Chair Yoga is Accessible Yoga- 4 Reasons It will Change Yoga

Chair Yoga is Accessible Yoga

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I started teaching Chair Yoga in 2015 at the YMCA in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I had always done very physical yoga with Ashtanga as my primary base so I did not get Chair Yoga.  I thought (and I am so sorry for this thought), “this will be so easy, doing yoga for a bunch of old people.”  I am SO glad that I was wrong.  I found Chair Yoga to be WONDERFUL! Chair yoga is accessible yoga for all.

Not only did my body crave the break from a million chaturangas, I found an extreme amount of joy, peace, and comfort in sitting and bending.  I felt every joint and ball and socket because I honed in.  I did not have to worry about balance and I could really listen to my breath and feel small muscle groups that were sometimes masked by the larger ones.

And the people in my classes were not just old people (again, so sorry!) I had pregnant ladies, people recovering from surgery and injuries.  Chair Yoga taught me that yoga could be done in many forms and most importantly, that yoga has the potential to follow us through all stages of life.  Isn’t that what we want our practice to be?  Yoga that lasts and changes us? Chair Yoga is Accessible Yoga.

Here is a very helpful passage from the book All I Need is This Chair Yoga (paid link) by Wilma Carter. “Sitting and the calmness it brings has much in common with yoga.  They both invite pondering, inquisitiveness, thoughtfulness, and insightfulness.  Getting down on the floor and standing on your head are not requirements of yoga. What is required is that you have a positive attitude about caring for your physical body and a desire to learn how a strong body can  other positive aspects to your life.” 

A chair is a great prop.  You can sit on it, lean on it, put on foot on it, or lie on your back on the floor and put both feet on it.  And you can sit and rest if needed too! Remember, chair yoga is accessible yoga.

Chair Yoga is Accessible Yoga for All

– Have you tried yoga and given up because you could not get down to the floor? (or once you got down you could not get up?)

-Have you had a knee or hip replacement and traditional yoga is now uncomfortable?

-Have you suffered a recent illness and your stamina is not up to par?

-Have you experienced a recent emotional upheaval and need something to get you moving again?

I think we all might fall into these categories at some point in out lives.  So, grab a chair and try this chair yoga sequence with me.  Let me know how good you feel after!

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Surya Namaskara Foundations- A Powerful Sequence to Establish

Surya Namaskara Foundations

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Welcome to Surya Namaskara Foundations of the Ashtanga Primary Series, the Surya Namaskara A and B sequences.  Surya means “the sun” and Namaskara is a greeting of honor and respect to the divinity present in each of us.  With the Surya Namaskaras, we set the rhythm and mood for each session of yoga.  For Ashtanga, the Primary, Intermediate, and Advanced sequences are an extension of what we learn in the movement of the surya namaskara foundations.  We marry breath and movement in a way that sets this system of yoga apart from other methods.  Try one of each A and B with me here:

 

Surya Namaskara Foundations- Movement

Feel the relationship between the movement and breath as you enjoy the surya namaskara foundations sequence.  Notice that the inhales happen as you lift your body, like with urdhva dhanurasana (upward dog), and the exhales happen as you fold the body, like in adho muhka svasana (downward facing dog).  I suggest working up to completing five of each surya namaskara foundations daily!

Importance of Breath

 

Breath is a source of movement and the very core of our existence.  I like to ride the sequence as I would a wave in the ocean or an enjoyable piece of music.  Try to use only the energy needed to move from point A to B and relax areas that are not required to be engaged.  “Be free. Be light. Be joyful in the experience and expression of your personal practice.” David Swenson 

Learn more about Ashtanga with Ashtanga Primary Series.

Get started the right way with Yoga! Download for FREE “8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga

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Ashtanga Primary Series- Find Balance and Challenge Within

Ashtanga Primary Series

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When we start an Ashtanga Practice, we usually begin with the Ashtanga Primary Series.  The standing sequence of the Ashtanga Primary Series initiates weaving of one asana into the next form which K. Parrabhi Jois called “a garland of asanas.”  Think of this as a sandwich; our first piece of bread is Surya Namaskara, the peanut butter is the standing sequence, the jelly is the seated sequence, and the last piece of bread the finishing sequence.  

