Exploring Chair Yoga for Seniors
Does chair yoga for seniors seem too good to be true? In this case, there’s proof to reassure you. Scientific studies in both The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and the International Journal of Yoga offer evidence. Research shows that regular chair yoga can help older adults maintain and build strength. In addition, it may help improve mobility and reduce fears of falling. When you consider how dangerous falls are for seniors, that’s a massive benefit. Of course, doing yoga also comes with some other widely accepted benefits. These include less stress, more self-awareness of where your body is as you move through space, reduced pain, and better sleep.
Could chair yoga be a good fit for you? It’s always important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new fitness routine. However, if you’re curious, it may help to explore some popular chair yoga exercises.
While it may seem like you’re not doing much, this pose offers a great opportunity to build awareness and connect with your body. To do it, sit tall in your chair with your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Think about your posture. Check that your sitting bones are contacting evenly with the chair. Stack your body so that your shoulders are over your hips. Then, place your ears over your shoulders. Now, tighten your abs slightly and open your chest by allowing your shoulders to roll back and down. Finally, let your hands rest gently on your thighs. This is mountain pose. Concentrate on the way the breath moves in and out of your body. Sit through several breathing cycles until you’re ready to move on to the next exercise.
Chair Cat and Cow
Begin by sitting up with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Start with the cow pose. On an inhale, arch your back. Allow your shoulder blades to drop down your back. Shift to cat as you exhale. Let your head and shoulders move forward. Round your back as you let your chin drop towards your chest. Continue to move between cow and cat in time with your breathing for several cycles.
Chair Shoulder Circles
Start in mountain pose. Then, bring the fingertips of your right hand to your right shoulder. Bring the fingertips of your left hand to your left shoulder. Allow your elbows to move straight out so that they are level with your shoulders. Inhale as you begin to circle your arms forward. After completing three circles, reverse directions.
Chair Raised Hands
Begin in mountain pose. As you inhale, raise your arms to the ceiling. As you exhale, lower them. Try to keep your arms straight but relaxed. Repeat the movement several times, keeping pace with your breathing.
Chair Side Stretch
Return to mountain pose. On an inhale, lift your arms over your head. If you wish, interlace your fingers. On an exhale, lean gently to one side. Hold as desired. On an inhale, return to center. On an exhale, lean to the other side. Hold as desired. On an inhale, return to center. Complete the desired number of repetitions before moving to your next exercise.
Chair Side Stretch II
Begin in mountain pose. On an inhale, spread your arms out to either side. As you exhale, gently twist to one side. Hold. Do not go farther into the twist than you comfortably can. On an inhale, return to center. Repeat the motion to the other side.
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