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6 Chair Yoga Poses to Try at Home

Sign up to our virtual chair yoga sessions HERE.

Chair yoga has been very popular at Wellington Place, and due to the current restrictions with Covid-19, we’ve moved our weekly sessions online! We spoke to qualified yoga instructor Susi Wicks from L1 Performance to learn more about chair yoga and poses you can try at home. 

What is Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga is a form of yoga that has been adapted from traditional yoga. Typically, chair yoga is practiced sitting on a chair or using a chair for support, yet still allows for twists, stretches and minor backbends.

Chair yoga is ideal for those who might not be able to take part in traditional yoga due to mobility restrictions, an injury, or those who simply don’t have the space to lay down a yoga mat and practice. 

It’s a gentler form of yoga, but just like regular yoga, it helps increase body strength and flexibility, as well as promoting mindfulness and mental relaxation.

What Are the Benefits of Chair Yoga?

The many benefits of traditional yoga also apply to chair yoga. 

Chair yoga increases mobility and encourages blood flow around the body; something which is important if you spend prolonged periods of time sitting down to work. Sitting at a desk for long periods can cause tight hips as well as a tight lower back and hamstrings. The postures strengthen the body and core which in turn help to improve posture, helping us to sit taller and relax our shoulders further down the back. It works to release tension in the wrists, arms, neck and shoulders – all areas which can hold tension when sat at a desk.

Breathing techniques used in chair yoga help to calm the nervous system and settle the ‘fight or flight’ instinct which can be triggered when we are stressed or anxious and can in turn increase blood pressure. The techniques focus on calm and a move towards ‘rest and digest’.

Who Can Do Chair Yoga?

Anyone can give chair yoga a go! 

What Equipment Do I Need for Chair Yoga?

A chair. Ideally, a stable chair that won’t move during the practice. Try and avoid chairs with armrests, wheels or swivel features.

6 Chair Yoga Poses to Try

Chair Cat & Cow

Chair Yoga Cat Chair Yoga Cow

How To:

  • Sit with hands on knees or thighs
  • On an inhale bring your heart forward. Drop your shoulders back and down
  • On your exhale round the spine forward, drop chin to chest and round your upper and mid back 
  • Move with every breath 

Benefits:

  • Frees up the spine
  • Opens the chest and shoulders as well as upper and lower back and neck

Chair Seated Twist

Chair Yoga Cow

How To:

  • Sit sideways on your chair 
  • With an inhale reach your arms up, lengthen your spine. With your exhale twist your body to one side and hold on to the back of the chair  
  • Option to extend the back arm to move deeper into the twist 
  • Option to look over the back shoulder if your neck is feeling ok
  • Change sides

Benefits:

  • Frees up the spine and lower back and parts of the shoulder 
  • Detoxifying 
  • Aids digestion

Chair Forward Fold

How To:

  • Sit on your chair with your feet about hip width apart  
  • Fold forward over your thighs and let your arms and head hang down 
  • To come out of the posture uncurl from the bottom of your spine

Benefits:

  • Frees up tightness in the lower back
  • Lengthens the spine and neck

Chair Pidgeon

How To:

  • Sit on your chair with your feet about hip width apart  
  • Cross one ankle over onto the other thigh
  • Keep the foot of the top leg active, toes flexed towards the knee
  • Place hands on the crossed leg and gently guide your knee out to the side
  • Option to place forearms onto the top leg to deepen the posture 
  • Change sides

Benefits:

  • Opens and releases tightness in the outer hips, outer glutes and parts of the inner hips 
  • Frees up parts of your lower back

Chair Eagle Pose

How To:

  • Sit on your chair with your feet about hip width apart  
  • Extend arms out in front of you. Bend your elbows on a 90-degree angle, palms facing each other
  • Cross elbow over the other 
  • Option 1 back of the palms facing or even touching 
  • Option 2 double wrap your arms and have the inside of the palms touching
  • Gently lift your elbows up and guide them away from your chest 
  • Option to drop your chin in towards your chest 
  • Cross one leg over the other and squeeze your inner thighs 
  • Option to double wrap your legs and place the foot behind the calf or ankle 
  • Change sides 

Benefits:

  • Releases tension in the back of the shoulders and upper back
  • Strengthens inner thighs and gently releases tension around outer thighs 

Chair Side Bend

How To:

  • Sit on your chair with your feet about hip width apart  
  • Reach both arms up above your head
  • Grab one wrist with the other hands index finger and thumb
  • With an inhale lengthen the side of the body and with an exhale lean to the opposite side 
  • Change sides 

Benefits:

  • Lengthens the side of the body to get rid of tension
  • Improves posture and breathing

 

We are hosting weekly online free chair yoga sessions every Thursday, so you can give it a go! Get first-hand guidance from Susi, and fellow L1 Performance yoga instructor Jess, who lead the sessions alternately. 

For more information or to register for the virtual chair yoga sessions CLICK HERE 

Thank you to yoga instructor Susi Wicks for contributing to the blog. 

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