Ashtanga Primary Series creates Balance

In the Asthanga Primary Series standing sequence, we challenge our balance and learn to understand how the forces of gravity work on our body.  In all the asanas there is an “equality of opposition where we find the greatest sense of stability and comfort.” (David Swenson (paid link))  We equally root to the ground and energize upward.  Our feet establish our base and we root them deep.  From there, we can grow and expand to lengthen and lift through each asana.  Practice the asanas along with me:

The practice of yoga is a place to explore the balance in all areas of our life.  Balance is not just the ability to stay standing.  It is self awareness of where our life needs focus and structure.  Yoga can help us to create balance in a physical plane which we can then expand to our mental scope. 

Apply Ashtanga Primary Series to Life

In my life, I am constantly trying to balance my yoga teaching and practice, my family life with my kids and husband, my household chores, and my duties to God.  Some days I do better than others.  I do know that I can always return to my my mat to renew my sense of balance.  Let me know how you feel balance, both through yoga and beyond.

Don’t miss this great resource for the Ashtanga Primary Series, 8 Tips for Thriving with Ashtanga Yoga!

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Sahasrara Chakra and Yoga- #7 Crown Chakra Balancing

Sahasrara Chakra and Yoga

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Sahasrara Chakra and Yoga- What is the Chakra system? You can balance the crown chakra with this guide. Chakras are the energy sources that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column. They are responsible for disturbing the life energy and can get out of balance. But yoga poses can help bring the chakra’s into balance. Come with me on a Sahasrara Chakra and Yoga Journey into energy balance!

What Chakra are you? Take my Chakra Quiz to find out!

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time

T.S. Elliot

The Crown Chakra energy is focused at the top of the head and is associated with the color purple and our understanding.

Sahasrara Chakra and Yoga Balancing

Do you find yourself having:*
Dissociation from the body Spiritual addiction, Confusion, Over-intellectualization, Living “in your head”, Disconnection from the spirit, Excessive attachments?
Then you may have too much energy around your Crown Chakra

Do you sometimes have:* Spiritual cynicism, A closed mind, Learning difficulties, Rigid belief systems, Apathy? Then you may have too little energy around your Crown Chakra

Do you want to be balanced?  Yes! Here is what you could experience:*
Spiritual connection, Wisdom and mastery, Intelligence, presence, Open-mindedness, ability to question, Ability to assimilate and analyze information

*Learn more about the Crown Chakra with the Chakra Balancing Workbook (paid link) by Anodea Judith

Sahasrara Chakra and Yoga Practice

How can you balance your chakra with yoga?

Close your eyes and take 5 big breaths.  As you inhale, feel the energy ascend from your feet up through the crown of your head.  As you exhale, feel the energy descend from the crown of the head down into your feet.  The flow between the earth and the spirit is always intact.

Virabhadrasana A with Garudasana arms- keep your feet firmly planted but feeling vast, open, and alive!

Parivrtta Baddha Ardha Chandrasana- This pose integrates total-body awareness and provides opportunity for opening only by softening up. Find a steady gaze and the pose will become easier.

Use this pose as an opportunity to feel your feet on the ground and expand upward in a gesture of courage and willingness to connect with the infinite.  

Sirsasana- When you are balanced, you “feel” and “know” that you are one with everything that is.  There is no fear of losing what is “yours.” Given this wisdom, a deep and peaceful bliss can arise.

You could also try connecting to your Crown Chakra with the essential oils of Myrrh, Sandalwood, and Frankincense.  I suggest doTERRA Essential oils! I also like Chakra singing bowls (paid link). The tones are beautiful and soothing for each chakra. 

The chakras are a journey, Sahasrara chakra and yoga included. Take the Journey full journey: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown.

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Ajna Chakra and Yoga – #6 Third Eye Chakra

Ajna Chakra and Yoga

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What is the Chakra system?  Chakras are the energy sources that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column.  They are responsible for disturbing the life energy and can get out of balance. But yoga poses can help bring the chakra’s into balance.  Come with me on a seven week Chakra Journey into energy balance!

