Chair Yoga is a type of Yoga as Therapy developed by Lakshmi Voelker-Binder in 1982. It was created as a way to adapt Yoga postures and exercises, making them accessible to individuals who could not practice traditional methods of Yoga or other physical exercises, due to age or any kind of limiting physical condition.
The practice is done mostly sitting on a chair, but there are also postures done by standing, lying, or sitting on the floor and using a chair for support. Other modalities such as Iyengar Yoga, known for the use of props, have already been using chairs as a way to help students into Asanas for some time; the difference is that in such modalities a chair is just one of many props used and in Chair Yoga the practice is centered entirely around the use of the chair.
The ultimate goal of Chair Yoga is to improve the practitioners’ health and wellness, being a modality suitable to people from all ages, physical conditions and experience levels.
A Chair Yoga Class usually includes many Yoga postures (Asanas), breathing techniques (Pranayama), meditation, and also some relaxation techniques, all done with the support of a chair. It’s useful and practical for those with limited space or time to practice, as it can be done literally in any place where there’s a chair available, including the office or even in long flights.
Considered a modified version of Hatha Yoga, Chair Yoga’s health benefits are thought to be many:
- Increased strength, flexibility and balance;
- Improved body awareness;
- Reduced stress and anxiety;
- Reduced pain and stiffness;
- Improved pain management skills;
- Better sleep;
- Improved vitality and overall mobility and wellbeing.