Yoga can not only improve physical health, but also mental health too. It also improves flexibility and posture. You can check out our previous blog post on the benefits of yoga here.
However, it can be a long way down to the floor with a yoga mat for the elderly or people with mobility issues. Thanks to chair yoga, elderly folk or those who are less mobile, can still benefit from the exercises safely.
Chair yoga is great for working the core and posture. It can also help with balance issues.
Focusing on the breath is also great for mindfulness. As we age our brain’s two hemispheres are used more equally. This means older people can bring a better overall awareness to yoga and utilise the mind-body connection more effectively.
Here’s some simple chair yoga moves to try – we would suggest practicing these when there is a carer or friend/family member with you and only do what feels comfortable for you and your body. Please check with a GP before undertaking any exercise.
Ensure you have a sturdy chair before trying these out.
Sit with your legs at 90-degrees with your knees directly over your ankles. Roll your shoulders back and down and relax arms at your sides. Lift your toes and press firmly into all four corners of your feet. Breathe in and out slowly and deeply.
Seated Warrior 1
Start with your Seated Mountain pose. Take a deep breath and lift your arms out to the side, then above your head. Interlace the fingers. Keep your index finger and thumb out so they’re pointing towards the ceiling.
Take at least five deep breaths before releasing your arms back down to your sides.
Seated Single Leg Stretch
Sit up tall and stretch out your right leg with your heel resting on the floor and toes pointing up. Rest both hands on your leg, breathe in and as you breathe out, begin to bend over your leg, sliding your hands down your leg.
Do not strain or force yourself into the bend. Inhale and exhale five times before repeating with your left leg.
This pose is usually done at the end of your routine. Simply sit and relax and focus on breathing slowly and deeply for as long as you feel like.
For more poses, watch this 30 minute routine of gentle chair yoga by YogaJP here.