A new wellness trend is on the rise and everyone can join in. From being able to get your om on in the office to a straight-up park bench, chair yoga might just be the most flexible — literally! — way to work out.
The benefits are similar to those we can reap from other types of yoga — like reduced anxiety and an increase in energy and flexibility. The only difference is this new version can be done while sitting on a chair. Yes, sitting.
In a 2012 study, the International Journal of Yoga looked at the impact of chair yoga on seniors 65 and older. After participating in chair yoga classes twice a week for eight weeks, the men and women involved started recognizing a big difference in their quality of life. From changes in their anxiety to better mobility, the data suggested chair yoga is helpful in more ways than one.
Chair yoga isn't just great for seniors, either: the benefits of doing chair yoga in the middle of a busy work day are plentiful as well. Yoga is a physical exercise as well as a mindfulness practice, which can help reduce stress and get new energy flowing throughout your body just when you feel like you're about to crash. The next time you start to feel the midday blues, just push back your chair and hop into this pigeon pose:
Great news, parents: there have been similar benefits with children. Chair yoga requires no materials other than a seat, making it an easily accessible and affordable form of exercise for little ones, too. Studies have shown that yoga as a form of therapy has been particularly successful for children with behavior problems and learning disabilities, including autism.
And, of course, chair yoga — which is probably a step above bed yoga on the lazy scale — is the perfect solution for those of us who feel like we should exercise, but don't want to roll out our mats and get on the floor.