What Chakra are you? Take my Chakra Quiz to find out!

The eyes are the gateway to the soul.

Shakespeare

The Third Eye Chakra energy is focused in the forehead between the eyes and is associated with the color indigo and our intuition.

Ajna Chakra and Yoga Balancing

Do you find yourself having:*
Hallucinations, Delusions, Obsessions, Nightmares, Intrusive memories, Difficulty concentrating, Excessive fantasizing?
Then you may have too much energy around your Third-Eye Chakra

Do you sometimes have:*
Lack of imagination, Difficulty visualizing, Insensitivity, Excessive skepticism, Denial, Inability to see alternatives?
Then you may have too little energy around your Third-Eye Chakra

Do you want to be balanced?  Yes! Here is what you could experience:*
Strong intuition, Penetrating insight, Creative imagination, Good memory, Good dream recall, Ability to visualize, Have a guiding vision for your life

*Learn more about the Throat Chakra with the Chakra Balancing Workbook (paid link) by Anodea Judith

Ajna Chakra and Yoga Practice

How can you balance your ajna chakra and yoga?

Dolphin pose is a great strengthener for the core and arms but you can also focus on being present in this pose by bringing your thumbs to your third eye and focusing all the attention to the eye center.  Your head rush will help with his sensation.

Virabhadrasana III- Balance poses need a keen focus in order to remain steadily standing.  Focus or Drishti, comes from our eyes so we can visualize standing strong and steady in this unsteady world.

Garudasana- This pose brings our hands right by our third eye and forces our focus to change as we cannot see past our hands.  “Garuda” means to devour.  Let this pose devour ego, doubt, fear, and clear the way for loving intention.

Humble Warrior- “For us to speak our truth, our head and our heart need to be congruent. If what we think and what we feel are in opposition to one another, the words we speak are going to be deeply influenced by that incongruence. Shoulder openers create a broad channel between the head and heart.” Seane Corn.  

Prasarita Padottanasana with Gomukhasana arms- Open the energy in the third eye and crown chakra here by getting the hips above the head and heart to flush the pituitary and pineal glands.  This helps to ignite the heart and stimulate.

You could also try connecting to your Third-Eye Chakra with the essential oils of Basil, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, Lavender, Roman Chamomile, and Frankincense.  I suggest doTERRA Essential oils! I also enjoy balancing the chakras will chakra singing bowls (paid link). Think of your future as you practice ajna chakra and yoga.

The chakras are a journey, ajna chakra and yoga included. Take the Journey full journey: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown.

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Vishuddha Chakra and Yoga- #5 Throat Chakra Balancing

Vishuddha Chakra and Yoga

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What is the Chakra system?  Chakras are the energy sources that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column.  They are responsible for disturbing the life energy and can get out of balance. But yoga poses can help bring the chakra’s into balance.  Come with me on a seven week Chakra Journey into energy balance!

What Chakra are you? Take my Chakra Quiz to find out!

By words the mind is winged.

Aristophanes

Vishuddha Chakra and Yoga Balancing

The Throat Chakra energy is focused at the heart and is associated with the color blue and ideas and communication.

Vishuddha Chakra and Yoga Balancing

Do you find yourself:*
Talking too much or inappropriately
Gossiping
Stuttering
Difficulty being silent
Excessive loudness?
Then you may have too much energy around your Throat Chakra

Do you sometimes have:*
Difficulty putting things in words
Fear of speaking
Speaking with a small, weak voice
Secretiveness
Excessive shyness
Tone deafness?
Then you may have too little energy around your Throat Chakra

Do you want to be balanced?  Yes! Here is what you could experience:*
Resonant, full voice
Clear communication with others
Good communication with self
Good listener
Good sense of timing and rhythm
Lives life creatively
*Learn more about the Throat Chakra with the Chakra Balancing Workbook (paid link) by Anodea Judith

Vishuddha Chakra and Yoga Practice

How can you balance your vishuddha chakra and yoga?

