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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 262-266

Chair Yoga

1 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
2 Department of Community and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India
3 Department of Yogic Art and Science, Visva Bharti University, West Bengal, India

Date of Submission12-Jan-2021
Date of Decision06-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance16-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saloni Malik
Department of Pulmonary Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JME.JME_5_21

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How to cite this article:
Dua R, Malik S, Bhadoria AS, Kumar R. Chair Yoga. J Med Evid 2021;2:262-6

How to cite this URL:
Dua R, Malik S, Bhadoria AS, Kumar R. Chair Yoga. J Med Evid [serial online] 2021 [cited 2023 Apr 2];2:262-6. Available from: http://www.journaljme.org/text.asp?2021/2/3/262/333956

  Introduction Top

Yoga is a holistic approach that involves physical, mental and spiritual practices that originated in ancient India.[1],[2] Yoga means the union of individual consciousness with the supreme consciousness by creating harmony between the body and the spirit by establishing control over mental signals.[3],[4] The word yoga is obtained from the Sanskrit core 'Yuj', which means-to attach, join, 'and it is aimed at uniting the human spirit with the Divine spirit'.[5],[6],[7]

Yoga is a promising mind-body practice with four standard main components including Asanas, Pranayama, relaxation and meditation.[8] Yoga may be as effective as or better than exercise at improving a variety of health-related outcome measures.[9]

Medicine is a healing profession but a sedentary lifestyle and prolonged sitting hour led to obesity, including abdominal fat gain among health care providers. Taxing work timings, stressful work environment, job-related stress and lack of will all contribute to adverse mental and emotional effects among doctors, nurses and other health care providers who may lead to exhaustion, lack of concentration, poor work enforcement, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and even suicidal tendencies.[10]

Chair yoga (CY) is a type of yoga that can be done anywhere, anytime, even within the confines of one's office/chamber and can be practiced even sitting in a chair. It takes a few minutes to perform, making it feasible within working hours and helps to maintain the physical fitness levels and reducing stress hormone levels.[11]

CY is all about adaptability; there is no need to use a particular type of chair; it can be done within the less availability of time and place, without any specific yoga chair. Any kind of stable chair, except those with wheels, is ideal and safe.[8] CY is well suited and beneficial to doctors, nurses, health care providers and older adults who cannot participate in standing yoga or strenuous exercise due to time or physiological constraints.[12]

  How to do Chair Yoga Top

The main components of practicing yoga on a chair are synchronised body movements with breathing and inner awareness. Skipping any part may not give desirable results. The primary purpose is to move the joints consciously by providing a gentle stretch to the muscles.

  Seated Mountain (Tadasana) Top


Sit on the chair with a straight spine and take a refreshing deep breath by developing awareness of the body. Keep the knees right over the heels (maintaining a right angle at the knee joint) by allowing a gap of at least two fists between the knees. Inhale and lift the arms by providing a gentle stretch to the body. Keep the arms straight and allow the body to stretch up. Engage your legs by lifting your toes and pressing firmly into all four corners of your feet.[13] Exhale, lower down the arms and relax the feet after 3–5 s holding. This is one cycle that can be repeated 3–5 times [Figure 1] and [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Seated Mountain Tadasana

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Figure 3: Chair Cat-Cow Stretch

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Seated Tadasana engages the core, corrects the posture and allows the lungs to expand. This asana corrects the body posture and develops inner awareness. The whole backbone is stretched and loosened, which helps to clear up the congestion of the spinal nerves at the points where they emerge from the spinal column.

  Chair Cat-Cow Stretch Top


The cat pose should be started by sitting on the chair with the hands-on thighs and sitting up tall. With the exhalation, round the back, pulling the abdomen to the spine. Tuck the tail bone-in and move the chin to the chest. Round the back maximally by pushing the mid-back towards the chair. Hold it for 3–5 s.[11]

Inhale, arch the spine backward by expanding the chest and lookup (if comfortable). The posture can be done with a straight neck also. Hold it for 3–5 s. This is one cycle that can be repeated 3–5 times[7] [Figure 3] and [Figure 4].{Figure 3}
Figure 4: Chair Cat-Cow Stretch

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Cat-cow posture allows gentle movements to the spinal column and kicks out the rigidness of the spinal muscles. The pose provides an increased blood circulation in the spinal column, which is constrained due to the continuous poor body posture and may result in decreased back pain. This asana also helps you relax and synchronise breath movements and ease some of the day's stress.[11],[14]

  Seated Twist Top


Sit on the chair comfortably by placing the palms on the knees. Take a deep breath in, and with the exhalation, turn back by bringing the left hand on the right knee and the right arm over the back of the chair. Turn the head and look at the right shoulder; feel the lengthening of the spine with the inhalation and a more profound twist with the exhalation. Hold for 5–10 s and return to the centre with the inhalation. Practice the same to the left side also by maintaining the coordination between breath and movements. This is one cycle that can be repeated 3–5 times[10] [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7].
Figure 5: Seated twist

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Figure 6: Seated twist

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Figure 7: Seated twist

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Seated backbone twist is a restorative yoga pose that uplift spinal mobility and promotes good digestion. Twisting postures help tone the abdominal muscles, massage the internal organs and help relieve lower back pain. The pose is often performed at the ending of the sequence, which is relaxing and revive in the nature.[10]

  Chair Pigeon-Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Top


Sit on the chair with the spine straight. Bring the right ankle to rest on your left thigh, keeping the knee in line with your ankle as much as possible. Hold the ankle with the right hand and rotate it smoothly. Inhale with the upward movement and exhale with the downward trend of the ankle. This cycle can be practiced 5–10 times, followed by the same repetitions in the reverse direction. One can bend forward to intensify the stretch if suitable. The practice should be repeated with the left leg also[12],[15] [Figure 8], [Figure 9], [Figure 10].
Figure 8: Chair Pigeon - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

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Figure 9: Chair Pigeon - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

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Figure 10: Chair Pigeon - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

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This asana opens the hip joint and removes the tension of the leg muscles by giving a gentle stretch and twist. The asana establishes the proper blood flow to all the leg joints, which become rigid due to the prolonged sitting of physical inactivity.

