Last week I wrote (albeit, briefly!) about my experiences at The Canadian Association on Gerontology annual meeting (check it out HERE!). What I didn’t talk about was the interesting ‘Chair Yoga’ session put on by Annette Wertman of Ageless Yoga.
Annette is in the data analysis phase of her MA (at Simon Fraser University) examining “Yoga and the Older Adult: An exploration into pathways, barriers and experiences“. Her workshop focused on tips for offering chair yoga classes and the benefits she sees from her own teaching experiences. It was refreshing and inspiring to end the conference weekend with some yoga TLC – Annette, it was just what I needed! It’s great to bridge the gap between the research and yoga communities!
Chair yoga is the adaptation of yoga poses that use the chair (either seated or standing) for support. It can offer modifications for people who have difficulty getting up off the ground, poor leg strength or balance. It’s also easier on the bones and joints (especially knees). Annette offers this class to older adults, but chair yoga is also a great option for those who work in offices and schools to do during breaks throughout the workday!
Here are 3 of my favourite chair poses. It takes 5mins, so try them when you first wake up, during your lunch break or to help you get through that late afternoon slump!
1. seated twist (for SPINE). sit up tall and feel your sits bones on your chair. engage your core. place one palm on seat of your chair and the other on the arm or side. enhale and twist from your navel, waist, ribs, chest, shoulders, and neck. keep chin near your shoulder. to release, exhale and reverse twist.
2. warrior II (for HIPS). sit with your right leg resting across the chair, foot flat on the floor. reach back with your left leg, placing your left foot on the floor pointing out at a 45degree angle. you should feel a stretch through your left hip and feel supported by the chair on your right. hips should be square (as your hip flexibility allows), spine long, and shoulders away from your eyes. reach arms out in either direction.
3. legs up on chair (for RELAXATION!). lay on your back (on the floor) and place a bolster under your hips. rest your calves on the seat of the chair. take 5 mins to breath and feel the relaxing effects of the inversion. My Fave!
NOTE: if you live in the Vancouver area, Annette will be running a chair yoga workshop at the Vancouver Yoga Conference, so check her out!