Chair yoga is a gentle way to try yoga poses while seated. It suits seniors, people who are overweight or those with mobility problems. Chair yoga is also ideal if you have arthritis or joint injuries. Even if you're a regular in yoga class, chair yoga routines are a great way to stretch and flex while working at your desk or during a lunch break.
A simple chair yoga routine will get you started. The idea is to relax your mind and become aware of yourself and your surroundings. Sit in a chair in a dimly lit room. Breathe steadily and concentrate on different parts of your body. Imagine a large clock in front of you and look to the 12 o'clock position. Keep your head still, but move your eyes gradually round the face of the clock. Lift your arms, then lower them gently. Drop your chin to your chest and feel the stretch in your neck, shoulders and back.
Using your arms in chair yoga helps stretch your back and sides, according to Kristie Dahlia Home, yoga teacher on University of California Television. Breathe deeply and bring both arms up above your head. Arch your back, exhale and bring your arms back down by your sides. Repeat the movement, but leave your left arm by your side, holding the edge of the chair. Bring your right arm up over your head and continue to bend towards your left side. Don't bend too far or you could topple over. Repeat on the opposite side.
Cat tilts help you to arch your back like a cat while seated in a chair. The pose works best with a rigid, straight-back chair -- you should avoid using a soft seat you can sink into for chair yoga. Place your hands on your knees and inhale and exhale steadily. Straighten your back as if trying to extend your body upward. Inhale and arch your back, pushing your chest out and up. Hold for a few seconds. Exhale and pull your chest in, round your shoulders and arch your back forward. Tuck your belly in. You should feel a stretching sensation along your spine and shoulders.
Spinal twists help improve back flexibility. The twists also massage internal organs, aiding digestion and relieving constipation, according to ABC-of-Yoga.com. Edge forward on your seat a little. Cross your left leg over your right leg and put your right hand on your left knee. Lift your other arm and twist your body to the left side until your shoulder is pointing toward the chair back. Hold position and breathe for a few seconds. Do the same thing on the opposite side of your body.