Chair Yoga for Happiness!
Where is your happy place? Probably not when you’re stuck in your seat in one position for too long. Our bodies are designed to move. Modern day culture and technology has caused many of us to sit for most of the day.
Sitting for too long causes us to slouch, compresses our lower back, cuts off our breathing and puts strain on our neck and shoulders. It’s hard to be happy when our neck or back is achy, or we aren’t taking in enough oxygen.
Chair yoga is our happiness antidote. The second you move, stretch and breathe, you feel one hundred times better. When you feel good, you’re happy, it’s as simple as that. Practicing yoga in our seat makes so much sense. You’ll suddenly become more aware of how your posture and breathing affect your attitude and outlook.
Anyone can do chair yoga at anytime. It doesn’t matter what kind of chair you’re in, just sit towards the front of your seat and ground your feet (make sure wheels are locked if it’s that type). You may do these at the start of your day or when you hit that mid day slump. Maybe you want to do them on your commute or right when you get home instead of getting back online or watching television.
4 moves to boost your happiness and lift your spirits:
High Altar Pose: Lift your arms up overhead interlace the fingers invert the palms and lift the corners of your mouth in to a smile. You’ll feel your lungs inflate as you lift out of your lower back. Get an immediate rush of energy in to your body and notice how much better your body and brain feel. Hold for 3-5 deep breaths.
Hands Clasped Behind the Back Arch: Backbends are the antidepressants of yoga. When we slouch forward we get depressed. Our posture determines our mood. Use this pose to open your heart and lift yourself up mentally. Sit towards the edge of your seat clasp your hands behind your back and lift your chest upwards toward the ceiling. Stay and breathe for 5-8 breaths.
Assisted Neck stretch: We carry a ton of tension and stress in our neck and shoulders. Use this stretch release the issues in your tissues. Place one hand over your head on the opposite ear. Gently let the head fall to the side as you stretch the neck and top of shoulder. Hold for 5 breaths and then switch sides.
Forward Fold: Finally end with a forward fold to bring oxygen to the brain and stretch the entire back body. When you fold forward you let the spine release and relax. Stay for 5 to 8 breaths before coming back up to sit and notice how much happier and refreshed you feel.
You can incorporate these and other chair yoga moves on a daily basis. Hopefully you can encourage your friends, family and co-workers to join in too! The more the merrier, or should I say happier?! For full chair yoga routines make sure to get a copy of my book!!!
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is currently teaching yoga with Peloton. She is the star of over 100 videos, seen in several magazines and tv shows and is a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!