A yoga chair is a chair that some yogis use in their practice for certain poses or for the entire practice.
A yoga chair does not have to be a particular type of chair, but any chair can be used while practicing yoga.
There are certain chairs that are classified as ‘yoga chairs’ but you can honestly use any chair.
If you are wanting a chair specifically for yoga that is backless or with an exercise ball in the middle of the seat, many companies make chairs (i.e., yoga chairs) just like that.
Choosing the chair that suits you best for your yoga practice is key because there are many different types and you just need to know which one is best for you.
This article will discuss various aspects of a yoga chair, including:
- What is the purpose of chair yoga?
- What are the benefits of sitting on a yoga ball?
- What’s the best yoga chair?
- What are the best yoga chair poses for beginners and experienced yogis?
- What are the benefits of chair yoga for the elderly or people with mobility issues?
There are many different ways to practice yoga and that is why yoga truly is for everyone.
What Is the Purpose of Chair Yoga?
A yoga chair is used for providing support in seated twists and rotations as well as backbends and other yoga poses.
Used more traditionally in Iyengar Yoga practices, yoga chairs are extremely helpful for yogis who want to try a new form of yoga or who need extra support in certain poses. Your alignment will improve drastically with the consistent use of a yoga chair.
For some yogis, various poses are difficult to do without support and assistance. This is where the yoga chair comes in to help.
Shoulder opening, backbends, and twists may be less frustrating for some if a yoga chair is used.
Below you will see how a yoga chair can help with those poses.
Grab a yoga chair and place it in front of your body, making sure that the seat of the chair facing you directly. Kneel on your knees and bend your elbows while also clasping your hands together.
Bend over from the waist and put your elbows and biceps on the yoga chair making sure your hands and forearms are facing the ceiling.
Take deep breaths, relax and put your head between your arms. Carry your breaths between your shoulders to feel the opening.
Shoulder opening poses are great for the body but sometimes they can be difficult to do without props. Props are available to help yogis improve their practice.
These poses are such great heart openers but can be difficult to fully get into without frustration. Take your yoga mat and fold it behind your yoga chair.
The yoga chair should leg length from the wall. Sit backwards on the chair with your bottom on the edge of the chair, moving extra flesh away.
Grab hold of both sides of the chair, while taking deep breaths lengthen your spine upwards then slowly move your body towards the back of the chair to begin to form a backbend.
Make sure to exhale but be sure to keep your shape. Now it is time to lengthen and your legs and feet towards the wall and make sure your feet are planted firmly on the floor.
Use your arms to help you begin to move your body upward into a backbend position, your head should be the last part of your body to fall back.
Twisting poses are quite possibly one of the best for your body because they help wring out toxins and realign your digestive system.
Sit down in your yoga chair, now turn sideways, place both hands on the back of the chair. Plant both feet firmly on the ground, with your feet parallel and your knees must be above your ankles.
Breathe through the twisting motion and make sure that your bottom is glued to the chair and lengthen your back.
This pose can be slightly tricky because some yogis forget that it is their torso moving and not their whole entire body.
Do a scan from head to toe and sit with how you feel, if you feel tight anywhere in your body, loosen up with each breath that you take. Repeat these movements on the other side of your body.
What Are the Benefits of Sitting on a Yoga Ball?
The benefits of using a using yoga chair (i.e., yoga ball) are endless, so endless that a practice dedicated to using just a yoga chair has arisen.
Chair Yoga, is a practice where you do all of your yoga on a chair and still has the same benefits of doing yoga on a mat.
Yoga is versatile like that – you can do it anywhere using different props and the benefits are still endless, no matter what practice you do.
Yoga chairs are beneficial to yogis who want to try a new practice, elderly yogis as well as yogis who have mobility issues. Yet again, yoga proves that it is for absolutely anyone and everyone.
Below you will learn six benefits of using a yoga chair and chair yoga.
Often times individuals who have mobility issues or elderly individuals have difficulty with strength and holding themselves upright on a daily basis.
Due to injury, falls or genetics, strength does not come easily for some individuals. Yoga is always for everyone, that is why all of the poses can be modified to suit everyone’s needs.
Yoga chairs help to improve strength, not only during your practice but also in every area of your life. If you have strong muscles and joints, injuries and falls can be prevented and doing yoga on a chair can help tremendously with that.
If you feel as though you struggle in the flexibility department, try using a yoga chair to do chair yoga.
