Chair Yoga Warm-ups: Poses to Get Your Blood Flowing
When you practice chair yoga, warm-ups are important. Warming up for any physical activity prevents injury and enhances performance. Chair yoga warm-ups only take a few minutes, so don’t skip them. After only five to ten minutes of warm-up activity, blood flow to muscles increases by up to 75 percent.
It’s traditional in yoga to start with certain warm-ups, often called sun salutations or vinyasa flows. Vinyasa means to link breath to movement. Greeting the sun by moving the body with breath helps put us in a proper mind state to flow more freely and move with more ease.
Think of warm-up flows as moving meditations. Often, we go about our day aimlessly. When we take time to link our breath to our movement, our mind and body become aligned, and we have a much clearer outlook on our day. We also start to live our life with more purpose and clarity. It’s incredible to think that just a few mindful movements can mean so much, but they do!
Other Times to Do Chair Yoga Warm-ups
Even though warm-up exercises are usually meant to ease you into a workout, you can do them at the end of your work day as well. If you do a few chair yoga warm-ups before you leave the office, you will have a centered, happy mind and body for your commute and for the rest of your evening.
In fact, you can do flows or warm-ups any time. I often do them when I’m at the doctor’s office, in an airplane seat, commuting on a subway train, or even just hanging out at the end of the day.
You can do chair yoga warm-ups exactly as described in my book, Chair Yoga: Sit, Stretch, and Strengthen Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You or add something of your own to the flows and movements. The idea is to get your blood flowing!
How to Do Chair Yoga Warm-ups
When warming up, you can flow as slowly or as quickly as you like. Your pace may change each time you do the exercise. Listen to your body and your breath, and make sure to link the two together as you move. Your breathing and movement should be at the same pace. Make sure you are clear of distractions. Turn your computer and phone off or silence them before you start your practice.
Remember that chair yoga warm-ups are like the warm-ups you’d do on your mat in a typical yoga class. The only difference is that when you do chair yoga warm-ups, you are sitting in a chair!
Exercises for warming up include pelvic tilts, cat/cow and dancing cat. Sun salutation arm movements, forward folds, twists, and side bends are also good chair yoga warm-ups.
If you need more direction on how to do these poses in a chair, you can find instructions and illustrations in chapter 2 of my book. After a few minutes of chair yoga warm-ups, you’ll be ready for a more targeted workout!
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!