Halasana- By compressing the throat chakra, the pose squeezes out all negativity and opens the back of the neck. This action also stimulates the thyroid glad and is great for treating any major ailments due to an imbalanced throat chakra.

Ashtanga Namaskar- this pose is meant to represent the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra.  The front of the throat is very open in this pose.  We spend so much time using devices that keep our chin stuck to our chest so this is an intense balancing pose.

Viparita Karani asana (legs up the wall)- This is a therapeutic pose and is recommended to ease any form or stress and tension.  It relaxes the organs from the gravitational pull they face on an everyday basis, the pose changes the flow of blood.  It increases the blood flow in the neck and throat area, stimulates the thyroid gland, and expands the Vishuddha Chakra.

Matsyendrasana- Feel the chest and throat open as you roll back onto the top of the head. Press down through legs, hands, and elbows to keep your neck supported.  This pose will inspire you to speak your truth!

Salamba Sarvangasana- Much like Halasana, this pose compresses the throat and stimulates the thyroid.  Any time we are upside down, we bring blood flow to the heart and stimulate our metabolism and circulation.

You could also try connecting to your Throat Chakra with the essential oils of Tea Tree, Lavender, Geranium, Bergamot, Cypress, and Frankincense.  I suggest doTERRA Essential oils! I also enjoy balancing the chakra with chakra singing bowls (paid link). Vishuddha chakra and yoga will help you find your ultimate truth.

The chakras are a journey, vishuddha chakra and yoga included. Take the Journey full journey: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown.

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Anahata Chakra and Yoga- #4 Heart Chakra Balancing

Anahata Chakra and Yoga

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What is the Chakra system?  Chakras are the energy sources that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column.  They are responsible for disturbing the life energy and can get out of balance. But yoga poses can help bring the chakra’s into balance.  Come with me on a seven week Chakra Journey into energy balance!

What Chakra are you? Take my Chakra Quiz to find out!

Anahata Chakra and Yoga Balancing

Please call me by my true name so I can wake up, and so the door of my heart can be left open, the door of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh

The Heart Chakra energy is focused at the heart and is associated with the color green and love, friendship, and companionship.

Do you find yourself:*
Codependency
Poor Boundaries
Jealousy
Being a martyr
Being a pleaser?
Then you may have too much energy around your Heart Chakra

Are you sometimes:*
Anti-social, withdrawn
Critical, intolerant
Lonely, isolated
Lack of empathy
Fear of intimacy?
Then you may have too little energy around your Heart Chakra

Do you want to be balanced?  Yes! Here is what you could experience:*
Caring
Compassionate
Empathetic
Accepting
Self-Loving
Peaceful
Centered
Content

Learn more about the heart chakra with the Chakra Balancing Workbook (paid link) by Anodea Judith.

Want actionable yoga tips from me? Ways you can ease pain and modify yoga poses to fit your needs? Then hop on the newsletter! Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Anahata Chakra and Yoga Practice

How can you balance your anahata chakra and yoga?

Ustrasana (Camel)- opens the heart naturally as you roll the shoulders back and reach for the heals.  Try dedicating this pose to someone you love.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge)- This pose is part of a warm down so stop short of your edge and keep it friendly.  Try dedicating this pose to someone who needs a little love.
Anjanyasana (Low lunge)- Try reaching one hand to the sky and one down the leg to open the heart into a deeper back bend.  Try dedicating this pose to someone you need to forgive.
Camatkarasana (Wild Thing)- From down dog, lift your right leg up and back.  Open the right hip and bend the right knee to stretch the hip flexors. This is big heart opener that requires some faith and courage.  Dedicate this pose to someone who needs to take the leap into love.
Supta Baddha Konasana- Bring your hand to your heart to feel the breath moving in and out of the heart space.  Close your eyes and allow yourself this time to soften into the heart energy.  Dedicate this pose to yourself as you bring love, compassion, and joy into all you do.


You could also try connecting to your Anahata Chakra and Yoga with the essential oils of Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Marjoram.  I suggest doTERRA Essential oils. I also like Chakra singing bowls (paid link). The tones relate to each chakra- very balancing! 

