Introduced as an easier version of Hatha Yoga, chair yoga for seniors beginners helps the elderly stay fit while comfortably practising the different yoga poses. It helps them maintain body movement and increase blood circulation. The aged can improve flexibility and handle cramps. Chair Yoga is perfectly suited for those suffering from medical issues as chronic pain, osteoporosis, and multiple sclerosis.
If you have a particular joint not opening up to the full range of motion then it limits the number of activities you can do. There are different stages of ageing and yoga helps slow down the process. Chair yoga provides you with an opportunity to maintain body balance in old age.
You might wonder how sitting in a chair and performing yoga would result in improved body movement and flexibility. Read on to understand why practising chair yoga for seniors beginners is a good idea.
Chair Yoga for Seniors Beginners – The Reasons
Chair Yoga helps maintain flexibility and muscle strength in the long run. However, if you feel a bit sceptical about including chair yoga for seniors poses in your daily routine then read on below.
1. Helps Maintain Balance
A major health issue you might suffer from old age is the loss of body balance. It occurs as a result of loss of muscle mass and bone density. Practising different chair yoga poses corrects this issue and improve the body’s overall stability.
2. Yoga Chair Gives You Confidence
Any physical activity in daily life seems a bit hard especially after you reach the age of 50. Chair yoga provides you with an instant confidence boost. Regular practice gives you the confidence to take part in other activities.
3. Best for the Joints and Limbs
With age, the two body parts that suffer the most damage are limbs and joints. You should know that chair yoga for seniors beginners is the best exercise for keeping the limbs and joints free of age-related damage. Chair yoga is a natural way of dealing with chronic pain and other issues including osteoporosis, lower back pain, and sciatica.
4. A Chair is All You Need
What makes including chair yoga into your daily routine is no need for any extra equipment or costly gym memberships. Chair Yoga is perfect for senior members as you can practice this even from the comfort of your home.
5. Practice at Own Pace
The yoga for seniors chair is all about starting slow and increasing the intensity of the workout over a period of time. A major reason why it is easy to practice chair yoga is it offers different levels of difficulty of practice.
Ageing brings with it a host of medical issues that affect a vast majority of those above the age of 50. Let us find out the different medical issues that chair yoga can help you to avoid during the later years of your life.
Chair Yoga for Seniors Beginners – Medical Issues Chair Yoga Handles
You should know that apart from helping you retain flexibility in later years, the chair yoga for senior poses also helps you deal with a multitude of medical issues that come with ageing. Let us now understand the different issues and how this form of yoga helps deal with them.
A sedentary lifestyle in old age causes not just physical but psychological problems as well. Without any activity, your body starts producing an excess of the stress-inducing hormone Cortisol.
The Chair Yoga poses to keep the body in continuous motion and reduces the production of Cortisol. Your body starts producing the feel-good hormones Endorphins to balance the brain activity.
2. Heart Problems
Chair Yoga is amongst the best relaxation exercises for seniors when it comes to taking care of many heart-related issues like high blood pressure and high levels of LDL cholesterol. The practice of chair yoga for only three months brings blood pressure and cholesterol levels back to normal.
3. Multiple Sclerosis
Yoga is a highly beneficial exercise regimen for people with Multiple Sclerosis. It helps improve body balance, and walking ability. You develop better cognitive functioning and minimize fatigue.
The yoga for seniors ability to fight blood sugar levels makes it an effective remedy against diabetes. Daily practice of chair yoga for 40 minutes has a positive impact on those with high blood sugar levels.
You already know that majority of our problems arise from within. Stress is a major reason behind many chronic health conditions and mental disorders. It is shocking how a single hormone can wreak so much havoc on the body and mind.
However, you can reduce Cortisol levels and free the body of daily stress with chair yoga. It provides the perfect outlet for relieving stress and helps the mind release the pleasure hormone Endorphins.
6. Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a debilitating pain affecting millions of aged people around the world. It interferes with their ability to move normally and resort to painkiller medications. The chair yoga for senior beginners offers you a non-medicinal way to treat chronic pain.
Now, before moving on to the different yoga for seniors poses let us first understand how exactly chair yoga help you keep the body functional during old age.
Chair Yoga for Senior Beginners – The Benefits
Although the very mention of Yoga makes you imagine people with extremely flexible bodies but when it comes to senior citizens; the picture becomes a bit different. You don’t need to be an expert at performing mind-bending asanas during the yoga practice.
Beginner yoga for seniors helps you enhance mobility and deal with body stiffness without too much hassle. Understand that with ageing you might not be able to pull off that heavy bench-press or pick up the dumbells. Hence, chair yoga is a good option to stay fit.
Let us now understand how exactly does chair yoga help you stay fit during old age.
1. Improved Strength
The muscles utilized to perform the chair yoga asana help you develop strength in the long run. A better strength leads to more control over the body. It minimizes the risk of falls and improves your body’s capacity to deal with injury.
