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Chair Yoga – Overview

Introduction

  • Chair Yoga refers to yoga that is practicec using a chair or wheelchair.
  • Chair Yoga is not associated with any particular style but rather is taught by teachers of many backgrounds. (Some credit the use of chairs in yoga asana to B.K.S. Iyengar who is known for a prolific use of props.)
  • Chair Yoga includes poses from most typical asana categories, including Warm Up, Heat Building, Standing, Seated, Forward Bends, Backbends, Twists, etc.
  • Chair Yoga is well-suited to yoga practices other than asana, including pranayama, pratyahara, and meditation.

Learning to Teach Chair Yoga

  • It’s highly advisable that you learn about this increasingly popular and powerful type of yoga.
  • It takes some practice to be able to teach Chair Yoga, particularly if you will be teaching a mixed class where some students are standing and some sitting – a typically very challenging teaching situation. Even if all students are practicing from a seated position on a chair, they will all have differing conditions and situations that will require you to be prepared to individualize.
  • Despite the challenge in teaching such a class, if you’re motivated to learn, you are likely to find it extremely gratifying.
  • Consider attending an Accessible Yoga training or study with another qualified trainer.
  • Whether or not you choose to teach a Chair Yoga class, the ability to offer chair adaptations to individuals within a group class or in privates is a very valuable skill.
  • You may also wish to occasionally teach a few poses usinga chair to your other students as a way to demonstrate home and travel practice options.

Chair Yoga vs Other Yoga

There are arguably more similarities than differences between Chair Yoga and other styles of yoga practice. Teachers preparing a Chair Yoga class will have many of the same considerations as preparing other types of classes, including setting an intention, safe and effective sequencing, and considering all class elements. As always, the ability to understand and adapt for students’ specialized needs is critical.

The aspects unique to Chair Yoga are also important and we go into those in Purpose / Benefits & Cautions.

The Chair

  • While many stable chairs or wheelchairs can be made to work, some chairs may need to be placed against the wall and/or on a sticky mat to ensure a safe and secure setup.
  • The chair seat should be at a height so that when seated on the edge, the student can comfortably lengthen spine upward and maintain feet flat on the floor.
  • When choosing poses and variations, options will depend on whether or not the chair has a back and whether or not it has arms.

See Also

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