Whether we’re busy working at our desks or doing activities with children or grandchildren at home, we often lose sight of our own bodies. Checking in with the body, posture, and alignment is a great way to do something healthy for ourselves that can be as beneficial as going to the gym or participating in an exercise class. Here is a great way to check in with a 10 step Chair Yoga sequence:
Begin any chair activity with lengthening the spine, sitting up tall, and ensuring the crown, or top of the head, is toward the ceiling. Roll the shoulders up, back, and down to open the chest.
Exhale and move the head to look right, inhale the head center. Exhale and look left, inhale to center. Repeat.
Computer, tablet, and phone work are taxing on the eyes. Without moving the head, move only the eyes up to 12:00, as if there is an imaginary clock in front of the face. Now move the eyes down in a straight line to 6:00. Make this movement smooth. Take deep breaths. Repeat. Bring the gaze all the way to the right, looking into the periphery. Without moving the head, move the eyes along the horizon to the left going back and forth in a smooth motion. Repeat.
Interlace the fingers over the head palms facing upward. Stretch to one side, breathing into that side body. Repeat on the other side.
Roll the shoulders forward and then backward in circular motions.
Twist – Place left hand on right knee, reach right arm around the back of the chair. Beginning from the waist, turn the body to look out over that right shoulder. Inhale to lengthen, exhale to twist. Repeat with opposite hand and knee.
Head to knee pose – Cross the right leg over left. Lengthen the spine. Leading with the chin stretch the body over the right thigh placing the abdomen directly on it. To come up, lengthen the crown of the head out and hinge the body back up with a flat back. Repeat with left leg crossed over right.
Forward bend – Open knees. Extend the arms overhead, next to the ears, and hinge the upper body down keeping the back straight. Let the arms hang or grasp the elbows. This posture reverses blood flow to the brain and puts the head lower than the heart in an inversion. Hinge the body back up after a few minutes. Caution: If this causes dizziness, come up.
Sitting with the feet flat on the floor, holding underneath the chair extend both legs out, pointing the toes on the extension and flexing the feet as the legs are drawn back. Exhale them out, inhale them in.
L Stretch – Stand behind the chair. Place both hands on the top of the chair, stepping the feet back far enough so the back can be completely flat and the arms are straight. Entire body forms the letter L.
Hold top right side of chair with left hand and lunge forward with right knee. Extend right arm up next to right ear. Reverse on left side.