Hunched up over your device? We all do it and it’s somehow unavoidable given that we have everything we need on our little screens. With a hunched-up back, your spine and back muscles get shortened leading to pain, less breathability, and other such issues.
Yoga is without a doubt an excellent way to improve your mental and physical health but did you know that it can even solve the issues we have because of our screen timing? Yoga can help you feel better all around, improve your flexibility, strengthen your muscles, reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen your mind-body connection and kinesthetic awareness, improve your balance and core strength, and improve your mood. Phew!
BUT, if you have ever had chronic injuries, physical impairment, or are older, you may not have the mobility, strength, or balance to roll out a yoga mat and move into and out of poses on the ground and/or standing. In such cases, physiotherapy sessions or chair yoga would be your cup of tea.
So, for people who are perfectly healthy but have unfortunate lifestyle choices, yoga is an exercise method with diversity as well as a rich and extensive library of various poses (asanas). It also comes with tons of ways to modify them to make them accessible to almost anyone.
This article here is all about chair yoga for seniors. This requires no great strength and it is not just for seniors. Anyone with a chair can do it because it is the safest way for seniors, people with mobility issues, or people who have been injured or disabled. Chair yoga lets you strengthen your muscles and connect with your body without having to stand up and balance or get up and down from the floor.
In this guide to chair yoga for seniors, we’ll talk about some of the benefits of chair yoga as a whole and show you some of the best chair yoga poses you can do in the comfort of your home.
So, How Does Chair Yoga for Seniors Work?
Chair yoga is a distinct subtype of yoga that involves holding onto a chair for support while standing or sitting in a chair. Chair yoga, developed in 1982 by Lakshmi Voelker, is now a safe therapeutic movement practice that is especially geared toward seniors or older adults despite limited mobility, lower fitness levels, visual or balance impairments, weakness, and so on.
The majority of chair yoga poses are variations of traditional ones that can be done seated or with a chair as a prop. For instance, Cat/Cow is a well-known restorative yoga pose that typically entails getting down on your hands and knees on the yoga mat and then gently alternating between spinal flexion and extension with your back horizontal. Chair yoga for seniors and people with mobility issues allows them to enjoy the benefits of this yoga asana without having to get down on all fours on the floor.
You can do chair yoga at home by following a video or self-directing your chair yoga poses, or you can do it in a group setting like a yoga studio, senior center, or rehabilitation facility.
3 Poses of Chair Yoga for Seniors
Tadasana (Chair Mountain Pose)
The mountain pose is one of yoga’s fundamental grounding poses and is frequently used as a transition or resting pose in between other poses.
- Sit on the edge of your chair, your knees bent 90 degrees, and your feet flat on the floor. Point your toes towards the ceiling.
- Keep your legs parallel to the ground and hip-width apart.
- Sit up tall and look forward with your shoulders back and chest up.
- Inhale as you lengthen your spine and engage your core by drawing your belly button into your spine.
- Exhale as you sink into your chair.
Keep inhaling and exhaling for about 10 to 20 minutes.
Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Chair Cat-Cow Stretch)
Because it lengthens and stretches the spine, this chair yoga for seniors is great for people with low back pain, stiffness, or poor posture.
- Sit on the edge of your chair, your knees bent 90 degrees, and your feet flat on the floor.
- Point your toes towards the ceiling and engage your core.
- Your hands should be resting on top of your thighs, which should be parallel and hip-width apart.
- Inhale as you move into the cow position by rolling your shoulders back and down and arching your spine.
- Exhale as you round your spine, bring your shoulders forward, and lower your chin toward your chest to transition into the cat position.
Switch between the two poses for at least 10 breaths.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Chair Pigeon Pose)
If you have tight hips and glutes, this chair yoga for seniors is your boon.
- Sit straight by engaging your core.
- Lift your right leg and flex it so that your right ankle rests on top of your left thigh.
- Extend your right knee to the side.
- Keep your right shin parallel to the front edge of your chair.
- You can do a forward bend if you hinge at the hips to deepen the pose.
Repeat the same with the opposite leg and hold for 10 seconds.
A Final Word: Benefits of Chair Yoga for Seniors
Chair yoga for seniors helps the mind and body by improving posture and
- Reducing chronic pain, impact on bones and joints, risk of falls and subsequent fractures, stress and anxiety, and old age functional decline
- Enhancing core strength and controls, muscular strength in the arms, shoulders, and legs, and mind-body connection
If you sign up for a chair yoga class, the instructor should have everything you need, including the chair. All you need are comfortable clothes, shoes, or grippy socks to avoid falling, a water bottle to keep hydrated, and a towel in case you sweat or need more cushioning.
If you are doing chair yoga at home, using the right chair will help you get the most out of your workout while also lowering your risk of injury. Use an armless, stable chair that doesn’t rock, wheel, or spin.
Make sure your exercise area is level and flat so that the chair is completely level and flush with the ground. The chair should be set up in a location where you can move around it and extend your limbs in any direction without hitting anything.
- What type of yoga is best for seniors?
Because of their slower pace, hatha yoga, restorative yoga, and chair yoga typically suit older adults better.
- How often should seniors do chair exercises?
Physical activity and exercise are good for everyone, even the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control mentions 150 minutes of exercise per week for seniors.
- Should seniors do yoga every day?
Seniors can benefit from being encouraged to begin a daily or twice-weekly yoga practice by family and professional caregivers alike. Yoga has many mental and physical advantages that help the ageing process go more smoothly.
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