28 May “Chair Yoga – Not for Sissys!”
by Carol “Brown Feather” Oveross
Some time ago, I created my website: www.CarolsGentleYoga.com with the intent of informing the public not only of my class schedule and events, but that doing any form of “Carol’s Gentle Yoga”— including practicing on a mat on the floor, and/or from a straight-backed armless chair — all have many benefits for our body, mind, and spirit ... that frankly, folks don’t realize!
And, currently, with our gyms and yoga studios closed or inaccessible for many, especially now that we don’t have the opportunity to go anywhere to get this type of instruction, I’m thrilled to be sharing the chair yoga techniques via this online Zoom.us technology that has become available to me through the generosity of “The Center of Universal Light” (CUL) located in Old Town Cottonwood, Arizona to reach more folks like you!
First of all, with so much online technology streaming into everyone’s lives and in our homes with a variety of devices, our bodies are constantly sitting and rigidly focusing on a screen… Therefore, not only are our neck, shoulders, spine, hips, back, and hands being affected on a regular basis, but also our precious vision affected! Therefore, by sitting in this position for many hours at a time, we can experience a variety of ill effects that we can be identified with issues such as: hypertension, insomnia, neck and back pain, blurred or poor vision, headaches, poor circulation, anxiety, depression, and even chronic fatigue syndrome.
Originally, Chair Yoga was designed to benefit those who may have suffered injuries, are overweight, or have a limited range of motion due to aging or disabilities and may or may not be able to get up and down off the mat. However, today this is NOT THE CASE!
So, to share what I’ve learned from 40-years of having my own personal daily morning yoga & meditation practice ….plus instructing my gentle Hatha Yoga classes for 15-years, I want to clear-up the notion that my “Chair” yoga techniques are NOT FOR SISSY’S… BUT FOR ALL LEVELS OF FITNESS & FLEXIBILITY!… As a CHAIR can be considered just another wonderful piece of yoga equipment…..just like a bolster and a block that is normally used on the floor with a mat for a typical yoga class!
For example, simple spinal twists can be accomplished on a chair by sitting sideways and turning to the backrest and grabbing the back support for leverage to square your shoulders off at any time and anywhere to accomplish an effective way to free-up any discomfort or tightness in the spine!
With my actual targeted chair yoga movements — as well as doing more breath awareness and relaxation & meditation techniques, this will help bring our awareness inward and increase the blood flow throughout the body…. which, in turn, helps our focus and connection to spirit… which in turn helps to strengthen our Immune System along with creating those necessary hormone levels, (especially those of Endorphins, which are the “Happy Hormones”). These hormones uplift us and support not only our moods but our Adrenal Glands to relax our anxiety levels and reduce tension thus giving us better sleep patterns at night by increasing our natural Melatonin levels — which is more in line with our natural Circadian Rhythm!
Along with the lack of our bodily movements, especially if we’ve been sitting so much, besides depleting our Immune System, but, there is NO PLACE for all of those stale bodily fluids to go! Then, we, not only gain weight… but these fluids may collect as excess water in our legs and ankles causing difficulty with our blood circulation, to say nothing of the lack of flexibility we will experience… causing not only stiff joints with inflammation but our lack of immunity against a variety of diseases we have no defense against!
To conclude, there are many benefits to doing these Chair Yoga exercises. They will not only stretch and tone your muscles, aid in weight loss, enhance your sleep, help improve your posture, help with concentration and creativity. But, they will help to strengthen your core abdominal muscles, deepen your breath, lower high blood pressure, eliminate stress with meditation techniques which will promote relaxation. And they may even reduce the probability of blood clot formation in your blood vessels!
Basically, doing Chair Yoga movements may bring together more harmony in our body, mind, and spirit! Try it out. Your Body will THANK-YOU!
Check out my website for more information and a link to my online Monday 11 AM Chair Yoga Classes.
Carol “Brown Feather” Oveross, RYT, Integrative Yoga Therapist
“Yoga is beneficial for all aspects of living a more harmonious & joy-filled life.”