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If you've never experienced the benefits of chair yoga for seniors, you're in for a treat! Over the past few years I have become addicted to this simple but powerful exercise. I hope my passion for chair yoga inspires you to give it a try!
Free Chair Yoga Exercises For Seniors
By the time you reach your 60th birthday, you've probably taken two million steps. If you're like most of us, you've probably also dealt with your share of injuries or illnesses. You may have had a hip replacement. Or maybe, like me, you've experienced a broken ankle (or two).
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As we reach our 60s, we instinctively know that staying fit and flexible is essential. But most of us have a low tolerance for gyms and aerobics classes.
So what is the choice? Many women I know have turned to gentle yoga, which is a great option for getting in shape after sixty. But what if you have mobility issues or are just feeling a little weak these days? Maybe it's time to consider chair yoga.
Now I know what you're thinking. "How could sitting in a chair be good exercise?" Well, based on my own experience with chair yoga, I can tell you that it is surprisingly effective. Best of all, it's such an affordable exercise that you'll be doing every day.
I have been doing chair yoga fairly consistently and have been very happy with the results. In fact, I would argue that chair yoga was one of the main motivations for me getting back into weightlifting, cardio, and group yoga classes.
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To stay consistent, I set my alarm every few hours. Instead of doing 60 minutes of yoga at the same time, I spread yoga throughout the day. For some reason, this was an easier approach for me.
As my flexibility improved and my stiffness disappeared, I began to see a whole world of movement possibilities. Now I still do yoga, but it's just one part of my routine.
The truth is that yoga can benefit anyone, regardless of age, inflexibility or even disability. There is a saying among yoga teachers: “If you can breathe, you can do any form of yoga.
For those who can't get on the floor for a traditional mat yoga class, chair yoga offers many health benefits. Here are some of the many benefits that chair yoga offers to seniors:
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Few people stop to think that relaxation is a skill. We tend to assume that we are not relaxed because the circumstances of our lives are too stressful.
Like any other skill, relaxation can be cultivated through study and practice. A good chair yoga instructor will start by teaching you yoga breathing skills that you can use not only in class, but wherever and whenever you need to decompress.
Some people assume that a loss of flexibility is inevitable with aging. This is a misunderstanding. Scalability really works on a “use it or lose it” model. You can improve your flexibility at any age. People who start practicing yoga in their 60s, 70s, 80s or even 90s find that they regain flexibility in their joints, connective tissue and muscles.
Those who continue yoga for a long time even report that they not only regain lost mobility, but often become more flexible than in their younger years.
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Most chair yoga participants report that they sleep better at night after one to three months of regular weekly sessions. Many older chair yoga students who previously experienced chronic constipation have more regular bowel movements without medication. Pain from arthritis, sciatica, chronic back pain and other conditions also tends to decrease or in some cases even disappear with yoga practice.
Let's be honest. There are hundreds of excuses we give ourselves when it comes to starting an exercise program – even something as easy and gentle as chair yoga. Maybe you, like me, have gained a little weight in the past year. Or maybe you just feel rigid and inflexible.
Maybe you have an injury. Or maybe you feel "too busy" to exercise. If anything, these are all reasons to consider chair yoga, not reasons to avoid it!
Now, the big caveat here is that everyone's body is different, so you should definitely check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. But I've never met a single person who regrets taking up gentle yoga - especially chair yoga.
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It's not just about the physical benefits. Chair yoga is also a great way to reconnect with your body and calm your mind.
To be honest, when I first started doing traditional yoga classes, I felt too stiff and inflexible to enjoy the process. I felt like I lacked the balance and flexibility to do even basic asanas (movements). So I give up. I wanted to do the poses properly, but even sitting cross-legged was a challenge.
Instead of quitting, as I may have done in the past, I decided to switch to a chair yoga class. Gentlemen! What a difference! Just having the chair to support me solved a lot of the flexibility and confidence issues I had. Now I'm ready to add gentler yoga moves to my routine.
If the idea of starting a new yoga program makes you nervous, I want to tell you that I totally understand where you're coming from. I felt the same way.
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There are tons of free chair yoga classes on YouTube that you can easily do at home. If you don't like it the first time, don't be discouraged - find another teacher and try another one.
Some senior centers also offer chair yoga, so if you want to join in with friends, check out what your local community has to offer. Or why not invite some friends over to your house and all do a chair workout together!
I began to realize that chair yoga is not just for the elderly, although older people can absolutely benefit from the extra support. Chair yoga is for everyone. In fact, since boomers spend most of their time sitting, you could argue that we need it the most.
One of the risks of modern life is sitting. Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can actually be as bad for you as smoking. One solution is to set an alarm that reminds you to get up and take a short walk every hour. Additionally, adding chair yoga to your daily routine will help keep your joints lubricated and your body flexible.
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If you're already sitting, why not add a little chair yoga to your daily routine? Your muscles, joints and tendons will thank you. And when you feel good, you'll be more productive.
Choose one that allows you to sit up straight with your shoulders above your hips, rather than one that encourages you to lean back and lean. Ideally, try to choose a chair without armrests or a chair that is wide enough to leave a few centimeters between your body and the armrests.
Feel free to use a yoga strap if you already have one. If you don't have one, you can use a long strap, for example from a bathrobe. You can even borrow your dog's leash if you want.
This is most important for smaller people. When you sit upright in a chair, you want your feet on the floor. If this is not possible, place a yoga block or thick book under your feet.
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Ideally, try to wear comfortable clothes that don't restrict your movement. Take off your shoes. It's up to you whether you exercise with bare feet or with socks.
Begin by sitting in a chair without leaning or slouching. Posture is important in yoga, not because of looks, but because a hunched position prevents deep breathing and can contract the spine. Sit with your shoulders squared over your pelvis. Place your chin parallel to the floor. Allow the top of your head to point toward the ceiling.
Most of us breathe in a hurry without realizing it. The healthiest way to breathe is to take as few slow, deep breaths per minute and use as many lungs as possible.
Our lungs are much more spacious than we realize: their surface area is equivalent to the floor of a tennis court. Breathe into the lower part of the lungs. Then continue to inhale to feel your diaphragm expand.
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Extend the inhalation further until you feel your collarbones rise. Then release your breath as slowly as you can and try to exhale from the top of your lungs and down.
If possible, try to make the inhalation and exhalation the same length. When the rhythm
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