Updated: Sep 7, 2018
Improve balance, proprioception and alignment with a chair
When one of my private clients noted their struggle with balance due to a muscle disease, I decided to incorporate chair yoga into our practice. The chair gave her confidence to move from solely seated postures to standing postures. Warrior 2, Crescent Lunge, Goddess...these standing poses were not accessible until we incorporated the chair.
Even if these poses are accessible sans chair, there are other reasons to use the chair in your personal practice.
Even if you have a strong physical practice without a chair, leveraging the chair can improve proprioception. In other words, you gain a deeper awareness about where your body is in space without having to look at a specific area of the body. How many times does the hip pop open in Virabhadrasana IIII (Warrior 3) or Parvrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon)? All the time. From the teacher perspective, you might cue, "Close the hip," but you see little adjustments because students believe their hip is in the right space. This is where the chair comes in handy!
In this revolved half moon, the feedback from the chair allows me to note the feeling of a stable pelvis while I twist through the thoracic spine, rather than the lumbar spine or opening the left hip, causing instability in the pelvis region. If you're focused on form, alignment, and building aligned muscle memory, consider the chair.
Self Assists & Deeper Twists
While adjustments by another instructor can help you move deeper the posture, only you know your safe limits as you move deeper into an asana. After all, you're the one experiencing the sensations in your body, not your teacher. The chair can help to slowly deepen into a twist, while you listen to your body identify your stopping point. This applies to back-bends as well. Looking to move gradually deeper into a pose? Use the chair as your personal assistant.
If you found this helpful or if you have questions, please leave a comment below!