33 msfocusmagazine.org Chair yoga is simply yoga done in a chair or wheelchair, seated or standing, using the chair as a prop for support and stability. The main difference between yoga and chair yoga is that while the traditional yoga postures are done sitting on the floor, lying down, or standing, here we are using the chair or wheelchair as support. Being creative makes yoga accessible for all. There are various techniques and practices for specific results. One does not need to search far and wide to practice, for it is all within, starting with one slow, deep breath. If you want to try it, just inhale slowly, exhale slowly, and repeat. Congratulations! You just did yoga. Yoga can be as simple being aware of the breath, or slowing the breath down with awareness. I’ve seen great shifts in posture and energy from my students practicing weekly. I’ve been teaching chair yoga at assisted living facilities, support groups, hospitals, libraries, and companies for many years. I know firsthand that it can ease pain and give the same benefits that any other yoga practice offers. Try a gentle chair yoga warm up and posture from SunLight Chair Yoga: Yoga for Everyone! Do not do any movements or postures that create pain or discomfort. Stop and rest as needed. Joint Warm Ups: Wrist Rotation 1. Rotate your hands around your wrists three to six times. 2. Make circles in the air with your fingers. 3. Make circles with closed fists or open hands. 4. Reverse directions and repeat. Benefits: Improves the range of motion in the wrist joints. Increases the ability to adapt to changes when getting up from chairs, out of bed, etc. Eases wrist strain from computer use. Point and Flex Foot Movements 1. Lift both feet a few inches off the ground. 2. Slowly point your toes towards the floor, then gently pull your toes back towards you. 3. Repeat five to eight times. Benefits: Improves the range of motion in the ankles. This can be done at your desk, on airplanes, on the couch, or in a wheelchair. Seated Cobra Variation 1. Sitting in a chair, place your hands on your hips or lower back. 2. As you lift the heart area, gently move the elbows towards each other. 3. If able, interlock the fingers behind you as you lift the heart area and gently stretch the hands towards the earth. 4. Take three to five slow, deep breaths. Release and relax. Benefits: Releases general tension in the upper back and improves posture. This pose counteracts the slouching position from sitting for long periods in a chair, in a wheelchair or at your desk and can increase general feelings of vitality and joy. For a more dynamic flow of poses to try a chair yoga sun salute, or seated spinal twist. To learn these go to the videos page on www.sunlightchairyoga.com. Enjoy your practice and remember that yoga is for everyone!