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Wie man Yoga auf dem Stuhl macht

von NFI Redaktion

If you scroll through social media feeds filled with photos of fitness models striking poses that require extreme strength, flexibility, and balance, you might think, „Yoga is not for me.“

Nadine Kelly, MD, founder of Yogi MD, wants to change your mind.

„We tend to view yoga as a physical exertion that must be done on a mat,“ says Kelly. „But yoga practice is so much more than just the physical poses; it includes skills like breathwork, regulating your emotions, and practicing self-care.“

Chair yoga, a gentle form of yoga performed sitting or using a chair for support, makes the practice more accessible. Chair yoga allows for poses like Cat/Cow, Warrior, Sun Salutations, and Forward Bends to be done while seated.

Kelly believes that Arthur Ashe’s quote „Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can“ is perfect for chair yoga.

„It’s about showing up and challenging yourself, but it’s also about knowing what’s right for you,“ she says. „I think yoga poses can be adaptable to fit a student’s body, rather than the other way around.“

Whether it’s yoga on a chair or on a mat, the practice still focuses on the same core principles: focusing on your breath, paying attention to your thoughts, and staying in the moment.

Research shows that yoga is associated with reduced levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, improved energy, better sleep quality, reduced pain, and a lower body mass index. Matt Minard PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC, believes these benefits also extend to chair yoga.

Chair yoga is also a great and safe workout for beginners.

„It’s a great way to train the core, explore different ranges of motion in the joints, and prioritize movement,“ says Minard. „Using a chair or sitting to support balance significantly increases safety.“

Although chair yoga is often touted as an exercise for those who may struggle with practicing on a mat, anyone can benefit from this gentle form of exercise.

According to Kelly, chair yoga is particularly suitable for people who use wheelchairs, are rehabilitating after surgeries, live with chronic illnesses, or struggle with balance issues that make getting on a yoga mat difficult. It also provides an ideal quick workout during the workday or while traveling.

„It’s not about the outcome. It’s not about achieving the perfect pose,“ says Kelly. „Whether yoga is taught on a mat or on a chair, it’s always about health.“

Chair yoga is also ideal for beginners who may feel intimidated by a traditional mat practice, as it offers a safe way to learn the poses, Minard adds.

You can find chair yoga classes at community centers, fitness facilities, and yoga studios. There are also many online options. In this video, Kelly provides detailed instructions for a short chair yoga practice suitable for all levels.

To practice at home, use a stable chair (an office chair with wheels or a padded armchair is not suitable for chair yoga). Minard suggests a chair that naturally positions your hips slightly higher than your knees and allows you to place both feet flat on the ground.

„If your feet are not flat on the ground, your entire weight is on your spine, and if the chair is too low and your knees are above your hips, there’s more strain on your hips,“ says Minard. „You want to be able to perform slow, controlled movements without adding extra strain to your back or hips.“

Make sure the chair is on a stable surface like a carpet or yoga mat to prevent slipping. For added stability, you can also position the back of the chair against a wall, adds Minard.

Yoga props like blocks, straps, and resistance bands commonly used in mat yoga are not required for chair yoga—unless you desire an extra challenge.

„Chair yoga is a good starting point to engage muscles that may not have been used in a while without the risk of overloading [your muscles and joints] or falling,“ says Minard. „If resistance from your own body weight is not a sufficient challenge, you can supplement your chair yoga exercises with light hand weights, ankle weights, or resistance bands.“

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