The Benefits of Chair Yoga for Seniors
With all of the different variations of yoga, chair yoga almost sounds satirical. Trust us when we tell you it isn’t. It benefits people of all ages and skill levels and is especially useful for seniors. So what makes chair yoga different? And what is chair yoga good for? Let’s talk about it.
What is chair yoga?
This isn’t a trick question. Chair yoga is exactly what it sounds like. It incorporates the use of a chair in your yoga routine, where you either sit or use the chair for balance. It’s a discipline of yoga that was started back in 1982 by Lakshmi Voelker-Binder. There are many benefits of chair yoga, but what makes it most attractive is its accessibility to those with mobility issues which can not stand or have trouble standing for long periods of time.
The benefits of chair yoga and who it’s best for
The benefits of chair yoga shouldn’t be seen as separate from the benefits of traditional yoga. The physical benefits you receive from yoga, including increased strength and flexibility, along with the spiritual and mental benefits, don’t change when you add a chair. Many of the same poses are possible when doing chair yoga, which leads to many of the same results.
As we mentioned, chair yoga was developed to be accessible to certain groups of people. Anyone with mobility issues, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteosclerosis or chronic pain can still participate and enjoy the benefits of chair yoga. Chair yoga for seniors seems to be most popular, especially seniors who are keen to stay active but may struggle to stand for extended periods of time.
Seniors aren’t the only ones who benefit from chair yoga. Chair yoga at work is something that can be done in ten-minute intervals while sitting at your desk. In today’s climate, there’s a good chance that your office is your home, so you should feel even more comfortable taking ten minutes to complete a chair yoga sequence.
Another group who can benefit from chair yoga are those who spend large amounts of time sitting in front of a computer. We may not realize it, but those hours of inactivity do have an impact on our health. Chair yoga is one way to break that cycle of stillness and incorporate movement into our daily routines.
What equipment do you need for chair yoga?
For chair yoga, you need much of the same equipment you do for traditional yoga. Those include the following:
Comfortable sweatpants or yoga pants
There really is no specific chair you need to purchase. The only chair you should avoid is one with wheels. It won’t be stable enough for you to do the yoga movements and can actually be dangerous. Also, if you’re really short and your legs don’t touch the ground when you’re sitting, think about getting some blocks to put under your feet. Anything that can help increase your stability but is still safe for you to have your feet on.
Where to practice chair yoga online
Chair yoga is fairly popular, so you won’t have any trouble finding relevant free online yoga sessions. The first thing you can do is search for chair yoga exercises on YouTube. That should pull up a number of videos you can choose from. But sometimes, all those options can be a bit overwhelming.
A better place to start is right here at Boomerang. We offer online chair yoga workshops led by one of our experienced hosts. These sessions are for all skill levels, so if you’ve never done chair yoga before, don’t worry about feeling left out.
3 simple chair yoga moves
If chair yoga sounds interesting and you want to try it out, start with some of these simple moves:
1. Chair Forward Bend
From the seated position, bend from your waist and try to touch the floor with your hands. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the way down. Breathe in, take your time, and repeat.
2. Hands Up Yoga
Sit with your back straight against the chair and raise both arms simultaneously. Try to keep your posture while raising and lowering your arms.
3. Chair Pigeon
This one is a bit of advanced chair yoga. Lift your left ankle so it sits on your right thigh and hold this position for 3-5 breaths. You can bend slightly forward to increase tension. Switch legs and repeat.
Make chair yoga a part of your healthy lifestyle
We’ve outlined many of the benefits of chair yoga and showed you some simple moves. But what do you think? Is chair yoga something you’re willing to try? We think you should. Yoga is such an effective way of staying active without ever having to leave your home. And with experienced instructors like we have at Boomerang, you can feel comfortable trying new poses and easing your way into more difficult ones.
Sign up for online yoga classes with Boomerang
Boomerang’s online community is a great space to join. On top of our online classes and discussion groups, Boomerang really is a community where you’ll find inspiration and build new friendships. It’s a space where you can challenge yourself to learn new skills, stay active and educate yourself, no matter where you are in your journey.
Join our weekly discussion group, look out for upcoming classes to learn new skills, ask questions, try new ideas, and make new friends. Sign up for Boomerang to see all of our workshops and take a free online yoga class for seniors.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.