Yoga is not just for the preternaturally flexible among us. There is an appropriate set of yoga poses for every body type and that includes seniors, paraplegics and those of us bound to an office desk every day. Practicing chair yoga requires no props other than a chair and can be performed anytime and anywhere. Chair yoga poses are gentle and focus on relaxing the muscles of the shoulders, back, chest and neck. The poses are designed to decrease tension and increase relaxation and well-being.
Sit up tall and keep your chin level as you lengthen your neck. Slowly drop the right ear towards the right shoulder, keeping the shoulder stationary. Notice the stretch along the left side of the neck. To stretch deeper, place the right hand on top of the head and press gently to the right. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
Release accumulated tension in the shoulders by practicing shoulder rolls. While inhaling, move the shoulders forward, up towards the ears and back. On the exhale, circle the shoulders down and back to the front. Synchronize the circular movement with slow, deep breathing. After 10 to 15 circles, repeat the motion in the opposite direction.
The chest stretch counteracts the forward slump that happens as you sit at your computer. To practice a chest stretch hold on to the back of the chair with both hands. Drop the chest forward slightly, puffing out the sternum and rib cage. Curl the shoulders back behind you and breath deeply.
A seated twist massages the muscles of the upper and lower back. Sit up straight in your chair with your back away from the back rest. While inhaling, lengthen the spine. While exhaling, twist the upper body to the right. Move back to center and repeat on the other side.
Stretch the muscles of the entire side of the torso with side bending pose. Inhale and bring both arms above your head with the palms facing each other. Grab the right wrist with the left hand. Exhale and pull the right arm up and over to the left. You should feel a stretch down the right side of the waist. Come back to center and repeat on the opposite side.
Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing while seated at your chair to calm an overactive mind. Place your hands on either side of the rib cage below the chest. Breathe deeply and slowly. Feel the rib cage expand and contract as you send the breath deep into the belly. Practice deep breathing for one to five minutes.