Chair Yoga For Mental Health: What Is It, Benefits, And More

Last Update on July 10, 2024 : Published on July 11, 2024

One of the simplest yet effective forms of exercise can be yoga. The best part about yoga is that it can be practiced anywhere and anytime. Yoga provides various physical and mental health benefits. In today’s blog, we will talk about the simplest form of yoga, chair yoga. Chair yoga is one of the best ways to reconnect with our bodies and mind.

Chair yoga can be practiced anywhere or anytime, be it your office desk, tough days when you don’t feel motivated to move your body, or times when you’re surrounded by negative thoughts. Chair yoga is for everyone, senior citizens, handicapped, children, pregnant females, and men.

Let’s begin with the basics first!

What is Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga is one of the simplest forms of yoga which can be practiced while sitting on a chair. It is a powerful form of yoga, which provides various benefits with comfort. Chair yoga is a modified version of yoga developed for people working for longer hours in the office, people with mobility issues, senior citizens, pregnant females, children, and men.

This form of yoga usually involves deep breathing exercises which activates the body’s relaxation response effectively and easily. In short, chair yoga helps in providing a quick relaxation response which helps in removing tension or stress and establishes a state of relaxation.

Chair yoga helps stimulate good hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins, and others which leads to a state of calm and peace. Research shows that gentle stretching, mindful breathing, and movements practiced during chair yoga sessions help in strengthening mind and body connection and also help in managing common mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and more.

Benefits of Chair Yoga

A lot of people on the internet asked, “Is chair yoga as beneficial as regular yoga for stress relief?” Yes, according to psychologists and regular practitioners, chair yoga can be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety levels. Chair yoga usually involves breath work, flexible movements, and mindfulness which releases good hormones and reduces bad hormones. Research shows that there are various physical and mental health benefits of chair yoga such as:

Mental Health Benefits

  • Builds self-efficacy
  • Creates a sense of self
  • Distances from negative thoughts
  • Encourages mindfulness and self-awareness
  • Establishes a sense of calm and relaxation
  • Fosters compassion and gratitude
  • Helps achieve goals and combat challenges
  • Helps to find purpose or meaning
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Improves social connections
  • Reduces stress and anxiety levels
  • Removes worries or fears
  • Removes frustration and discomfort

Physical Health Benefits

  • Allows exercising and posing for physically handicapped people
  • Improves body and breath sensations
  • Improves body balance
  • Improves blood flow to the muscles
  • Improves physical mobility
  • Improves flexibility
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Reduces muscle tension

How Chair Yoga Works?

In chair yoga, a chair is used as a prop and it is a modified version of traditional yoga practices. Like other forms of yoga, breath work, flexible movements, and mindfulness are involved which means the benefits are equally same, but the concept is different. Chair yoga can be best for people with balance issues, limited mobility, or other physical limitations.

In such cases, it provides a sense of accomplishment, stress reduction, and empowerment. This form of yoga effectively targets tensed body parts and provides a sense of calm.

How to Practice Chair Yoga?

Here’s a quick guide to practice chair yoga:

1. Create a comfortable space

If you’re working at your desk right now or at home, find a comfortable space wherein you can avoid distractions and ensure that you can establish concentration (Dhyana) for a while. Herein, you can use a simple chair (preferably a chair without wheels) to avoid physical injuries.

2. Warm-up

If you’re at home, try to dress comfortably, loose-fitting clothing can be helpful. If you’re working from the office, allow yourself to move freely, in such cases, you can go for yoga poses such as dhyana, seated mountain pose, and others. In short, opt for poses that don’t require more body movements. Now, begin your practice with a gentle warm-up. The idea behind this step is to provide a sense of connection to your mind and body. You can also start with shoulder movements, wrist circles, and neck rolls. This will help increase the blood flow to the muscles.

3. Select your poses wisely

Learning about your body and knowing about the right pose is an important task while practicing chair yoga. Additionally, know your concerns, if you’re feeling stressed lately, choose poses that release stress from body muscles and provide a sense of calmness within. Normally, aim for poses that include twists, shoulder movements, and spine and hip restoration for finding balance and flexibility.

4. Focus on breath work

Throughout the session, focus on breathwork mindfully. Avoid being distracted by focusing on slow and deep breaths. This will help in activating the relaxation response. Additionally, try to sync your breath work with movements to welcome additional benefits.

