Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned yogi, Chair Yoga is a gentle practice that anyone can do. You can do Chair Yoga alone while listening to the music of your choice, or with a group in a class environment. Some of Chair Yoga’s benefits include:
Chair yoga is a type of yoga that uses a chair or couch instead of a mat, as an aid during meditation and poses. The chair yoga practice can be an effective way to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. You can do many chair yoga poses without the chair, but the chair yoga poses are done while seated on the chair and they can involve more of the body than a simple standing pose. There are many different chair yoga poses you can do, but here we’ll be focusing on the basics.
Everyone knows that yoga is a great exercise, but the practice can also be relaxing, especially when done over a long period of time. One of the best ways to take yoga to a higher level and experience a deeper sense of relaxation is with chair yoga poses. Since you are sitting in one place, you will be in a position to practice safe, deep breathing to relax your mind and body.
You’ve been practicing yoga for some time, maybe even teaching it, and you know almost all the names of the postures precisely….. even in Sanskrit. You know the difference between Warrior I and Warrior II, and your vinyasa is perfect.
But what do you know about the origins of these attitudes and the meaning of their names? Why do we do it? Here’s a look at four popular yoga poses and what they mean.
Mountain pose or Tadasana
There’s a lot more to this pose than meets the eye. In Sanskrit, this posture is commonly known as Tadasana – tada meaning mountain and asana meaning posture. But this pose has a different name: Samasthiti. Sama means straight, upright and unmoving, and sthiti means standing still.
This attitude is supposed to evoke the peace, strength and power of the mountain. According to B.K.S. Iyengar, many of us don’t pay attention to the way we stand, resulting in us injuring or unbalancing our spine and hips.
By consciously standing in the mountain pose, with the knees, hips and torso balanced and weight evenly distributed on the feet, we create a lightness in the body that creates mobility in the mind. This posture allows you to root yourself, to anchor yourself in the earth, and to invite lasting energy into your body.
Baby pose or Balasana
Child’s posture (bala), a posture that provides deep satisfaction after a long day or intensive yoga practice, is said to evoke a sense of security – similar to what we experienced as children, even before birth.
The child’s pose or Balasana consists of cultivating the childlike curiosity that we lose as adults. In a sense, we surrender to the earth and return to the depths of ourselves.
As Alanna Caivaglia says: This is one of the paradoxes of yoga philosophy: We must first remember our divine nature, and once we are anchored in it, we must forget it again to remain in the world.
Virabhadrasana II, named after the fearless warrior Virabhadra, who is said to have defeated his enemies with a thousand hands, is designed to channel strength and determination.
There are many different versions of the story behind the creation of this pose, but at its core, the philosophy behind it originated on the battlefield or after an epic battle. In this sense, we can look at the difficulties in our lives with the metaphor of the battlefield and use the strength of the warrior to persevere.
You’ve probably heard your yoga teacher say that this is the most important pose in class, and you may have greeted this with some skepticism. This pose is also known as mrtasana or corpse pose, and as lugubrious as it sounds, yes, the goal is to stay still.
By remaining perfectly still, without falling asleep, we can exist in complete awareness, (ideally) in total peace of mind and body, without the pressure of worldly problems. It allows us to reconnect with ourselves to understand ourselves deeply and become one with ourselves. This is the main purpose of yoga: to teach us about ourselves.
As Lao Tzu said, no thought, no action, no movement, total silence: this is the only way to manifest the true nature and law of things from within and unconsciously, and to ultimately become one with heaven and earth.
The next time you’re doing yoga, doing a pose and your mind wanders, try to focus on the intention of the pose. Let the name of the pose guide you, and go through the spirit of that name.
Whether it is the steadiness of a mountain, the strength of a warrior or the stillness of a corpse, the names of yoga postures have meaning. And if you want to dive into the process yourself, check out these yoga blogs to see how yoga students, enthusiasts and teachers around the world are making yoga a mainstay of their lifestyle. See how this helps you along and get inspired by the practice.
Photo credits: Drini AguilarIf you’re looking for a yoga pose that’s appropriate for all ages and variety levels, check out this list of 5 variations from Wild Yogi . The pose here is called ” Cobbler,” which is also known as “Shoulder Stand” and “Ustrasana” (Sanskrit, which means “to support or raise up the spine from the buttocks”). The name, by the way, comes from the way the posture looks when your toes are just touching the floor, and you feel your body weight pressing down on your hands and arms.. Read more about chair yoga poses for hips and let us know what you think.
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