Two of the six weekly classes I lead are called Chair Yoga, and I’ll admit that when we’re all seated together at the beginning of class, it looks a bit like an adult version of Musical Chairs. (For those of you who didn’t grow up playing Musical Chairs,—what are you, from Mars?—it’s a game where there’s a circle of chairs, music playing and a bunch of players who walk around them, then sit really fast once the music stops. All well and good except there are less chairs than players, so hilarity ensues when frantic people wind up in other people’s laps and are instantly expelled from the game. This rarely happens in Chair Yoga.)
I expected practicing yoga with the support of a chair to be good for people for whom “regular” yoga presented too many challenges to joints, hearts or balance. What I didn’t expect was how rich and authentic the practice can feel.
One student, an experienced practitioner whose mobility is compromised by an argumentative knee, worried that yoga with a chair wouldn’t be “real.” But as we moved through modified Sun Salutations and pose flows, finding our way into the same nooks and crannies more traditional practices invite access to, her outlook began to change.
Consider what the chair represents; the ability to connect with breath, movement and awareness while being held in a safe, accessible and supportive space. It doesn’t get more authentic than that.
Will someone start the music, please?