5. Practice mindfulness along

Along with breath work, focus on establishing mindfulness. Hold each for 5-10 breaths, this will help in building self-awareness. Additionally, try to deepen the stretch to enhance the sense of accomplishment within.

6. Understand your needs and modify

There are some poses that are difficult to try especially for people with less physical mobility. Therefore, understand your needs and opt for poses that accomplish your physical and mental health needs.

7. Allow yourself to relax

Always conclude your chair yoga sessions with meditation. This helps in providing a sense of relaxation. Herein, you can simply focus on deep and slow breathing and comfortable seating. Additionally, you can also combine your sessions with mindfulness meditation exercises for relieving stress and anxiety.

8. Be consistent and move gradually

One of the best tips to welcome the benefits of chair yoga is to be consistent. You can gradually increase the time length but mainly focus on establishing mindfulness, managing stress, improving flexibility, and enhancing strength. Understand your needs and preferences and try different chair yoga poses and sequences. Keep experimenting to avoid distractions and monotony.

Quick Chair Yoga Poses for Improving Mental Health

1. Chair Eagle Arms

Best for: Corporate yoga, desk yoga, senior citizens

Recommended Time: 1 Minute Each Side for 10 Minutes

Quick Notes:

  • Releases muscle tension
  • Improves flexibility
  • Provides a sense of calm, motivation, and accomplishment

2. Seated Pigeon Pose

Best for: Mobility issues, flexibility, and senior citizens

Recommended Time: 2 Minutes Each Side for 20 Minutes

Quick Notes:

  • Improves hip posture
  • Releases muscle tension
  • Reduces stress stored in the lower body

3. Seated Cat-Cow Stretch

Best for: Official Purposes, Senior Citizens, and Less physical mobility

Recommended Time: 1 Minute Each Side for 10 Minutes

Quick Notes:

  • A combination of two poses
  • Relieves tension from the neck, spine, and shoulders
  • Allow gentle movement in the body
  • Improves flexibility

4. Seated Forward Bend

Best For: Desk Yoga, Senior Citizens, and Balance Issues

Recommended Time: 1 Minute Each Side for 10 Minutes

Quick Notes:

  • Provides a sense of calm
  • Effectively works on the nervous system
  • Promotes relaxation and mindfulness
  • Reduces stress
  • Releases tension from legs and lower back

5. Seated Spinal Twist

Best For: Official Purposes, Senior Citizens, and Less physical mobility

Recommended Time: 1 Minute on Each Side for 10 Minutes

Quick Notes:

  • Releases tension from the spine
  • Promotes detoxification
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves balance, flexibility, and mobility

6. Chair Child’s Pose

Best for: Restoration, Calmness, Desk Yoga, and Senior Citizens

Recommended Time: 20 Minutes

Quick Notes:

  • Provides a sense of grounding
  • Improves calmness
  • Releases muscle tension

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When to practice chair yoga?

You can practice chair yoga anywhere and anytime. Avoid practicing chair yoga right after having meals. Try to be comfortable and spontaneous to enhance the benefits.

2. How many times a week should you do chair yoga?

According to experts and practitioners, chair yoga can be effectively practiced twice a week.

3. Does chair yoga really work?

Chair yoga helps in strengthening body and mind connection, improving flexibility, establishing mindfulness, and more. Some chair yoga postures provide the same benefits as traditional yoga poses.

4. Is chair yoga good for weight loss?

Chair yoga is a modified form of traditional yoga. It provides various mental and physical health benefits. However, like other forms of yoga, chair yoga does not help burn calories like other vigorous exercises. Chair yoga can be more helpful in staying active and fit (mentally and physically).

5. Is chair yoga for beginners?

Yes, chair yoga is for everyone, it is one of the safest and most powerful forms of yoga targeting to resolve body and mind-related issues.

6. Can you do chair yoga every day?

Chair yoga provides various mental and physical health benefits which means it can be practiced regularly.

7. Is chair yoga difficult?

Chair yoga is one of the easiest and safest forms of yoga which can be practiced by everyone.

I hope this blog helps you understand what chair yoga is and how to practice it effectively and easily. Comment down and share your views on the same or you can also write to us at Calm Sage.

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Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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