If you are intimidated by the thoughts of yoga, worried that everyone in the class will be younger and more flexible than you--you are in for a surprise. Yoga, especially at Just Breathe Yoga, is for EVERY body. Come and try a class, you will find people of all ages and abilities, working together in a welcoming environment. I am sixty and after 10 years of regular practice (at least twice a week) I am convinced that yoga is the fountain of youth. But if you are still a little apprehensive here is a chair yoga session to get you limbered up and build your confidence.
Remember, you are not stiff and sore because you are old--you just feel old because you are stiff and sore. Get up and get moving, if you have time for FaceBook, you have time for yoga.
Chair Yoga Sequence
Mountain spine. Sitting to the front of your chair inhale the shoulders up and back, aligned with the hips. Hands resting on thighs. Ears over shoulders.
Pranayama. Inhale and exhale smoothly, through the nose. Focus on the movement of air at the tips of nostrils. Count the length of your inhale, now exhale to the same count. Practice for 3 min.
Golden bubble. Inhale the arms above the head, breathing in light and energy.
Exhale, lowering the arms, releasing stress, tension and distractions. 10x
Neck. Exhale chin towards chest, inhale to center. Exhale right ear toward right shoulder, inhale to center. Exhale left ear toward left shoulder. Repeat.
Seated Forward fold. Moving to the front of the chair, adjust legs and exhale lowering your spine onto your lap, underarms resting on thighs. Rest. Breathe. Lengthen the spine. Inhale neck up, arching up from the spine to a comfortable level, just looking up, lower, rest. Repeat.
Cat/cow. Place hands on knees. On the exhale, lower chin towards chest and round the spine back towards the back of the chair. Arching like a cat. On the inhale, reverse the arch, now offering the heart forward and lifting the chin and looking up. Repeat.
Seated Spinal Twist. Lift the left knee and grab it with the right hand, twist the upper body to the left grabbing the back of the chair to complete the twist. Repeat on the opposite side, changing hands and feet. Repeat.
Seated Pigeon. Cross the right leg over the left knee. Grab the top of the foot and press the flesh above the right knee with the right hand down for a good stretch as you exhale. Release and repeat. Change legs and hands and repeat on the other side.
Sitting squat. Open the legs to a wide squat-like pose. On the exhale, hinge forward with a flat back placing forearms on the thighs. Continue breathing, pressing outward against the thighs to deepen the stretch. Hinge deeper as well, keeping the head inline with the spine. Release and repeat.
Twist with crossed legs. Cross the right leg over the left, grab just above the knee and twist to the right. Release. Change legs and repeat on the other side.
Wide legged shoulder press. Open the legs as wide as comfortable and place the hands on the thighs, elbows outward supporting the upper body. On the exhale dip the right shoulder down and towards the center, allowing the body to twist. Inhale up to center and repeat on the other side. Repeat.
Tricep stretch with head turns. Lift the right arm up, bending the elbow all the palm to lower to the back of the neck or collar. Using the left hand, apply gentle pressure just below the elbow to push the right arm back, creating a good stretch on the tricep. Lower the left arm and let the fingers of the right hand find the left ear, turning the head to look over the left shoulder. Change arms and repeat on the other side.
Chair backbend. Move towards the back of the chair until the shoulder blades can touch the back of the chair. Lace the fingers together and place the hands on the back of the head. Exhale and lower the chin toward the chest, opening the back of the neck. Rest here. Inhale to center. Inhale to mountain spine and on the exhale, look up, allowing the hands to support the head. Let the shoulders lean into the back of the chair as you arch back. Find a gentle arched stretch. Inhale to bring the gaze down and lower yourself into neutral. Repeat.
Yogi, instructor, seeker