Benefits of chair yoga: 3 poses you can do

Who knew you could exercise while sitting down? That’s where chair yoga comes in. It allows you to strengthen your flexibility, muscles and balance without getting up.

According to GoodRx Health, chair yoga is much like traditional yoga, and the practice was developed by Lakshmi Voelker-Binder to make yoga more accessible. This allows you to practice yoga poses while sitting down.

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Older adults may get more out of yoga than younger students, too. As we age, the two hemispheres of the brain are more equally used, which makes the mind-body connection yoga relies on more powerful, according to Healthline.

Just like regular yoga, chair yoga comes with many benefits. They include: stretching muscles, lowering stress, reducing chronic pain, boosting blood circulation, lowering anxiety and blood pressure, building strength, and protecting joints.

“Chair yoga is a good starting point to use muscles you haven’t used in a while without the potential risks of overloading (your muscles and joints) or falling,” Matt Minard, a physical therapist with Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC, told WebMD.

“If the resistance from your body weight isn’t enough of a challenge, you can add light hand weights, ankle weights or resistance bands to your chair yoga practice.”

Here are three poses you can try right now.

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Chair pigeon

While seated, lift your right ankle and rest it on your left thigh, VerywellFit said. Keep your knee aligned with your ankle as much as you can. Hold the pose, known as the chair pigeon, for three to five breaths. To intensify the stretch, you can bend forward. Then, repeat the steps with your left leg.

Cat pose

Yoga Journal says to sit in a chair keeping your feet hip-width apart. Rest your hands on your knees and as you exhale, round your spine toward the back of your chair. Your chin should drop toward your chest. Draw your lower belly in and upward. After taking several breaths, release the pose and return to the seated position.

Seated mountain

The seated mountain engages your core, according to Healthline. Begin by inhaling while sitting up straight in a chair. As you exhale, try to plant your tailbone on your chair, slowly rotating your hips back. Keep your knees directly over your ankles at a 90-degree angle, leaving a little bit of space between your knees. Inhale deeply and on your exhale, roll your shoulders back, pull your belly button in and relax your arms by your side. Take it one step further by lifting your toes off the ground to engage your legs.

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