What Is Chair Yoga?
Chair Yoga is often misunderstood to be an age-specific practice when, truthfully, we’d all be much better off with a couple of chair Yoga sequences under our belts. Students who experience back pain, or are wanting to counter a high-intensity lifestyle can all benefit from a chair Yoga practice. It is a safe and accessible practice for anyone with the potential to be especially supportive to students who experience physical limitations.
The asanas, or postures in Chair Yoga, are done both seated and in a seated position, using the chair for balance. Chairs and props are supplied to ensure the safety and support of all practitioners….no mats are needed. With a chair or two, additional bolsters, blocks, and straps, this class emphasizes the mind-body connection through gentle movements while subtly strengthening and stretching the muscles with the rhythm of the breath.
For students navigating the physiological changes due to aging, chair Yoga is a wonderful practice to explore the numerous benefits of Yoga with the added support of a seat. Increased body awareness, balance, stamina, mobility, lung capacity, digestion, mental clarity, stress relief are few of the many benefits that keep students coming back into the Yoga practice.
How Can Chair Yoga Benefit you?
Regardless of age, all people at some point have to navigate a physical limit due to injury or illness. Chair Yoga is an excellent option of practice to aid in the healing process and to navigate the challenges that come with trauma, surgery, chronic pain, painful disorders, or any illness that leads to limited mobility or restricted activity. Chair Yoga complements traditional physical therapy, is a genuine friend in chemotherapy recovery, gently soothes and helps to relieve pain for many who suffer from Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions.
At Lotus Yoga our Chair Yoga sequences can also be extremely beneficial to those who spend a large amount of time sitting. We live in an era where long periods of sitting happen if you want them to or not. Chair Yoga sequences can offer a number of diagnostic and creative tools to relieve back and neck discomfort, increase blood flow, and help to maintain muscle, bone, and joint health. Many different asanas, or postures, are readily available within the chair Yoga practice. Just as in a Basics or Vinyasa class, each posture has various benefits that can be taken off the mat and right to a desk or a couch.
Adaptive Chair Yoga is available here at Lotus Yoga and Wellness for any stage of life. There are no preconditions for learning Adaptive Chair Yoga. There’s no expectations for flexibility or range of motion. Adaptive Chair Yoga is designed to support the student as they are. This class is available to anyone, regardless of size or ability. Our only goal is to make everybody feel welcome, Yoga is right for everyone and they’ve come to the right location. Caregivers are always welcomed to practice as well.
No matter what your health issues or degree of fitness, you’re still able to practice Yoga!
Call Lotus Yoga today to find a class time for you!
Everyone has Stress, How are you Managing it?
Pressure and Tension?
Your smart phone is ringing off the hook, with notifications popping up from emails, texts, Instagram likes, Facebook messages, and phone calls. Tension and stress end up being a daily companion in the 21st century. If you’d like to find a natural way to help ease tension, increase awareness, and fine-tune your mental focus, Yoga may be a good option to explore.
Can Yoga really help with stress?
There are many breathing techniques in Yoga, many of which also are recommended for stress management. A few of them are:
- Controlled breathing
- Physical movement
- Mental imagery
The word ‘Yoga’ derives its name from the Sanskrit word meaning “to yoke”—or to bring together. Yoga does just that, yoking the mind, body, and spirit together. In the first Yoga Sutra Patanjali writes “Yogas chitti vritti nirodhah.” Translated from Sanskrit to English, it means “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” These fluctuations can be stressors that cause stress. Whether you practice Yoga for spiritual enlightenment or for stress management and physical well-being, the benefits are numerous.
Meditation is considered one of several kinds of complementary and integrative wellness approaches. Through learning more about how our brains work, how to observe thoughts rather than to be involved with them, and to explore the vrittis (the circular thoughts that distract us), you may find skills that help you better manage stress and stressful situations in your life. Meditation may help you understand to become mindful and conscious of the present moment with no judgment.
Different Styles for Different results!
Hatha Yoga might be a fantastic pick for stress and anxiety management. Hatha is one of the most popular types of Yoga, presenting an opportunity for a moving meditation. For those with a preference for rigidity and predictability, ashtanga Yoga may be right for you. Ashtanga Yoga is another type of Yoga, set in series and routine. Ashtanga Yoga is a vigorous practice and can be wonderful for stress and addiction management, due to the spiritual and structured nature of the practice. Lotus Yoga and Wellness offers classes ranging from seated meditation, moving meditation, to ashtanga to best suit each practitioner’s needs.
