by Pat Richter, MPA

Young beautiful fitness girl exercising with chair in gym

If you’ve given up on yoga, take heart! A gentle new yoga that just about anyone can do, regardless of age, injuries or disabilities, is becoming increasingly popular. It is called chair yoga.

With chair yoga students experience all the benefits of yoga without worrying about getting up and down from a floor mat. Imagine building strength, flexibility, and balance from the safety and security of a chair! Students can stay seated for the entire class, or stand and use the chair for support in performing yoga poses without overly stressing the body. Sometimes instructors add foam or wood blocks, adjustable straps, blankets, and small weights, and chair backs and arms can be used to approximate full yoga postures. Sometimes two chairs are used for extra fun and stretching.

A typical chair yoga class includes calming the mind (centering), breathing exercises, active poses, and relaxation or guided meditation. Even if you’re an experienced yoga practitioner, chair yoga can be helpful when recovering from an injury or surgery. For those working at a desk all day, 15 minutes of chair yoga helps restore alertness and stretch cramped muscles.

Chair yoga is best experienced when taught by an instructor certified in chair yoga. Here in Buffalo, chair yoga classes are available at Buffalo Spine and Sports Medicine, Yoga for Life, and Amherst Center for Senior Services. Always check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

About the Author:
Pat Richter is a freelance writer and avid yoga practitioner.