This week I started to experiment in one class with chair yoga, then even more in another class, and so next week I declare to be Chair Yoga week. You can get a surprisingly good workout EVEN IN A CHAIR doing yoga. It affords you the opportunity to take balance issues out of the equation (for the most part) and focus on alignment, creating space, engaging the abdomen, and breathing above and beyond all. For those that have injuries, physical limitations, arthritis, are pregnant or just want to try something different, having the chair nearby brings the floor closer to you (or you closer to the floor, however you perceive it) and may offer a little more security, as well as a multitude of modification options.
We worked Warrior 1, 2 and 3 using the chair (virabhadrasana series). We did spinal flexion and extension (uttanasana, anuvatasana), forward, back and side. We used the chair to make reaching the floor not even a concern in Triangle Pose (trikonasa) and Half Moon (ardha chandrasana), and we used the chair to support us getting into and out of wide legged forward bend (prasarita padottansana). We were able to focus on hip alignment, spinal alignment, and hold poses for MUCH longer using our little friends, our foldable chairs. We even did a variation of boat pose (navasana) in our chair, just for grins.
I think the best part was our savasana with our legs supported on the seat of the chair, with eye pillows in our hip creases to help release our femurs into the hip sockets. For those with shorter legs we lined up soft bricks (but multiple blankets or bolsters would do the trick as well).
I encourage you to experiment with chair assisted poses at work, at home, or even in (esp.) in class for a different type of challenge. Here are some links to explore:
We'll be dabbling in this genre more this week, so please join me Tuesday Evening at 7:30, or Thursday morning at 9:30 at 6660 cowles mountain road, san diego.
Remember, it's your day....so make it YOUR yoga (BYOC!!!)