Chair Yoga for Seniors
Chair yoga for seniors, what are the benefits? Yoga has many benefits that improve the physical and mental health of seniors. For example, yoga can help you become more flexible, strong, balanced, and aware of your body. Additionally, it decreases anxiety and stress while increasing overall feelings of well-being and happiness. That is the very definition of care.
Though, some people aren’t as mobile and cannot easily get down on the ground or move in different ways to do yoga. Others might have a chronic injury that limits their movement. Yoga is still possible for you! Introducing chair yoga for seniors!
A great thing about yoga is that it’s a diverse practice with many poses (asanas) and ways to modify them, making it possible for nearly anyone to do yoga. That is what we will look at today. Chair yoga for seniors.
Chair yoga for seniors or people with mobility impairments or injuries is one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of yoga in a safe and manageable way. This method eliminates the need to stand up and balance or get up and down from the floor, but you can still strengthen muscles and connect with your body. The key is movement. Safe movement.
Chair Mountain Pose
The Mountain pose is one of the most basic foundation poses in yoga. It’s often used as a resting pose or to transition between other, more difficult poses.
If you can’t or don’t want to stand during yoga, that’s okay! You can still be sitting in a chair instead and working on your posture, breath control, and engagement of your core muscles.
- Position yourself on your chair so that your sit bones are resting on the edge, with your knees at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your toes are pointing forward and that your thighs are parallel to each other and hip-width apart.
- Give yourself some good posture by sitting up tall with your chest out and shoulders back. Look straight ahead.
- Engage your core muscles by drawing your belly button into your spine and extending your spine. Visualize a string attached to the top of your head, pulling you up towards the ceiling to lengthen your spine.
- Slowly inhale and feel your spine lengthen as you become more aware of the support from the chair. Feel grounded and connected to its sturdy frame. On your next exhale, sink a little deeper into the seat.
- Keep breathing in this pattern for 10-20 breaths.
Chair Cat-Cow Stretch
This is a great chair yoga pose for seniors or those with low back pain, stiffness, or poor posture because it lengthens and stretches the spine.
- Make sure you’re sitting up straight with your shoulders back and chest out. Check that your pelvis is on the edge of the chair, knees bent to 90 degrees feet flat on the floor, and toes pointing forward. Keep thighs parallel and hips width apart while resting your hands atop them.
- The cow position is created by inhaling and arching your spine as you roll your shoulders down and back.
- The ‘cat position’ is when you exhale and round your spine, bring your shoulders forward, and lower your chin towards your chest.
- For the next ten breaths, alternate between these two poses.
Chair Pigeon Pose
This is a good chair yoga pose for people who have tight hips and glutes.
- Sit up tall with your core engaged.
- Rest your right ankle on top of your left thigh, with your right knee out to the side and shin parallel to the front edge of your chair.
- For a deeper pose, hinge at the hips and move into a forward bend.
Now repeat the same stretch with your other leg.
Chair Forward Bend Pose
If you’re looking for a pose that can help stretch your low back, shoulders, and hamstrings all at once, this is the one for you.
- Start in Seated Mountain Pose. On an exhale, hinge at your hips and come into a forward bend over your legs.
- Extend your arms to the floor or your ankles, whichever allows you to stretch comfortably. Allow your head to fall into your lap.
- Start by inhaling and moving back up to an upright seated position. As you do this, raise your arms up overhead.
- For ten breaths, move from a forward fold to sitting upright.
Chair Spinal Twist Pose
This chair yoga pose is helpful if your upper or lower back is tight, but if you have spinal stenosis, disc herniations, or osteoporosis of the spine, you should skip this pose.
- To begin, sit on the edge of your chair with good posture and your core engaged.
- As you inhale, lengthen(stretch it) your spine.
- As you exhale, twist your torso to the left and sweep your arms around to the left until you reach the back of the chair.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Ten breaths for each side.
No one likes the word exercise. In a senior, it will 9 out of 10 times conjure negative feelings that you will get pushback on. Eliminate that, with this range of motion therapy, chair yoga!