2. Reduced Stress
Whether it be traditional or chair yoga for senior poses, you should know that mindfulness is an internal part of every yogic practice. Yoga helps you focus on breathing and body movement thereby minimizing unnecessary stress and improving mental clarity. You find relief from issues as anxiety and depression.
3. Better Pain Management
Regular practice of chair yoga helps the body release feel-good hormones and help you with better pain management. For example, all exercises in chair yoga require that you use the right breathing and meditation techniques.
4. Increased Flexibility
Your body should have the necessary ability to twist, stretch, and move freely apart from practising yoga. The yoga for seniors sequence allows you to take part in activities you find interesting with improved flexibility.
5. Improved Proprioception
Chair yoga includes a gentle transition of the body from one pose to another. It improves your Proprioception, that is the body’s ability to sense where it is in space. With an improved ability to sense you decrease the risk of falls while walking.
6. Reduced Pain
A major advantage to practising chair yoga for seniors beginners is reduced body pain. Yoga helps release the feel-good hormones, Endorphins. The various chair yoga poses help you enjoy normal activities without any discomfort.
7. Improved Sleep
Maintaining a regular practice of yoga is linked to better sleep. Chair yoga is no exception when it comes to helping you enjoy a deep slumber after a tiring day. The exertion during each chair yoga pose helps prepare the body for rest.
Chair Yoga poses do not require much equipment or space. You can practice this form of yoga even in the workplace.
Chair Yoga for Seniors Beginners at Workplace
The vast majority of us spend time sitting in front of a computer screen in the office. Your body fills with stress and fatigue and the only time for rest is during lunch or washroom breaks. Practising chair yoga with proper spinal movements and a complete focus on breathing helps keep the mind and body alert.
There are many chair yoga for seniors beginners poses that help you find relief from fatigue and chronic pain, both of which come as you enter old age. Before moving ahead let’s see how chair yoga helps professionals stay fit while working at the office.
Chair Yoga for Senior Beginners – The Poses
It does not matter how much time you spend practising different chair yoga poses. Chair Yoga still does wonders when it comes to handling all the stress and anxiety of daily life. The good news is you need not rely on any health club memberships to start the practice.
Chair yoga has specific poses to help you age gracefully by avoiding many health problems that follow ageing. Let us find out about these poses in detail.
1. Seated Mountain Pose
Guidelines for Performing Tadasana
1) Take in a deep breath and sit straight on a chair. Make sure you extend the spine.
2) During the exhale, root down into the chair with the tailbone.
3) Keep both legs at a 90-degree angle and knees directly over the ankles. You should have some space between the knees.
4) Now, take a deep breath and exhale. Roll the shoulders down the back and pull the belly button towards the spine.
5) Relax both arms on the sides.
6) Lastly, engage both legs by lifting the toes and pressing into all four corners of the feet.
2. Seated Forward Bend
Guidelines for Performing Seated Forward Bend
1) Start in the Seated Mountain pose and inhale.
2) Focus on extending the spine and fold over both legs. You should start by resting both hands on thighs and sliding them down the legs which you fold for extra support.
3) Take at least 5 or more breaths in this pose. It provides a soothing massage to the intestine and helps with digestion. You also get support in lengthening the spine and stretch the back muscles.
4) Lastly, inhale while lifting the torso back to the upright position.
3. Reverse Arm Hold
Guidelines for Performing Reverse Arm Hold
The Reverse Arm Hold is the best chair yoga for seniors beginners for stretching the shoulders and opening up the chest. It improves your overall posture, stress, and breathing.
1) While inhaling, stretch both arms out to the sides with palms facing downwards.
2) As you exhale, roll both shoulders in the forward direction. It brings both palms behind you. Bend the elbows and let both hands swing behind your back.
3) Clasp both hands in any way you like and pull them away from each other.
4) If you gripped the wrist or elbow, make sure you know which side it is on.
5) Take 5 slow breaths with arms clasped. Then reclasp wrist and elbow with 5 breaths.
4. Single Leg Stretch
Guidelines for Performing Single Leg Stretch
1) While sitting up tall on the chair, stretch the right leg out while resting your heel on the floor. Make sure to keep the toes pointing upwards and closer to the edge of the seat.
2) Rest both hands on the outstretched leg and raise the spine while inhaling. Make sure you bend over the right leg when exhaling. Slide both hands down the leg as you go.
3) Stretch as far as you can but do not strain or force it. Try grasping the back of your calf or ankle if you are able to.
4) Inhale and exhale at least 5 times in the same position. Release the pose by inhaling to rise.
5) Lastly, make sure you repeat the pose with the left leg stretched. You should realign the right leg knee over the ankle before you bend over.
5. Eagle Arms
Eagle Arms is one of the best yoga for seniors beginners pose you can include in the routine exercise regimen. It helps you relax both shoulders and upper back, and flex the shoulder joints.
