What was once considered just one of many yoga props is now evolving into a yoga school of its own as practicing asanas
using a chair gains popularity by the day.
So, can chair yoga be as distinct as, say, Vinyasa, Iyengar or Hatha yoga? Well, apparently it can, because the form is in fact targeted to a very niche segment, and features many modified poses that are its own alone.
Grab A Chair
Dating back to 1982, yoga instructor Lakshmi Voelker was the one who conceived chair yoga for those stricken with arthritis and movement disabilities. While it takes inspiration from Hatha
yoga, the asanas
are customized to reduce impact and effort by using a sturdy chair as a prop; one with an open frame that does not constrict movement. What makes it special are a number of things:
- It's the gentlest form of yoga for those who want to get fit; the focus is on the body, not the mind.
- Suited for senior citizens, chair yoga helps one do inversions, twists, backbends, and many intricate poses with a reliable prop to balance yourself and reduce the pressure on the joints.
- Also, those with vertigo, back pain, spine injuries, and other physical ailments will find that chair yoga's modified postures are one of the best resolves for those who want to get active despite their limitations. It significantly reduces risk of injury and fall.
- The chair proves to be a worthy companion which helps you hold poses for longer, deepens your stretches, and prevents your muscles from cramping.
- Chair yoga practitioners also claim that it can strengthen one's bones, and reduce the negative effects of arthritis, multiple sclerosis, neurological disorders, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and chronic pain.
- Also, it makes for a great mini-workout at work should you happen to come in early, leave late, or have some privacy, because you have everything your need, which is basically, a chair!
Here's a 20-miute video demonstration that will help introduce you to some of the asanas
that are performed while doing the chair yoga routine. It starts with a warm up, and then progresses to the modified versions of the warrior pose, forward bend, spinal twist, and extended side angle, finally ending with a cool down session.
You can buy DVDs
that take you through a step-by-step of the routine, or alternately sign up
for an online tutorial. For group classes, register with studios like Yoga Vista