Chair Yoga Poses

December 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Yoga Articles

Chair yoga adapts traditional yoga poses so that they can be done with a chair for support, making yoga more accessible for people who cannot stand for long periods. This sequence of chair poses can be used for home practice.

1. Chair Cat-Cow Stretch

Cat- Cow Stretch in a Chair© Barry Stone

Come to sit on a chair with the spine long and both feet planted flat on the floor.

On an inhale, arch your back and drop your shoulders. This is cow position.

On an exhale, round your spine, letting the shoulder and head come forward. This is cat position.

Continue moving between cow on the inhalations and cat on the exhalations for five breaths.

2. Chair Raised Hands Pose – Urdhva Hastasana

Raised Hands Pose in a Chair© Barry Stone

On an inhalation, raise your arms toward the ceiling.

Allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back as you reach upwards with your fingertips.

3. Chair Forward Bend – Uttanasana

Forward Bend in a Chair© Barry Stone

On an exhalation, come into a forward bend over the legs.

Let the hands rest on the floor if they reach it. Let the head hang heavy.

On an inhalation, raise the arms back up over the head.

Repeat this sequence several times, moving with the breath.

4. Chair Extended Side Angle – Utthita Parsvakonasana

Extended Side Angle in a Chair© Barry Stone

After your final forward bend, stay folded.

Bring your left fingertips to the floor on the outside of your left foot.

Open your chest as you twist to the right on an inhale, bringing your right arm and gaze up to the ceiling. Hold here for several breaths. Bring the right arm down on an exhale.

If your left hand doesn’t come easily to the floor, bring it to your left knee instead and twist from there.

For a more intense twist, bring the left fingertips to the outside of the right foot (pictured here) before twisting.

Do the same position with the right arm down and the left arm up.

5. Chair Pigeon – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Pigeon Pose in a Chair© Barry Stone

Come back up to sit.

Bring your right ankle to rest on your left thigh, keeping the knee in line with your ankle as much as possible. Hold three to five breaths.

You may forward bend to intensify the stretch if you like. Repeat with the left leg up.

6. Chair Eagle – Garudasana

Eagle Pose in a Chair© Barry Stone

Cross your right thigh over your left thigh. If you can, wrap the right foot all the way around the left calf. 

Cross your left arm over the right one at the elbow. Bend the elbows and bring your palms to touch. 

Lift the elbows while dropping the shoulders away from the ears. Hold three to five breaths.

Repeat on the other side.

7. Chair Spinal Twist – Ardha Matsyendrasana

Spinal Twist in a Chair© Barry Stone

Come to sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left.

Twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair.

Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths.

Move your legs around to the right side of the chair and repeat the twist to the right side.

8. Chair Warrior I – Virabhadrasana I

Warrior I in a Chair© Barry Stone

Now keep the right leg in position over the chair while you swing the left leg behind you.

Plant the sole of the left foot on the floor and straighten the left leg.

Keep your torso facing over the right leg as you raise your arms up to the ceiling on a inhale. Hold three breaths.

9. Chair Warrior II – Virabhadrasana II

Warrior II in a Chair© Barry Stone

On an exhale, open up the arms with the right arm coming forward and the left arm going back.

Let the torso turn to the left, becoming aligned with the front of the chair.

Gaze out over the right fingertips and hold for three breaths.

10. Chair Reverse Warrior

Reverse Warrior in a Chair© Barry Stone

Let the left arm come down the left leg and lift the right arm up to the ceiling on an inhale. Hold for three breaths.

Bring both legs to the front of the chair before coming to sit sideways on the chair facing left and going through the series of three warrior poses on the left side.

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