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Reduce Stress and Tension with Chair Yoga

July 11, 2015

 

 

I find that most of my daily activities throw my body out of alignment.  For example, I choose to carry a huge purse (otherwise known as mini luggage) of course this does a number on my neck, shoulders and probably my back.  What about the latest epidemic “text neck” which leaves a nasty crick in the neck.  I will admit I use my phone way more than I need to!  Then there is working in front of a computer which leaves the tops of my shoulders on fire! 

 

 

What would be great is a personal massage therapist working my shoulders as I type this post, ahhhhhh.  Back to reality, I don’t have a personal massage therapist and the tension is building so what’s the next best thing?  Yoga

 

 

As a teenager I would complain to my mother that my shoulders and neck were burning with tension.   I would tell her I needed a massage and she would tell me I needed yoga.  Of course like every good teenager I scoffed at her advice and turned my nose at it.  And like every good mother’s advice, she was right. 

 

 

Yoga is such a beautiful way to reduce tension and ease the body. 

 

 

You can take yoga with you to work, school, your car (not while driving), anywhere really, all that is needed is you and your breath. 

 

 

I’ve put together a few chair yoga poses you can use at work, the library, home, or wherever your imagination leads. 

 

 

**IMPORTANT: Do not continue with or practice any poses or postures that cause pain.  You do not want to feel pain in the joints.  If you are unsure whether a pose is releasing tension or causing injury then cease from practicing until you have determined it is okay.  If you have health issues you may want to consult your physician before practicing. 

 

 

 

TIP: Breath is a key element in yoga, so when you inhale image you are creating length and space in the spine and with each exhale you are gently moving into that space.  These poses are meant to be renewing and gentle, not pushed or forced.  When you move in union with the breath you will begin to feel the tension subside and the benefits of the practice to kick in.  Take your time moving from one place to the next, slow graceful movement helps the overall effort.    

 

 

 

Neck Stretch 

1. Sit comfortably in your chair

 

2. Inhale lengthen the spine, feel as though the crown of your head is lifting toward the sky

 

3. Exhale ground into your feet feeling all four corners of your foot planted

 

4. Inhale your right arm up and take it to the left ear or where ever you can reach your hand.

 

5. Exhale take your right ear to your right shoulder, use your hand to guide the head.  Hold for 5 breaths or whatever is comfortable for you

 

6. Inhale bring head back to center

 

7. Exhale, opposite side

 

 

 

 

Seated Cat Cow

1. Sit comfortably in your chair, bring hands to lap

 

2. Inhale lengthen the spine, feel as though the crown of your head is lifting toward the sky

 

3. Exhale ground into your feet feeling all four corners of your foot planted

 

4. Inhale take the sternum and heart forward, creating an arch in the back

 

5. Exhale draw the navel in toward the spine allowing the back to round

 

6. Continue for 5-10 breaths, slow and steady follow the rhythm of your breath

 

 

Inhale the heart and sternum forward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              

                                                                                             

 

 

                                                                                                                  Exhale draw the navel toward the spine

 

 

 

Eagle Arms (Great for Shoulders)

 

1. Sit comfortably in your chair

 

2. Inhale lengthen the spine, feel as though the crown of your head is lifting toward the sky

 

3. Exhale ground into your feet feeling all four corners of your foot planted

 

4. Inhale arms like Cactus/Goal Post Arms

 

5. Exhale the right arm under the left, crossing at the elbows bringing the palms together

 

 

 

For those with tight shoulders this may not be an option here are a couple variations of this pose:

  

 

Bring the backs of the hands together 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                             Use a hand/dish towel, strap,

                                                                                                                                                  band, etc between both hands

 

 

6. Inhale lift the elbow forward and up

 

7. Hold here for 5 breaths or for whatever is comfortable

 

8. Exhale lower elbows

 

9. Inhale release bind and take arms wide (Cactus/Goal Post Arms)

 

10. Opposite side, Inhale left arm under right…

 

 

 

Side Bend

 

1. Sit comfortably in your chair

 

2. Inhale lengthen the spine, feel as though the crown of your head is lifting toward the sky

 

3. Exhale ground into your feet feeling all four corners of your foot planted

 

4. Inhale right arm toward sky

 

5. Exhale take a side bend to the left

 

6. Hold for 5 breaths or what is comfortable for you

 

7. Inhale come back to center

 

8. Exhale Opposite side

 

 

 

 

Chair Twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Sit comfortably in your chair

 

2. Inhale lengthen the spine, feel as though the crown of your head is lifting toward the sky

 

3. Exhale ground into your feet feeling all four corners of your foot planted

 

4. Inhale lift up from the waist and turn to the right, taking right hand behind or to top of chair and left hand to the out side of your right knee 

 

5. Hold for 5 breath or what is comfortable for you

 

TIP: With each inhale lift up from the waist and with the exhale move deeper into twist.  Do not feel the need to over twist remember this is meant to feel good.  The twist comes from the waist/abdomen, not from the shoulders.  Avoid slouching to go deeper into the twist keep a straight back. 

 

6. Inhale come back to center

 

7. Exhale Opposite side

 

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