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You Can Engage and Energize Your Body Without Leaving Your Chair

You work hard. Doesn't your body deserve a break? This chair yoga sequence is perfect for workdays—or any day.

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This sequence from Mindful Chair Yoga Deck by Jennifer Cohen Harper and Mayuri Gonzales can be done from almost anywhere and is appropriate for kids and adults. Get the book here.

See also: An Accessible Yoga Practice You Can Do In a Chair

Belly Breath

Carlos Bido

Sit tall with your feet on the floor and your hands on your belly. This is Seated Mountain. Breathe in and let your belly soften and expand, and as you breathe out, draw your belly in. Continue for a few breaths.

Do you notice any changes in the rest of your body. 

See also 5 Pranayama Techniques With the Power to Transform Your Practice – & Your Life

Seated Forward Fold

Carlos Bido

Let’s start to energize and engage your core. Poses 2-4 can be done 5 + times each, but stay connected to your breath.

Sit toward the front of your chair. Pull your belly button in for support. Create a reverse crunch by tapping your fingers to your knees, and then to your ankles or shins. Repeat, playing with the speed. When you’re done, hold the forward fold for a breath or two.

Where can you feel your body stretching? 

See also: The Truth About Forward Bends

Side Leaning Stretch

Carlos Bido

Keep your core engaged. Breathe in and when you exhale, reach to the right. Inhale center, exhale and reach left. Alternate sides for several more rounds.

How does the sensation change if you bring your hands closer to the ground? 

See also The Anatomy of a Satisfying Side Stretch

Knee Taps

Carlos Bido

Sit tall. Lift your right knee. Rotate your torso towards and bring your left elbow to your knee. Switch sides. Add some simple breathwork:

Inhale in the center, exhale to twist.

What parts of your body can you feel working? 

See also: Let’s Twist Again

Seated Pigeon

Carlos Bido

Poses 5-7 will help you release lower body tension. Hold each pose for 30-60 seconds. Do 5-7 on one side, then switch.

Bring your right ankle to rest on your left thigh. Keep your top knee in line with your ankle as much as possible. Gently flex your foot. Inhale, sit tall, and lean forward just until you feel the stretch. Hold and breath.

Does the sensation change on the inhale and exhale? 

See also The Benefits of Pigeon Pose

Extended Leg Stretch

Carlos Bido

Sit tall. Lean back. Hug your right knee into your chest. With your foot flexed, extend your right leg. Hold your right hamstring, calf, or the sides of your foot. Choose the version that feels right for you today and breathe slowly for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Does the stretch feel the same on both sides?

See also Poses for Your Hamstrings

Twisted Pigeon

Carlos Bido

Bring your right ankle back to your left knee. Twist to the left and bring your left forearm or elbow to the sole of your foot. Allow your left shoulder to move back into a twist. You might want to hold onto the chair with your left hand for support.

Does the sensation stay the same or change over time?

Come back to Seated Mountain and explore the other side.

See also Twist Your Way to Less Back Pain

Warrior II

Carlos Bido

Poses 8-10 will engage your strength and build personal power. Explore all three on one side first, then switch.

Turn so you’re sitting sideways with your right side to the back of your chair. Keep your right leg on the chair. Step your left leg back and extend your arms into Warrior II.

Do the sensations in your body change if you turn your palms up vs. down? 

See also Tap the Wisdom of the Warrior

Extended Side Angle

Carlos Bido

Bring your right forearm to your right leg. Reach your left arm overhead with your palm facing down. If it feels comfortable, look up towards your left elbow. Keep pressing through both feet and get as long as possible.

What changes in your body if you look down? 

See also Extended Side Angle Pose

Reverse Warrior

Carlos Bido

Lift up to Warrior II. Release your left arm down and stretch your right arm up. If it’s comfortable, look up toward your right hand. Keep lifting your heart and explore stretching through your fingers to find a gentle backbend.

Can you keep your breath steady as you backbend?

Come back to seated mountain pose and complete poses 8-10 on the other side

See also How to Make Back Bends More Enjoyable

Body Scan

Carlos Bido

Return to Seated Mountain. Close your eyes or rest them on one spot. Bring attention to your breathing. Scan your body from feet to head, and notice how you are feeling.

Do you notice any parts of your body that feel tense or uncomfortable? If so, is there anything you can do to help?

See also: Come to Your Senses