Are you looking for stress relief or perhaps a way to be more active? Maybe someone mentioned chair yoga to you thinking that you may enjoy partaking in a class.
Yoga can be a challenging practice that pushes your body or a gentle form of exercise that focuses on stretches and movements and the importance of breath.
Through research, all forms of yoga have been shown to have extensive health benefits. While you may think you need to have incredible balance or flexibility, chair yoga can benefit anyone regardless of their current fitness level.
Whether or not you have mobility issues, chair yoga is a form of yoga that offers an opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of yoga, without worrying about the risk of falls or injury.
Very little is needed for chair yoga. Find an area of your home with space to move and a study chair. You may choose to have a computer or tablet with you in order to follow along with an online instructional video.
Regular exercise is important to one's overall health and well-being. Gentle chair yoga is a nice way to slowly introduce exercise into your daily life and can even complement a pre-existing exercise routine.
If you need more convincing, here are seven reasons to try out chair yoga.
As we age, it’s not uncommon for our spines to lose flexibility and begin to curve. This can cause some pain or discomfort, and impact balance.
Chair yoga can positively impact your posture through poses (or postures!) such as the chair cat-cow pose. This involves sitting straight, with your feet planted and moving between an arched back and a curved back. This is one of many, simple movements that can help you with your posture.
Falls are one of the largest reasons for hospitalizations for older adults. Chair yoga can decrease the risk of falls through increased strength and muscle tone.
Chair yoga helps you to increase awareness of your own body. This also can positively impact your balance and thereby decrease the risk of falls.
One of chair yoga’s biggest benefits is increased flexibility and range of motion. Having increased movement can help you move more freely throughout the day.
Chronic pain, joint pain, and inflammation may increase as we age, but chair yoga can reduce some of this pain. Through gentle, low-impact movements, you can move your muscles with limited distress.
Of course, if you do have chronic pain be sure you check with your doctor or healthcare provider to ensure you have no movement restrictions. Chair yoga can be a pain management strategy to complement, or sometimes replace medication.
Exercise releases endorphins which reduce stress.
Taking time to focus on your breathing has significant reductions in stress and anxiety. Reducing stress and anxiety has been shown to improve cognition as well. When practicing chair yoga, be sure to focus on deep breaths with every movement - this can take time to develop.
Exercise programs in general lead to better sleep, which has a variety of health benefits including managing chronic illnesses. Implementing chair yoga into your daily routine can help you throughout your day - not just at the moment.
A few common chair yoga poses to start with include:
These poses are just a place to start. Joining a chair yoga class is your best option for fully taking advantage of the benefits of chair yoga.
To participate in person in a chair yoga class, check out your local senior center or community center for upcoming classes.
To practice chair yoga in your own home, find a sturdy chair and check out some of the many online chair yoga videos.
If you enjoy exercising with someone, invite a loved one to join you. You can find a video focusing on what you’d like to improve - whether it’s balance, lower body movements, stress relief, and more.
Whether you’re a beginner or returning to a yoga practice after some time away, chair yoga will have an overall positive impact on your wellness, now and in the
Laurel McLaughlin has over a decade worth of experience in various sectors of the elder care field- home care, senior living, and non-profits. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is a certified dementia practitioner.
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