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Chair Yoga – Overview

Introduction

  • Chair Yoga refers to yoga practice using a chair or wheelchair.
  • Chair Yoga is not associated with any particular style but rather is taught by teachers of many backgrounds, including numerous Hatha Yoga styles and therapeutic yoga. (Some credit the use of chairs in yoga asana to B.K.S. Iyengar who is known for a prolific use of props in yoga practice.)
  • Chair Yoga includes poses from most 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

  • If you don’t currently offer a Chair Yoga class, we encourage you to learn more about this increasingly popular and powerful type of yoga.
  • It takes some practice to be able to teach Chair Yoga, particularly if you need to teach a mixed class where some students are standing and some sitting. Even if all students are practicing on a chair, the students will all have differing conditions and situations that require teachers be prepared to offer cautions and variations.
  • But despite the challenge in teaching such a class, if you are motivated to learn, it is so worth it! 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.
  • And you may also wish to teach a few poses to everyone using a chair 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: setting an intention, safe and effective sequencing, and considering all class elements. And as always, the ability to understand and adapt for students’ specialized needs is critical.

The differences 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 for security.
  • 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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