Chair Yoga Meditation: Stillness as a Complement to Movement
Creating a daily meditation routine can be life altering. Chair yoga is unique in that the postures can be meditative in and of themselves. You can also do more traditional forms of chair yoga meditation. I really encourage you to give it a try!
Yoga asana prepares us for meditation by setting the stage for focusing on the breath and preparing the body to sit erect and with good posture. And just like the poses themselves, you can do chair yoga meditation anywhere.
Why Meditation is Important: Focus and Connection
So often throughout our day we are disconnected from the present moment. When you start moving the body mindfully while fully focusing on the breath, you will find how centering it is. Your body and mind will feel more peaceful and at ease. The yoga postures also help release the body of excess tension, so when you sit you can have more freedom and won’t be bothered by aches in the physical body.
Chair yoga meditation is mostly about giving your mind a rest from thoughts. You may have heard the term “monkey mind.” Meditation teaches us to slow the monkey down for a few seconds so we can get clearer on what we want and need in our lives.
The monkey just needs to take a break on a branch every now and then and do nothing, instead of swinging from vine to vine and jumping up and down!
How to Do Chair Yoga Meditation
A chair is a perfect place to meditate if you sit properly. Place your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart, anchor your sitz bones, and roll your shoulders down and back. Your spine should be nice and tall. If we slouch, our breath is diminished.
Once you find a nice, tall, comfortable seat, you can close your eyes and rest your hands on your lap. I like to turn my palms up and join the thumb and forefinger. When our palms are open, we are receptive, and it also helps flip the lungs open.
The mudra of thumb and forefinger is just a nice gesture to remind us we are stopping to do something important and more formal than just sitting. Once you are set, start to observe your breath.
A simple chair yoga meditation
Watch the inhalation and exhalation. That’s it! Just watch each breath. Repeat in your mind, “Breathing in, I am breathing in. Breathing out, I am breathing out.”
When your mind wanders, rein it back in and repeat the phrase again. You can also simply repeat, “breath in, breath out,” or the Sankrit “soham,” which translates to “I am that.”
There are some other chair yoga meditations that can help calm the mind and channel your energy as well. You can learn them in chapter 11 of my book, Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch, and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!