The chakras are a journey, the anahata chakra and yoga is no exception. Take the Journey full journey: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown.

Try out my Chakra Sun Salutation Program!

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Manipura Chakra and Yoga- #3 Solar Plexus Chakra Balancing

Manipura Chakra and Yoga

Listen on Spotify!

What is the Chakra system?  Chakras are the energy sources that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column.  They are responsible for disturbing the life energy and can get out of balance. But yoga poses can help bring the chakra’s into balance.  Come with me on a seven week Chakra Journey into energy balance!

What Chakra are you? Take my Chakra Quiz to find out!

What is to give light must first endure burning.

Victor Frankl

The Solar Plexus Chakra energy is focused at the solar plexus and is associated with the color yellow and our force of will, power, joy, and anger.

Want actionable yoga tips from me? Ways you can ease pain and modify yoga poses to fit your needs? Then hop on the newsletter! Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Manipura Chakra and Yoga Balancing

Are you:*
Dominating
Controlling
Competitive
Arrogant
Ambitious
Hyperactive
Stubborn
Driven?
Then you may have too much energy around your Solar Plexus Chakra

Do you have:*
Pssivity
Lack of energy
Poor digestion
Tendency to be cold
Tendency toward submission
Blaming
Low self-esteem, lack of confidence
Weak will, poor self-discipline?
Then you may have too little energy around your Solar Plexus Chakra

Do you want to be balanced?  Yes! Here is what you could experience:*
Responsible, reliable
Good self-discipline
Positive sense of self
Confident
Warm
Energetic
Spontaneous, playful, humorous
Able to take risks

*Learn more about the Solar Plexus Chakra with the Chakra Balancing Workbook (paid link) by Anodea Judith

Manipura Chakra and Yoga Practice

How can you balance your manipura chakra and yoga?

Plank pose- hold this pose as long as it is comfortable, or until you feel heat rising up through your belly.  Focus on tightening your abdominal and stomach muscles.

Dhanurasana presses right into the Solar Plexus.  It can remind you of Mhulabanda, the power source right at the navel.  Stoke that power by rocking into this lift.

Cobra pose releases the muscles in the abdomen.  As we lift away from the floor, we stretch and lengthen the muscles to relieve pressure through the abdomen.

Yoga crunches- move into this pose from three-legged down dog.  Round through the shoulders and back and squeeze the abdominals.  Do this pose for reps or just hold in the tuck until the abdominals are on fire!

Pravritta Ashta Chandrasana- twists are a great way to fire up the core.  As we squeeze, we tighten the digestive system.  Then when we release, new blood flow enters the system to help rejuvenate our digestion.  What a great way to cleanse!


You could also try connecting to your manipura Chakra and yoga with the essential oils of Roman Chamomile, Ginger, Bergamot, Vetiver, Rosemary, Peppermint, Coriander, Lemon, and Melissa.  I suggest doTERRA Essential oils. I also love chakra singing bowls (paid link). Try them out for yourself! 

The chakras are a journey, manipura chakra and yoga included. Take the Journey full journey: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown.

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Svadhishthana Chakra and Yoga- #2 Sacral Chakra

Svadhishthana Chakra and Yoga

Listen on Spotify!

What is the Chakra system?  Chakras are the energy sources that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column.  They are responsible for disturbing the life energy and can get out of balance. But yoga poses can help bring the chakra’s into balance.  Come with me on a seven week Chakra Journey into energy balance!

Take my Chakra Quiz to see which chakra energy guides you!

Feelings are the texture of the soul.

Svadhishthana Chakra and Yoga- Get Balanced

The Sacral Chakra energy is focused at the lower abdomen and is associated with the color orange and feelings of desire, pleasure, sexuality, and creativity.

