Chair Masters Yoga


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Basically, I look for the essence of what an asana does for me inside, and then search for how I can still access that muscle stretch ( or whatever) in a smaller range of motion or seated in a chair or with the back of the chair available for balance support. How can I do cat/cow without putting any body weight on my knees? How can I access some of the sensations of child’s pose without getting onto the floor?

An example: lotus looks inaccessible to people in this class if they look at a picture of someone doing it. We sit on the forward edge of our chairs and rest the outer edge of one foot on the floor, allowing that knee to fall gently to the side. Ah! there’s  the outer rotation of the thigh bone. And then we might sense the pelvis tilted slightly forward in response. Oh! the erect spine that occurs creates an opening for breath and awareness!  Ruby, a former student at 101 years old, was doing this in her motorized wheelchair even after she stopped transferring to a regular chair when she came to class.   So, some people can do both legs out at once, some cannot be comfortable  that way. Some poeple put the edge-foot up on a block, or 2 blocks. There may be as many variations as there are students.

I use flow sparingly, mostly when the asanas are easy and familiar. More of the time, we take awhile to get there, even after warming up all of the joints at the very beginning of class, (see beginning of Chair Masters book or videdo) and spend about 3 breaths in a pose. It really depends on who’s there on any given day, and what they are eager for, what the body issues are at the moment.

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