Guidelines for Performing Eagle Arms Pose
1) Take a deep breath and as you inhale, stretch both the arms outwards to the sides.
2) Exhale and bring both arms in front of you. Swing the right arm under the left arm and grabbing both shoulders with the opposite hands.
3) If you have more flexibility in the shoulders then release the grip and continue with forearms wrapped around each other till the right fingers are resting in the left palm.
4) Inhale and lift both elbows a few inches higher. Exhale and roll both shoulders down while relaxing them away from both ears.
5) Take some deep breaths and lift the elbow and roll shoulders.
However, there are four major keys you need to remember when creating a chair yoga practice session. Let us understand what each of these keys is.
1. The Sitting Aspect of Chair Yoga
A common misconception in the world of yoga is that seated poses are easy to perform whereas the reality is much different. If you are moving only arms during a seated pose then it is comfortable. But if you start working on the spine then each pose becomes a challenge.
Your pelvis remains in a fixed position during a seated chair pose and is the base for all support for the entire body including the spine. While moving the spine forward and backwards, sideways or twist; the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis undergo stress.
Always remember that with yoga for seniors sequence you need to move from simpler to more difficult poses during the practice. You do not want to bend and twist the spine beyond what is safe and comfortable. It is a major reason why it’s important to move in and out of the position for some time.
2. Combining Sitting Poses with Standing Poses
From a structural standpoint, you should be able to carry your own body weight in daily life. The standing yoga poses make it easier for you to develop overall body strength and integration between different body parts. Combining standing poses with body movements help you feel more energetic and vibrant throughout the day.
3. Moving From the Spine Out to the Periphery
The chair yoga practice includes working on the periphery including arms, wrists, knees, and eyes but these do not cover the full spinal movement. It is plain wrong as practising the various poses becomes easier with small spinal movements.
A logical sequence of the chair yoga practice includes starting with deep breathing and letting it move towards the spine in subtle ways. You should know that spine is the energy centre of the human body so it is the best place to start.
4. Moving from the Ground and then Back Up
Your body’s ability to get down to the ground and back up indicates the level of balance, coordination, muscular strength, and flexibility. It would benefit you to include some floor poses as Shavasana with a chair. Get back up again for Pranayama and Meditation.
Also, Read – A Guide to Chakra Yoga Poses for Beginners
Unfortunately, similar to other yoga styles, there are some misconceptions regarding the practice of chair yoga.
Let us check out what these are.
Misconception 1 – Chair Yoga is for Old People
Chair yoga is for anyone with a chair or couch. The postures you practice in this yoga style are designed keeping in mind the individuals with limited mobility. However, chair yoga can also include advanced yoga asanas like Headstand and Crow pose.
In these, you can use the chair as a yoga prop. In short, chair yoga is about doing meditation and mudras in a chair.
Misconception 2 – Chair Yoga is Easy
Yes! But, every yoga style is as easy as you make it. In advanced level yoga asanas, the chair becomes a prop for maintaining balance in yoga inversions. For example, you can place both hands on the ground to set up for the Crow pose. In the process, you can give both legs a little support by putting your toes on the seat of the chair.
Misconception 3 – Any Chair Will Do
Almost any chair will work for chair yoga. The best chair for chair yoga is the one with a solid back and width for your buttocks and legs to be comfortable. Make sure the chair is high enough to help both feet be flat on the floor and legs are at a 90-degree angle.
Yoga experts recommend that you avoid chairs with wheels so you do not slip and hurt yourself when practising any chair yoga asana. Do not choose an ergonomic chair as these come with a flexible back which is not stable for yoga practice.
Let us check out some of the amazing FAQs regarding the chair yoga style.
Chair Yoga FAQs
How Do I Start Chair Yoga Practice as a Beginner?
Firstly, wear comfortable clothes and shoes which will help you move and stretch without any issues. Also, ensure you sign up with a certified and experienced chair yoga teacher to practice all the asanas under the guidance of an expert. Rest assured, you will be able to do chair yoga without any hassle.
What If I Suffer from Injuries or Limitations?
If you have any physical injuries or limitations, kindly discuss them with the chair yoga instructor before joining the class. They would offer you proper guidance on how you can practice yoga by accommodating these limitations. You can also ask the yoga instructor for modifications or alternatives to yoga poses that are hard for you to practice.
Is Chair Yoga Good for Developing Balance?
Yes! Chair yoga is the best style that helps improve your overall balance and flexibility. It also reduces your chances of accidental falls and helps you perform everyday tasks with ease.
Does Chair Yoga Offer the Same Benefits as Regular Yoga?
Yes! Absolutely! Chair yoga offers you all the benefits of regular yoga. Some of the benefits of this yoga style include toned muscles, reduced stress, deep breathing habits, and improved sleep among others.
Old age brings with it a host of physical health issues that interfere with smooth body movement. The regular practice of chair yoga for senior beginners helps you maintain flexibility by keeping the major joints intact in the long run.