It has been reported that individuals who have a hard time bending down to tie their shoes or just to bend down to pick something up from the floor, after doing yoga with a chair has improved their flexibility and can bend down without issue.
A consistent yoga practice can improve every single aspect of your life.
Knowing where your body is and the weight it holds in all spaces does not come easily for everyone.
Individuals with mobility issues have trouble with this, but using a yoga chair to do their yoga practice can help improve proprioception.
Being able to match your movements with your thoughts is a skill that some take for granted.
Reduced Stress and Improved Mental Clarity
Yoga helps to improve stress and improve mental clarity by focusing on your breath at that moment. Some individuals who suffer from disability issues and elderly individuals may be lonely and feel isolated and do not know how to deal with those feelings properly.
Doing yoga with a yoga chair provides the same benefits as yoga on a mat to the individual because you are still focusing on your breath at that moment in each pose.
Opportunities to Meet People and Socialize
Being around other yogis who have the same ailments and issues as you can help you overall because you know that you are not alone in your struggles.
Going to a yoga class that uses yoga chairs can help you see what it can do for others as well. We as humans are not meant to be alone, we are meant to share our walk with others.
Get up, get out (if you can) and get to a chair yoga class and you will not be sorry!
Improved Stress and Pain Management
Any type of yoga can drastically improve your stress and pain management because you are always focusing on the breath.
Each practice is different in the sense of poses and flow but the end result is the same; using the breath to guide you home.
Chair yoga can help you find new ways to deal with pain and uncomfortable feelings and emotions. Trying a new practice such as chair yoga and using new props such as yoga chairs can quickly alter your thinking and remind yourself that it is never too late to try new things!
What Are the Best Yoga Chair Poses for Beginners and Experienced Yogis?
If you are new to using a yoga chair and the overall practice of chair yoga, you may consider trying beginner poses.
Here are five beginner yoga poses for your first experience with using a yoga chair to do chair yoga. You can do these poses during a studio or at-home practice.
These poses are for beginners, individuals with mobility issues, and the elderly or experienced yogis; they are for everyone!
Fist, Spread, Arms Overhead
Sit down in your yoga chair and put both of your arms out in front of you then slowly bring them to your sides and make fists with your hands.
Inhale as you carefully lift your arms and spread your fingers then make fists with your hands again. Continue to do this until your arms and hands are directly above your head.
Keep your hands in a fist position then spread your fingers as you bring your arms back down to your side, making sure to exhale. Repeat these movements with your arms and hands three times.
These movements are great for strengthening your wrists, palms, and fingers as well as opening your chest and building muscles in your arms.
Hug and Twist
Take a seat on your yoga chair and place your right arm and cross it over your left arm as if you were giving yourself a nice big hug.
As you take five slow breaths, turn your navel from left to right. Take a moment to enjoy the moment.
Repeat these movements with the opposite arm across your body. These movements are great for toning your back and core.
Opposite Leg and Arm Lift
Have a seat in your yoga chair, lift and bend your right knee with your right foot flexed along with your left arm lifted in front of your body.
Inhaling as you do these movements, then exhale and lower your left arm and right leg. Repeat these movements with your left knee bent and your right arm lifted.
These movements should be repeated for ten to twenty repetitions. This pose is great for helping to improve coordination and balance and muscles in your quads.
This pose also strengthens your arms and stretches the soles of your feet.
Fold and Twist
Make sure you are seated fully on your yoga chair in order to hinge forward from your hips and fold your body over with one arm in the air over your head and one hand on the ground.
If your hand cannot reach the ground, you can place it on your shin. Inhale and exhale as you rotate your arms. Hold pose on each side for three breaths and repeat a few times.
This pose is great for strengthening your lower back and entire spine and is also an amazing chest opener.
Seated Pigeon Twist
Sit upright in your yoga chair, bend one leg over the leg on your ground with your ankle on the knee of the grounded leg.
Making sure to keep the foot flexed and breathing in and out. Twist your body to the same side as the bent leg and hold for three breaths.
Repeat these movements on the other side using the other leg. These movements are phenomenal hip openers as well as strengthening your entire spine.
Are You Ready to Try Chair Yoga?
There are some beginner yogis that want to try yoga but are not yet comfortable rolling out their mat.
Using a yoga chair for chair yoga is a great start to easing themselves into yoga. Most of the same poses are the asana poses used in a yoga practice with a mat.
Yoga chairs are a great introduction to certain poses and to get used to the feel of using your breath to guide yourself through all poses.