Chair Yoga: How to Practice Yoga Even When You Can’t Get to Your Mat

chair yoga

What is Chair Yoga and Who is It For?

When you hear the term chair yoga, do you immediately think of older people or people with limited mobility? Do you imagine a slow, uneventful practice? Or do you think of chair yoga as a practice on par with your favorite hatha or vinyasa yoga class?

If you haven’t considered a chair yoga practice, give it some thought. Anyone with a chair—whether you’re stuck in that chair or not—can do this practice.

Why Practice Chair Yoga?

Let’s face it. Many of us spend a lot of time sitting. We sit at work. We sit when we drive. We’re in a chair at the dinner table, when we watch television, and when we’re online. You may want to get up and move, but perhaps you work in an office, and it’s not an option. Or perhaps you have “things to do,” and taking time away from your desk to exercise seems like an indulgence. You may believe you don’t have time for physical activity, even though you know it’s good for you.

If you’re a diehard yogi, I’ll bet you’d love the opportunity to do more yoga. What if you could do yoga every day or even several times a day. Good news: with chair yoga, you can!

Celebrity yoga teacher Kristin McGee is so passionate about chair yoga that she recently wrote a book about it. A quick search through the book’s pages reveals the are many benefits of this style of yoga practice.

Breathe in Your Chair. Move in Your Chair.

To start, you can do any kind of yogic breathing practice while seated. No one even needs to know you’re doing it! If you have a bit more privacy or colleagues who don’t mind seeing officemates doing a few moves in the next cubicle, you can also get some physical exercise with a chair yoga practice.

In fact, why not invite your colleagues to join you? Take some chair yoga breaks together throughout the day!

Even Master Yogis Use Chairs

If you know the work of BKS Iyengar—the amazing yogi who introduced precise alignment using props to the yoga world—you know that Iyengar yoga can be serious business. It’s also an ideal style to practice with a chair. A chair can help deepen and enhance an Iyengar practice, says yoga teacher Eyal Shifroni, who wrote a guide to using a chair Iyengar style.

Just like any other prop, a chair is not a crutch but a tool you can use to make the most of your yoga practice. Supplement your mat practice with chair yoga breaks throughout the day, and you’ll probably notice a few things. You’ll be more energetic and productive. You won’t feel as tense and stressed, and you may look forward to getting on to your mat for more yoga when the work day is done.

Have you practiced yoga with a chair? Let us know about your experience!

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Maria Kuzmiak

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