ABOUT CHAIR YOGA

Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga™ is based on the 5000-year-old yoga postures (called asanas) and breathing techniques plus other Eastern and Western movements her students find beneficial.  Lakshmi has modified these poses for the chair making the health and fitness benefits accessible to everyone.

In addition to adapting the poses for use on a chair, she has modified them to take into account the fact that everyone has a different level of flexibility (or range of motion).  Therefore, Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga™ is presented in low, moderate and high posture levels so you can learn how to adapt them to your personal needs.  She has even accounted for varying degrees of flexibility in your upper and lower body as well as your right and left sides.  This innovative fitness approach makes her chair yoga programs suitable for all ages and all fitness levels.

Your level of flexibility may vary from day-to-day; so, vary your posture levels to ones that are comfortable for you while practicing chair yoga.  Remember, that no matter the level of flexibility you achieve on any given day, you are receiving all the health benefits of Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga™.

In addition to the postures and movements, these chair yoga classes are a more complete form of exercise than most because they incorporate proper breathing.

You learn beneficial breathing techniques that are a key aspect of reaching optimum health.  These deep breathing techniques more fully oxygenate your body and massage your organs.  This improves your energy and mental clarity while reducing pain and anxiety.  Following the breathing techniques, not only during your chair yoga, but throughout your daily life, significantly enhances your health and well-being.


FOUR VARIATIONS OF LAKSHMI VOELKER CHAIR YOGA ™

SINGLE CHAIR YOGA:

You all know how to sit on a chair but do you sit in good postural alignment? Incorporating the Mountain pose brings you into good postural alignment on the chair.  You then use the chair as a tool to assist you in all of your yoga asanas.

Every chair you sit on (from the dining room to the office or airplane) becomes an opportunity to sit in alignment and practice yoga–to open, extend, lengthen, curl, twist, breathe, and meditate.  Whether it is Hatha, Kripalu, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Restorative, or whatever version of yoga you choose to practice, you can do so (practice) on your chair.

This includes you in a wheelchair.  It is no longer a limitation to your good health and well-being.  You put yourself into the yoga asanas of your choice (to the best of your ability) to work with each and every one of your challenges.

DOUBLE CHAIR YOGA:

In double chair yoga, you add a second chair (with arms) to enhance the support for the asanas (postures) such as the forward bend, the cobblers pose, or the pigeon.  You sit on the first chair using the second chair (sometimes with the back toward you and sometimes with the back away from you) to support your legs.  This makes more asanas achievable to those with even greatly restricted flexibility.

You can use the arms of the second chair (with its back facing away from you) to fold and stretch forward easily and effortlessly.  With the second chair in this position, you can rest your arms and forehead on the seat to lengthen the back and to achieve the child’s pose (if needed, with the aid of pillows on the seat of the second chair) to perform this restorative pose.

You can turn the second chair with its back facing you to put your legs either over or under its arms to gently open the hips.  You can put the second chair diagonally to either side and place one leg on it to achieve a modified head-to-knee pose.  You can even add a third chair and place them diagonally to each side placing one leg on each chair to create a wonderful inner thigh stretch.  The “options” are up to you—be creative.

PAIR CHAIR YOGA:

In pair chair yoga, you and a partner perform asanas (such as the tree, peaceful warrior, and assisted forward and back bends) by physically interacting with each other.  Many of you doing chair yoga are in situations where you have limited tactile contact with others.  You now have the opportunity to work with another performing asanas while in physical contact.

Additionally, you and your partner can massage each other’s backs, necks, and feet depending on the pair chair yoga pose.  Pair chair yoga is fun and allows the partners to communicate with one another and to assist each other with their partner yoga poses.  This additional physical and mental stimulation adds to the benefits you derive from chair yoga.

WEIGHTED CHAIR YOGA:

By using 1 or 2 pound weights in each hand, you get the benefit of additional muscle and bone mass building beyond what you derive from doing chair yoga without weights!  Some weight-bearing exercise is needed to maintain muscle and bone mass (just ask any astronaut who has been weightless for more than a few days).

For example, while executing the peaceful warrior with your arms straight up over your head, you can hold the weights in your hands for added stretch and strength or put the weights together and bend your arms back at the elbows to create a good triceps builder while building bone mass!