair yoga is the perfect solution for all of us who find ourselves in a chair for extended periods of time. Chair yoga will help you learn simple exercises you can do daily that will help strengthen and stretch your body while focusing your mind and helping you tap in to your breath. Chair Yoga is crucial for self-care in this day and age because too many of us find ourselves sitting too often; and also feeling mentally drained, anxious, depressed or overwhelmed.

 

Here are some chair yoga poses you can do to help you take care of your self: body mind and spirit.

 

Start with ujayii a calming breathing exercise to help ground you in the present moment.

  • Helps To: increase deeper, fuller, diaphragmatic breaths, feeding our muscles with extra oxygen
  • Try It: after a long stint of screen time, whenever you need to relax, focus, and renew your energy

 

  1. Sit comfortably in your chair with your feet flat on the floor.

  2. Inhale a deep breath through your nose, then exhale a silent extended “ha” sound (like Darth Vader) through the mouth. Repeat this two times.

  3. Now, try creating the silent extended “ha” on both the inhalation and the exhalation with the mouth closed the entire time by closing off the back of the throat.

 

Next perform Sun Salutation with Twists

  • Works Your: Abdominals, spine, lower and upper back, arms, hips and waist.
  • Try It: When you feel sluggish in your digestion, want to keep your back healthy, feel stuck in your mood or thinking, have a kink in your back or shoulders, want to wring it all out.

If you feel stuck in any way, twists really help get things moving. Twisting is really good for digestion, detoxification and for seeing things from a new perspective. Twists are also extremely good for the back and waist. You can tone and tighten your oblique muscles and massage the vertebrae of the spine with this flow.

 

  1. Sit tall with your feet hip-width apart firm on the floor, and your hips towards the edge of the chair with your back straight. Inhale, reaching the arms up overhead to press the palms.

 

2. As you exhale, drop your arms down and around as you twist to your right bringing the left hand on the right knee and the right arm behind you to the top of the chair.

3. Inhale, back up to center arms up.

4. Exhale twist to the left.

5.  Continue this flow for a series of eight to ten cycles. On your last set, stop        hold the twist on each side for five to eight breaths.

 

Finish with Hands Clasped Behind Head Bowing Forward:

For a major neck relief you may just want to hang your head forward and use your hands to help let it all go. It’s hard to believe how much tension we carry in the neck and this exercise lets us release it all. It’s also a nice way to go inside; and turn off all of the outer distractions, even if just for a minute.

  • Works Your: Head, neck and shoulders
  • Try It: when you’re feeling overwhelmed, want some major release in the neck, need an entire spine stretch, feel stressed, slept weird, need a mental and physical break

 

  1. Lace your hands behind your head, narrow your elbows forward, and tuck your chin to your chest.

  2. Keep your upper body neutral and focus on stretching the upper back and spine. Folding your nose towards your throat region. Hold for at least five to eight breaths.


I hope you take the time out every day to care for yourself. With Chair Yoga it is fully possible!