Injury or illness, age or other ‘limitations’ (including working all day at your desk), may prevent you from getting on a yoga mat on the floor or to stand to do certain yoga postures, as you know them. However with some creativity and modifications you can ALWAYS ‘do’ yoga.
“If you can breathe you can do yoga” says Krishnamacharya.
Sitting as tall as you can yet relaxed is the key to many meditation postures and breathing exercises (pranayama). That is a great place to begin. If you can’t do any physical asana (posture) you can always observe your breath as it is or do some basic breathing exercises (inhale slow 3 counts, exhale 3, then work up to 4 counts etc), or recite a mantra (“I AM”) as you inhale.
There are chair yoga versions of most postures to increase mobility, vitality and flexibility: sun salutation, forward bends, back bends, spinal twists, sitting mountain pose, eye exercises (helps computer strain) and breathing exercises (calms or energizes and increases concentration).
At your desk, in a wheelchair, or wherever you are sitting now, take a 2 min yoga break! Re-energize with just 1-2 minutes of yoga posture. Try it: inhale lift your arms up overhead exhale lower. Repeat 5-10 times and see how you feel!. I’ve seen great shifts in posture and energy from my senior home chair yoga classes using poses from a simple chair yoga series I have devised. There are also chair yoga classes at local studios and senior centers that involve standing postures using a chair for support, but there is plenty of ‘yoga’ you can do without getting up or down from the chair if you are not able.
Yoga IS for Everyone! So stay seated and do yoga today! Inhale sit tall, exhale relax!
Stacie Doorek is a Gentle Integral Yoga Instructor, Kundali Yoga Instructor as taught by Yogi Bhajan. She has done B.A. In Religious Studies and also trained in Iyengar yoga. Here is her story. You can find Stacie over here. Join Stacie on Sept 10 and 11th 2011 for a Chair Yoga Teacher Training. More details here.