How Does it Help with Stress?
Yoga is a physical practice and subsequently, there are many benefits to the body as well. A few physical benefits are:
- Reduced cortisol levels
- Allergy and asthma symptom relief
- Increased quality of sleep
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower heart rate
- Reduced muscle tension
- Increased strength and flexibility
- Reduction of muscle tissue degeneration occurring from age
Practicing Yoga can also result in improved balance, flexibility, range of movement and strength. Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic ailments, like heart disease and high blood pressure. In addition, Yoga can help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia (sleeplessness).
Is Yoga right for you?
While Yoga is generally considered safe for most healthy individuals when practiced under the guidance of a certified teacher, there may be a time where a physical Yoga practice is not advisable. Please talk to your medical care provider before starting Yoga if you experience any of the following circumstances or conditions:
- A herniated disk
- A risk of blood clots
- Eye conditions, such as hepatitis
- Pregnancy — though Yoga Is usually safe for pregnant women, certain poses are not optimal for health
- Severe balance issues
- Severe osteoporosis
- Uncontrolled blood pressure
You could have the ability to practice Yoga in these types of situations should you take certain measures, like avoiding certain moves or poses or finding a modification for them. If your physician approves a Yoga practice, tell your Yoga teacher before class. They may offer modification options tailored specifically for you that they wouldn’t have known to offer otherwise. If you develop symptoms, such as pain, or have issues, see your physician to ensure that you’re getting benefit, not harm out of Yoga.
All of these benefits of Yoga come from the fact that there is an emphasis of care and compassion to you and those around you in the practice. While there are many practices and tools for stress management, Yoga utilizes not only the physical actions of controlled breathing and mindful movement but also offers words of kindness and gentleness to ease into your internal dialog.
Welcome to the Yoga Guide for Beginners!
When new to Yoga, it can feel intimidating and difficult to know precisely where and how to begin. This Yoga for Beginners manual was created especially for you–to give you all of the tips, guidelines, and recommendations you will need to initiate your best Yoga practice. To ensure your best experience, we recommend reading this post in its entirety before beginning any Yoga practice.
What is Yoga?
Traditionally, Yoga’s goal is to integrate mind, body, and soul to reach a state of enlightenment, or oneness with the universe. Various disciplines of Yoga incorporate different approaches to reach enlightenment. Ultimately maintain the same goals: to reach samadhi, or the enlightened state. Western Yoga has become most similar to Hatha (ha-ta) Yoga, one of many disciplines of Yoga. Hatha Yoga, as described by yogi extraordinaire Gina Caputo, is a ‘moving meditation’. Each movement is physical, yet invites a greater awareness of the practitioner’s internal ce and purify the mind and body for a seated, still meditation.
Regardless of your intentions for coming to Yoga, your goals to achieve, or your expectations of the practice, the Yoga practice is a wonderful option to exercise and strengthen your body, your mind, and the relationship between the two.
Is Yoga Right for You?
In short, yes! Contrary to social media indications and some body movement practitioners, Yoga is in no way exclusive. If you have a body, regardless of its shape or size, capabilities, or circumstances, you can practice Yoga. The ability to practice Yoga doesn’t matter how old you are, how much you weigh, what you do for a living, where you live, or what faith you practice. Yoga is available for everyone. While there are social, economic, and environmental factors that all too frequently hinder would-be yogis heading to the mat, the Yoga practice is based in pranayama, or breath-work. Have five minutes at your desk to close your eyes and listen to your breath in an intentional way? You’re starting on your path to be a yogi! Yoga is not limited to the able-bodies. It’s extended to every body.
Find the right fit!
While extended to every body, some practitioners may have a health illness or a recent injury, potentially making it dangerous or challenging to do particular poses or breathing techniques. Teachers at Lotus Yoga will be able to offer modifications that allow you to explore what you’re able to experience, rather than what you’re unable to experience. There are many alternatives and modifications that enable you to practice Yoga safely and specific classes that best fit your needs.
