Accessible Yoga: Chair Sun Salutation

Sun Salutation can also be done as a seated practice, which takes a little more imagination. There are two ways to approach the practice. One is to try to align movements in the chair with the traditional standing Sun Salutation so they could be practiced side by side. Another approach is to be more creative with the movements and focus on moving with the breath, getting as many major muscle groups involved as possible.

Generally, try to inhale when you bend back (spinal extension) and exhale when you bend forward (spinal or hip flexion). Sun Salutation is, by defini­tion, a series of flowing movements coordinated with the breath. Use your imagination, and see what type of chair Sun Salutation you can create. The chair can be against a wall for support or on a yoga mat to provide more traction. When practicing in a chair, be careful to keep the bulk of your weight in the chair to avoid falling out of it.

See also How to Use a Wall for Sun Salutation

For many people, chair Sun Salutation offers a way to continue a much-loved practice in the face of injury or illness. The flow of breath and move­ment is soothing to the mind and nervous system, and it can help bring us back to the body during times of anxiety or stress. I remember one student with multiple sclerosis who was dealing with extreme fatigue. Some days she had enough energy to practice a standing Sun Salutation, and some days she preferred to sit in a chair. But either way she was able to experience this powerful moving meditation.

To begin, come to chair Mountain Pose, feet firmly planted on the floor with your knees over your ankles and your thighs parallel to the floor. (For shorter legs, place a blanket or block under your feet. For longer legs, sit on a folded blanket). Sit toward the front of the chair with your spine long.

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

Exhale and bring your palms together in front of your chest.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUzMDAy/chair2.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16b00026ef” data-image-slug=”Chair2″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUzMDAy” data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUzMDAy/chair2.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUzMDAy/chair2.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUzMDAy/chair2.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUzMDAy/chair2.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUzMDAy/chair2.jpg” data-title=”Prayer Pose”> Inhale and place your hands back on your thighs. Lengthen your neck and come up with a long spine. Raise your arms up overhead and look up gently.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16b002278a” data-image-slug=”Chair4″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0″ data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg” data-title=”Upward Salute”>Exhale and release your leg. Lower your hands to your thighs, and hinge forward at your hips, keeping your neck and spine long. Slide your hands down your legs toward your feet and relax your neck.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif” data-image-id=”ci0258bd3a8000278a” data-image-slug=”ChairGif” data-public-id=”MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5″ data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif”>Inhale and rise up. Take hold of your left thigh and lift it toward your abdomen. Move your chest forward and look ahead.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16d00126ef” data-image-slug=”Chair7″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz” data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg”> Exhale and release your leg; return your hands to your knees. Round your back and lower your head into a seated Cat Pose.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUyODQ3/chair1.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16b001278a” data-image-slug=”Chair1″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUyODQ3″ data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUyODQ3/chair1.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUyODQ3/chair1.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUyODQ3/chair1.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUyODQ3/chair1.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MjUyODQ3/chair1.jpg” data-title=”Cat Pose”> Inhale, move your chest forward, and look up, coming into a seated Cow Pose.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NDQ5NjEw/chair5.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16c00126ef” data-image-slug=”Chair5″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NDQ5NjEw” data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NDQ5NjEw/chair5.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NDQ5NjEw/chair5.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NDQ5NjEw/chair5.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NDQ5NjEw/chair5.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NDQ5NjEw/chair5.jpg” data-title=”Cow Pose”> Exhale and round your back into a seated Cat Pose.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NTgwNjgy/chair8.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16d00026ef” data-image-slug=”Chair8″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NTgwNjgy” data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NTgwNjgy/chair8.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NTgwNjgy/chair8.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NTgwNjgy/chair8.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NTgwNjgy/chair8.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5NTgwNjgy/chair8.jpg” data-title=”Cat Pose”>Inhale and rise up. Take hold of your left thigh and lift it toward your abdomen. Move your chest forward and look ahead.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16d00126ef” data-image-slug=”Chair7″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz” data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4Mzgz/chair7.jpg”>Exhale and release your leg. Lower your hands to your thighs, and hinge forward at your hips, keeping your neck and spine long. Slide your hands down your legs toward your feet and relax your neck.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif” data-image-id=”ci0258bd3a8000278a” data-image-slug=”ChairGif” data-public-id=”MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5″ data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkzMDQ0MTc0MzMzNjc5/chairgif.gif”> Inhale and place your hands back on your thighs. Lengthen your neck and come up with a long spine. Raise your arms up overhead and look up gently.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16b002278a” data-image-slug=”Chair4″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0″ data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5Mzg0MDc0/chair4.jpg” data-title=”Upward Salute”>Exhale and bring your palms together in front of your chest.

” data-full-src=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4NTM4/chair3.jpg” data-image-id=”ci0258bd16b000278a” data-image-slug=”Chair3″ data-public-id=”MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4NTM4″ data-sizes=”(min-width: 675px) 700px, 100vw” data-srcset=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_320/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4NTM4/chair3.jpg 320w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_700/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4NTM4/chair3.jpg 700w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_960/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4NTM4/chair3.jpg 960w, https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/ar_3:2%2Cc_limit%2Ccs_srgb%2Cfl_progressive%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_1400/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4NTM4/chair3.jpg 1400w” data-thumbnail=”https://www.yogajournal.com/.image/c_fill%2Ccs_srgb%2Cg_face%2Ch_80%2Cq_auto:good%2Cw_80/MTY5MDkyODkwNjI5MzE4NTM4/chair3.jpg” data-title=”Prayer Pose”>            Exhale and bring your palms together in front of your chest.

Prayer Pose

Exhale and bring your palms together in front of your chest.

Accessible_Yoga_Cover

From Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body by Jivana Heyman © 2019 by J. Heyman. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.shambhala.com

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