This beginner-friendly Chair Sun Salutation is an especially helpful sequence for newer yogis, as it offers an approachable way for you to connect with your body and breath. Using a chair can also provide variety and feed creativity for more experienced yoga practitioners. Wherever you are in your yoga journey, use this practice as a touchstone to help you develop confidence and launch you into further asana exploration.
This sequence by Michael Hayes of Buddha Body Yoga takes you through a basic Sun Salutation using a chair as a prop. Place a sturdy chair against the wall with the two front legs on the yoga mat for stability. You’ll feel more at ease knowing that the chair is secure. Have a yoga block or two handy as well.
As you practice, work toward smooth movements, flowing in the “one breath, one movement” style.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Stand in front of your chair, balancing your weight evenly between your feet. Place your toes slightly under the chair with your feel parallel. Keep your arms and hands down by your sides, palms facing the wall. Feel your arms lengthening, as if they were elongating from your shoulders and sending invisible threads down through your fingers to the floor. Scan your body; notice how it feels. Press the balls of your feet down as you inhale your arms up. Press your palms together and look up at your thumbs.
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
Exhale, spreading your arms apart and lowering them down. Keep your knees slightly bent as you slowly lower your torso toward your thighs. Release your hands to the chair. Let your head rest on a yoga block.
Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend)
Inhale, press your hands against the seat of the chair, lengthen your arms and lift your torso so that it is parallel to the floor. Elongate your spine, creating space for your organs.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Place your hands flat on the chair with pinkies at the edge of the seat. Step the right, then your left leg, toward the back of the mat. Keep firm contact with the chair as you lengthen your back and press your hips away from your hands. Reach your sitting bones up, creating an acute angle with your body. Maintain length in your spine and legs; engage and lift the abs. Keep your head between your arms and focus your gaze on the floor.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
From Downward Facing Dog, inhale, press into the seat of the chair and roll onto the balls of your feet, sweeping your torso and pelvis toward the chair. Lengthening your arms, lift your chest toward the ceiling and lower your hips, arching your back any amount. Turn the face and eyes up toward the ceiling. Return to Downward Facing Dog by sweeping the body down and back, pressing the hips toward the back of the mat.
Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose I)
From Downward Facing Dog, inhale and step your left foot forward so that it lands under the chair. Bend your left knee. (It may touch, but should not press into the seat of the chair.) Spin your back heel down, internally rotating your back thigh. Aim the right toes aim toward the top right section of your mat. Make sure the hips are parallel to the front of the chair. Exhale. Inhale and lift your torso and arms up as you press down through the feet. Option: Take your arms into a “t” shape at shoulder height with your palms facing down. Spread your fingers and open up your chest. Step forward to Tadasana on an exhale. Repeat the sequence stepping into Warrior Pose I with your right foot forward.