In the course of the practice, you may notice many frequent complaints have particular Yoga movements that may help in the recovery of aches, pains, and injuries. If you’re recovering from an injury or are of poor health and have not been given the go-ahead from your doctor or healthcare practitioner, consult with them before beginning any Yoga practice. Yoga can be recommended as a supplement to a well-rounded treatment plan but should never be substituted for professional medical care.
What to expect:
While you may experience sensations in various parts of your body in asanas (Yoga poses, pronounced ‘ahhh-san-a’), it should not be painful, especially in the joints. A sharp or intense pain is your body’s signal to stop and re-evaluate the post. This is one of the many ways that Yoga, when practiced mindfully, strengthens the mind-body connection.
If you are a brand new practitioner or coming back to the practice after some time off, we recommend you start with a gentle Yoga practice until you’ve built up the strength and flexibility for more challenging sequences. It is almost always best to error on the side of safety and caution and approach Yoga slowly and attentively. Lotus Yoga and Wellness has an array of classes designed specifically for those starting out their Yoga journey. Basic Beginner’s Yoga, Yoga Basics, Beyond Basics, Yin Deep Stretch, and Stretch and Restore classes are offered throughout the week at various times and a great first introduction or re-introduction to Yoga.
Yoga is typically done in bare feet or sticky socks on a mat with various Yoga props. These additional, optional props, including but not limited to straps, blocks, blankets, and bolsters. Don’t have any of these available? Not a problem! These can be easily substituted with scarves or neckties, a stack of books, and pillows. Lotus Yoga and Wellness, and most Yoga studios, will have all of these and more available for you to use during class time.
Props allow your body to find your best expression of a pose. No yogi will look the same as the next, as all bodies are structurally different. Props open the gateway of your practice supporting you in the present moment, not where you think you should be.
We recommend that you begin with a brief and simple Yoga class and gradually develop from there. As soon as you are feeling comfortable with a few standard beginner Yoga poses, you can integrate them in a sequence and continue to include more challenging poses. Ensure to learn and follow the vital components of a Yoga practice: meditation, breathing (pranayama), intention, asanas, and comfort.
How Often Should I Do Yoga?
If you’re able to practice Yoga one or more times each week, you may notice significant improvements in your flexibility, range of movement, strength, balance, inner peace, and overall well-being. Ideally, when starting a self-practice, we recommend shorter and more frequent periods, 20-45 minutes for a total of 3-4 hours spread over several days. Practicing Yoga for any amount of time is beneficial but you may notice a larger amount of improvement over a shorter time period with a consistent practice. Like learning any new activity, consistent practice yields more fruitful results.
The Benefits of Practicing Yoga
The benefits of Yoga are nearly endless. Practicing Yoga beyond an exercise class helps build character and values. Non-harming, honesty, devotion, self-inquiry, mindfulness, and non-attachment are all traditional teachings of Yoga, all of which you may find following you off the mat. Yoga empowers you to make conscious choices toward living your best life, achieving your dharma, or your life’s purpose. At Lotus Yoga and Wellness, teachers are deeply rooted in the traditional, spiritual teachings of Yoga, the Eight Limbed Path as set forth by Patanjali sometime before 400CE. They synthesize continuing to teach from Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga with bringing the practice to all those who wish to do Yoga.
Patience, dedication, repetition, and consistency are the keys to growing and progressing in the tradition of Yoga. After you’ve found a teacher that works for you to start your Yoga practice, we invite you to explore these tips:
- Commit to a regular program of Yoga classes or home clinic
- Continually be curious about the affects of your practice and your desired intensity. If it feels right to you, increase the number of classes you attend per week or the length of your practice. There’s always the choice to do more or less and the only person that knows what’s right for you is you!
- Attend Yoga workshops that focus on specific aspects of the Yoga practice that interest you.
- Journal the effects a consistent Yoga practice has in your body, head, and heart
- Read and study to learn more about Yoga. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your teachers!
- Find sources of inspiration for you to continue your practice.
- Make friends at your studio and get to know your fellow yogis.
All in all, there can be a lot of information to sort through and factors to consider when starting a Yoga practice. We hope that this can help clarify questions you may have about Yoga, where to start, and what to expect. If you have any additional questions, we’d be happy to answer them for you at our studio.
Lotus Yoga and Wellness