Whether you are a senior struggling with mobility or a corporate leader who spends her days at a desk, adding some movement into your routine can boost your health and wellness. In fact, people of all ages and abilities can benefit from chair yoga, which offers the advantages of yoga while being easier and more accessible. Even if you are intimidated by yoga, or you have physical limitations, you still can improve your fitness and flexibility; all you need is a chair.
Here are five benefits to practicing chair yoga:
1. Improved flexibility: With its use of gentle move- ments and stretches, chair yoga can improve flexibility and joint mobility. As we age, it’s increasingly important to stay flexible, which helps to head off injuries and relieve aches and pains. With chair yoga, even those who have balance or mo-bility problems can get stretch their muscles without having to perform floor poses.
2. Increased strength: Although you’re seated during chair yoga, you’re still engaging and toning various muscle groups, including your core, back, arms and legs. Regular practice can lead to improved posture, stability and greater strength overall.
3. Enhanced balance and coordination: Chair yoga exercises focus on balance and coordination, so those areas will improve with regular practice. For seniors especially, honing these skills can reduce the risk of falls and promote physical stability.
4. Stress relief and relaxation: Who couldn’t use a break? Mindfulness and deep breathing are major parts of any yoga practice, and chair yoga is no different. It offers a respite from an increasingly hectic world, a Tim-eout to focus on yourself and your wellbeing. This helps promote relaxation, stress reduction and a sense of calm. The gentle movements and stretches also release tension throughout the body, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated.
5. Accessibility and inclusivity: Even those with chronic pain, injuries or various physical ailments can participate in chair yoga, which is highly accessible and inclusive. Even those who can’t practice traditional yoga can still reap its physical, mental, spiritual and emotion- al benefits.
Time is valuable for any busy woman, which brings us to another advantage of chair yoga: It can be done anywhere.
Have 15-20 minutes between meetings or before your kids’ next activity? Shut the door, grab a chair and give these simple moves a try:
- Seated cat-cow stretch: Sit up straight with both feet planted on the floor. On the inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back into “cow” position. On the exhale, round your back and drop your chin to your chest, letting the shoulder and head fall to assume the “cat” position.
- Chair forward fold: Sit and bend over your legs from the waist, letting your head hang heavy. Rest your hands on the floor.
- Spinal twist: Sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left. Twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair. Elongate your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths. Move your legs around to the right side and repeat.