Side by side comparison of standard and tall yoga chairs
If you want to create more space and length in your body then a yoga chair can be the perfect assistant. A yoga chair is typically a metal folding chair with the back removed to create extra space for the body.
Difficult poses like upward facing dog and back bends can be practiced with better alignment using the chair and protect the body from unnecessary wear and tear. For those with stiff bodies and injuries, the yoga chair creates modifications for otherwise difficult poses. It can also be used to warm up the body before attempting more difficult poses and assist in strengthening the core. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Place the chair in front of you with the seat of the chair facing you. While kneeling, bend your elbows and clasp your hands together. Bend at the waist and place your elbows and biceps on the chair with the forearm and hands toward the ceiling. Relax your head between the arms and breath deeply between the shoulders.
Place the chair about the length of your leg away from a wall. With a yoga mat folded along the edge of the back of the chair, sit through chair backwards with your sits bones on the mat at the edge of the chair. Pull any extra flesh from the buttocks down towards your hamstrings. Hold onto each side of the back of the chair, breathe deeply and extend the spine upward, then lean back slowly while exhaling, maintaining grip on the chair. Then extend legs until feet reach the wall and feel an extension along the length of the body. Breathe deeply for a few breaths, then let your feet touch the floor, use your arms to help pull your body up, making sure that the head is the last to ascend.
Sit sideways in the middle to edge of the chair seat with your feet firmly on the floor, feet parallel and knees above ankles. Hold each side of the back of the chair with each hand. With bottom rooted, take a deep breath in through the nose, lengthen spin upward, breathe out and twist the spine in the direction of the back of the chair, using your arms to help. Do not move the head first. Make sure it is the torso that is twisting. After each turn scan your body. What has tightened and what can be let go? Are your shoulders rising? Release them. Are your hips moving? Try to keep your hips in alignment to create solid foundation for your movement in the spine as you move the rib cage. Now sit on the other side of the chair and do it again on the other side.