Got a chair? Here are 5 yoga poses to try

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Chair yoga packs the benefits of traditional yoga with the convenience of doing it in a chair. Try these 5 poses daily to beat the stress of long working hours

Yoga, from being one of India’s oldest legacy has transcended time and cultural boundaries to become a global phenomenon. Renowned for promoting physical and mental well-being, yoga has evolved to cater to diverse lifestyles across the world. In the modern context, one such adaptation that has gained popularity is ‘chair yoga’, which can succinctly be described as ‘a harmonious blend of tradition and contemporary convenience’. This iteration allows practitioners to reap the rewards of traditional yoga in a seated position. 

Also read: Why a strong core is more important than six pack abs

The seated nature of the practice ensures that individuals with mobility challenges can continue to enjoy the benefits of yoga.  And given its gentler approach, it is no wonder that it has become an ideal exercise alternative for seniors. In the corporate world where long hours of desk-bound work prevail, chair yoga is seen as a convenient solution as it allows professionals to integrate wellness into their work routines, combat stress and promotes mental clarity.

I will now share a few popular poses that can be practiced for a few minutes everyday – start by holding these poses for 30 seconds and increase the duration with practice. The only prop required is a chair that will allow you to move easily. 

Chair Yoga Poses and their Benefits

1.Seated Mountain Pose: This pose involves sitting tall with a straight spine and engaged core muscles, mimicking the strength and stability of a mountain. It may not be a dynamic pose but it pushes you to be still. 
Benefits: By promoting proper posture, it strengthens the muscles along the spine and in the core, improving overall posture and stability. This can help alleviate back pain and reduce the risk of injury by supporting the natural curvature of the spine.

2.Chair Cat-Cow Stretch: In this stretch, you perform the traditional cat-cow movement of alternately arching and rounding the spine from a seated position on a chair. 
Benefits: It enhances spinal flexibility and mobility, particularly in the lumbar and thoracic regions. This can alleviate stiffness and discomfort in the back, promoting better posture and spinal health. Additionally, the rhythmic movement can stimulate the flow of energy throughout the body, leaving you feeling revitalized. 

3. Seated Forward Bend: This pose involves sitting with legs extended and folding forward from the hips, reaching towards the feet or the floor. 
Benefits: This pose stretches the muscles along the spine and the backs of the legs (hamstrings), promoting flexibility and reducing tension. By releasing tightness in the spine and hamstrings, it can help alleviate lower back pain and improve overall relaxation. This pose also encourages deep breathing, which can further enhance relaxation and reduce stress.

4. Chair Pigeon Pose: In this variation of the pigeon pose, you perform the hip-opening stretch while seated on a chair, crossing one ankle over the opposite knee and gently leaning forward.
Benefits: This pose targets the hip flexors and external rotators, releasing tension and tightness in the hips that may result from prolonged sitting. By opening up the hips, it can alleviate discomfort and improve mobility, making it easier to move and sit comfortably. 

5. Seated Twist: This pose involves twisting the torso while seated, either with the aid of a chair or simply on the floor, to one side and then the other.
Benefits: It stimulates the digestive organs, promoting healthy digestion and relieving bloating or discomfort. The twisting motion also helps improve spinal mobility, particularly in the thoracic region, which can reduce stiffness and improve overall flexibility. Additionally, twists stimulate detoxification by wringing out toxins from the organs and tissues, promoting a sense of cleansing and rejuvenation.

Vikram Chaturvedi is the CEO of The Office Yoga initiative, Bengaluru. 

Also read: Why you shouldn’t rely excessively on discipline to get fit


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