  Paschimottanasana (In between Two Chairs) Top


On a chair and place another one at the appropriate distance (measured by the length of your legs). The lower and upper one-third part of the legs should be supported on the chairs. Inhale, stretch the arms up and bend forward with the exhalation keeping the spine straight and arms straight. According to comfortability, one can hold the toes or the calf muscles, but the spine must be consecutive. Hold the posture for 3–5 deep breaths and return to the initial sitting posture with the inhalation. This is an advanced variation that helps to open the tightness of posterior leg muscles and increase the forward extension [Figure 11].
Figure 11: Paschimotanasana (In between two chairs)

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This asana stretches the hamstring muscles and increases flexibility in hip joints. It tones and massages the whole abdominal and pelvic region, including the liver, pancreas, spleen, urogenital system, kidneys and adrenal glands. This asana also helps to remove excess weight in the abdominal area and stimulate circulation to the nerves and muscles of the spine.[10],[16] This asana may be beneficial in the varicose veins also.

  Anulom-Vilom Pranayama Top


AnulomVilom is a specific type of controlled breathing (pranayama). It involves holding one nostril closed while inhaling, then having the other nostril closed while exhaling. The process is then reversed and repeated [Figure 12].
Figure 12: Anulom-Vilom Pranayama

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Alternate nostril breathing is said to have many physical and psychological benefits, including stress reduction and improved breathing and circulation. There is scientific evidence that supports some of these claims.[17]

  Conclusion Top

CY is a beneficial tool for Doctors, Nurses and all health care providers who suffer from time deficits and high-stress levels because of taxing workload.

'Chair pose is a defiance of spirit, showing how high you can reach even when you're forced down.'

By: Terri Guillemets.

CY, while being suitable for their health, takes minimum time and needs no particular space. It is a boon for a healthy body, but it also helps reduce mental fatigue and stress levels and improves concentration while boosting mood.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Feuerstein G. The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy, and Practice. US and Canada: SCB Distributors; 2012.  Back to cited text no. 1
Yoga; 2020. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Yoga&action=history. [Last accessed on 2021 Jan 01].  Back to cited text no. 2
Taneja DK. Yoga and health. Indian J Community Med 2014;39:68.  Back to cited text no. 3
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Swami SH. In: Tehran Rafer R, editor. Yoga Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. New Delhi. India: Sales Publication; 2003. p. 33-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
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Lomas T, Etcoff N, Van Gordon W, Shonin E. Zen and the art of living mindfully: The health-enhancing potential of Zen aesthetics. J Relig Health 2017;56:1720-39.  Back to cited text no. 6
Taibi DM, Vitiello MV. A pilot study of gentle yoga for sleep disturbance in women with osteoarthritis. Sleep Med 2011;12:512-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
Park J, McCaffrey R, Newman D, Cheung C, Hagen D. The effect of Sit 'n' Fit Chair Yoga among community-dwelling older adults with osteoarthritis. Holist Nurs Pract 2014;28:247-57.  Back to cited text no. 8
Park J, McCaffrey R. Chair yoga: Benefits for community-dwelling older adults with osteoarthritis. J Gerontol Nurs 2012;38:12-22.  Back to cited text no. 9
Saraswati SS, Hiti JK. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. Bihar, India: Yoga Publications Trust; 1996.  Back to cited text no. 10
Allinahealth. Five Benefits of Chair Yoga and Six Poses to Get Started. Available from: https://account.allinahealth.org/dashboard/#. [Last accessed on 2017 Jun 02].  Back to cited text no. 11
Verywellfit. 10 Chair Yoga Poses for Home Practice. Available from: https://www.verywellfit.com/. [Last accessed on 2020 Feb 26].  Back to cited text no. 12
Goldberg RM, Kuhn G, Andrew LB, Thomas HA Jr. Coping with medical mistakes and errors in judgment. Ann Emerg Med 2002;39:287-92.  Back to cited text no. 13
Robertson JJ, Long B. Suffering in silence: Medical error and its impact on health care providers. J Emerg Med 2018;54:402-9.  Back to cited text no. 14
Furtado GE, Uba-Chupel M, Carvalho HM, Souza NR, Ferreira JP, Teixeira AM. Effects of a chair-yoga exercises on stress hormone levels, daily life activities, falls and physical fitness in institutionalized older adults. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2016;24:123-9.  Back to cited text no. 15
Solutions to Fat Loss. “ How to Lose Weight and be Slim and Fit in Body Soul and Mind”; 2019. Available from: https://www.solutiontofatloss.com/. [Last accessed on 2021].  Back to cited text no. 16
Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/anulom-vilom-pranayama#What-is-anulom-vilom?. [Last accessed on 2021].  Back to cited text no. 17


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8], [Figure 9], [Figure 10], [Figure 11], [Figure 12]


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  In this article
How to do Chair Yoga
Seated Mountain ...
Chair Cat-Cow St...
Seated Twist
Chair Pigeon-Eka...
Anulom-Vilom Pra...
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