Do you have:*
Obsessive attachments
Sexual addictions
Addition to stimulation
Excessive mood swings
Excessively sensitive
Poor boundaries, invasion of others
Emotional dependency
Instability?
Then you may have too much energy around your Sacral Chakra

Do you have:*
Rigidity in your body, beliefs or behavior
Emotional numbness or insensitivity
Fear of change
Lack of desire, passion, or excitement
Poor social skills
Avoidance of pleasure, fear of sexuality
Excessive boundaries
Boredom?
Then you may have too little energy around your Sacral Chakra

Do you want to be balanced?  Yes! Here is what you could experience:*
Graceful movements
Ability to embrace change
Emotional intelligence
Nurturance of self and others
Healthy boundaries
Ability to enjoy pleasure
Sexual satisfaction
Passion

*Learn more about the Sacral Chakra with the Chakra Balancing Workbook (paid link) by Anodea Judith

Svadhishthana Chakra and Yoga Practice

How can you balance your chakra with yoga?

Firelog- stack your knees and feet to open the hips, our creative center

Pigeon pose- maintain a kind attitude toward your body, relax into your hips, and allow any negative or stored emotions to flow readily from the body

Upavista Konasana- hold for seven minutes to release stored up emotions.  I used to tell my yogi’s to sit in this pose during TV advertisements- but who has advertisements any more with all the internet streaming sites?  Just set your timer for seven minutes and relax into your breath.

You could also try connecting to your Svadhishthana Chakra and Yoga with the essential oils of Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage, Vetiver, Bergamot, Wild Orange, Sandalwood, and Geranium.  I suggest doTERRA Essential oils! I also love Chakra Singing Bowls (paid link) for relaxation and tuning into the chakras. 

The chakras are a journey, svadhishthana chakra and yoga included. Take the Journey full journey: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown.

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Muladhara Chakra and Yoga- #1 Root Chakra

Muladhara Chakra and Yoga

Listen on Spotify!

What is the Chakra system?  Chakras are the energy sources that are placed in seven different points on the spinal column.  They are responsible for disturbing the life energy and can get out of balance. But yoga poses can help bring the chakra’s into balance.  Come with me on a seven week Chakra Journey into energy balance!

What Chakra Energy guides you? Take my Quiz to find out!

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundation under them.” 

Henry David Thoreau

Want actionable yoga tips from me? Ways you can ease pain and modify yoga poses to fit your needs? Then hop on the newsletter! Read more of this content when you subscribe today.

Muladhara Chakra and Yoga- Excessive Energy

The Root Chakra energy is focused at the base of the spine and is associated with the color red and feelings of security, survival, and stability.

Do you have:
Heaviness, sluggishness, slow movements
Resistance to change
Overeating
Material fixation
Workaholism
Excessive spending?
Then you may have too much energy around your Root Chakra

Do you have:
Fear, anxiety
Resistance to structure
Underweight
Spaciness, flightiness, vagueness
Disconnection from your body
Restlessness, inability to sit still
Difficulty manifesting?
Then you may have too little energy around your Root Chakra

Do you want to be balanced?  Yes! Here is what you could experience:
Groundedness
Physical health
Being comfortable in your own body
A sense of safety and security
Stability and solidity
Right livelihood
Prosperity
Ability to be still
Presence in the here and now

*Learn more about the Root Chakra with the Chakra Balancing Workbook (paid link) by Anodea Judith

Muladhara Chakra and Yoga Practice

How can you balance your muladhara chakra and yoga?

Sukhasana- Close your eyes and feel the earth beneath you.

Balasana- Notice how it feels to be completely supported by the ground beneath you as you let your whole body relax.

Virabhadrasana B- This pose means “fierce warrior” so what better pose to help you face your fears and doubts?

Malasana- This pose you brings you close to the earth and helps calm the mind and spirit while strengthening the lower back and opening the hips.

Anjanyasana- This pose creates an intense stretch for the psoas and quads.  These muscles are associated with our flight-or-fight response and are deeply connected to the first chakra energy center.

You could also try connecting to your Muladhara Chakra and yoga with the essential oils of cypress, frankincense, vetiver, and sandalwood. I also love Chakra Singing Bowls (paid link)! 

The chakras are a journey, Muladhara chakra and yoga included. Take the Journey full journey: Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown.

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