Gentle chair yoga routine


Hello and welcome to this 25 minute chair
yoga routine developed by the therapists in the LEAP Service at Toronto Rehab Rumsey Centre. In this video, we hope to show you that yoga
doesn’t have to be hard to be effective. These gentle postures can help improve your
breathing, range of motion, strength, and flexibility. Cara and Allison will be showing you different
levels of difficulty for each exercise so you can pick and choose what works for your
body. Remember to listen to yourself and stop if
you feel pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Before you start, you will need to find a
firm-backed chair without wheels, a towel or strap can be helpful for some, and make
sure that you’re well hydrated. Let’s begin by taking a few mindful, deep
breaths in and out, through the nose, if possible. As you breathe, feel your feet grounding down
through the floor, and feel the crown of your head reaching upwards towards the sky. Sitting in a tall, dignified position, drawing
the belly in slightly, and if you can, move your back away from the back of the chair
to engage more of the core muscles. Feel the rise and fall of the belly as you
breathe, and relax any obvious areas of tension throughout the body. If there are any exercises you would like
to skip over during this program, you can always come back to this position and breathe
deeply. We will call this position Tall Mountain Pose. So starting in Tall Mountain Pose, begin to
inhale, sit tall, and gently look up. Arch your back as much as is comfortable for
you, then exhale and curl into a C shape. Look down to your belly. Good! We’ll do this 5 times at your own pace. Inhale, look up, draw your shoulders back,
and then exhale, curl and round forward. Feel the spine moving and flexing. Notice where the movement comes easily and
where the movement is more challenging. Feel the stretch through the spine. Last one. Now moving into seated or standing Sun Salutations. Inhale, and lift your arms forward and up
as high as you can, then exhale, bring your palms together, lower the arms to your chest,
inhale, open the arms wide, exhale, lower the arms down. 4 more times. Inhale, reach the arms up, looking to the
fingers, exhale, palms together and down. Big breath in, bring the arms out to a T shape,
exhale, lower and release. Inhale, looking up, exhale, palms together
and down. Inhale, reach and open arms wide, exhale,
lower the arms. Inhale, arms reach up as high as you can,
palms come together as you exhale and lower arms down to chest. Inhale, open, and exhale release. Last one, inhale, arms up, exhale palms draw
together and down. Inhale arms to a T shape, and exhale, release. Great! Now moving into a seated spinal twist. Sitting in Tall Mountain, inhale, when you’re
ready, exhale, begin to look over the right shoulder. You can hook your right elbow behind the back
of the chair if you like. Exhale and come back to Tall Mountain. Same thing on the left side. Inhale, and exhale looking over the left shoulder. Hook the left arm around the back of the chair
if you like. One breath, then exhale and release. Let’s do that again on each side. Inhale, exhale, twisting to the right. For more challenge, you can reach the right
arm out behind you. Exhale come back to Tall Mountain. Inhale, turn to the left, reach the left arm
straight back if you like, gazing at the fingers, take a breath, then exhale, come back to Tall
Mountain. Next we’ll to seated Half Moon Pose. Inhale, and bring your arms up into a T shape. Relax the shoulders away from the ears, turn
the right palm up, and reach to the right. Good. Now come back to center, turn the left palm
up, and reach to the left. Breathe. Come back to center. Release the arms. Take a breath here. We’ll do that one more time. Reach the arms up, right palm turns up, and
reach over to the right side. Exhale back to center. Inhale, reach to the left. Breathe. Exhale back to center. Lower the arms. Let’s do seated Child’s Pose next. On an exhale, round your spine, and let your
torso drop over your knees. Your knees can be together like Cara’s or
wide apart, like Allison’s. Dangle the arms. Relax the head and shoulders. Breathe deeply in and out. Slowly coming back up to seated Tall Mountain
Pose. Roll the shoulders. Now place your right forearm across both thighs. Reach your left arm to the ground beside your
foot. Inhale, reach the left arm up as you gaze
to the fingers. Seated Angle Pose. Hold for a breath, and then exhale, drop the
arm down, and sit back up into Tall Mountain Pose. Now take your left forearm to the thighs,
dangle the right arm down, gaze to the fingers, inhale, reach up, exhale, reach the arm down. Sitting up into Tall Mountain. One more time on each side. Starting with the right forearm on the thighs,
and dangling the left arm down beside your foot. On an inhale, reach the arm up, and look to
the fingers. Hold for a breath. As you exhale, lower the arm down. Sit back up. Roll shoulders. Now place your left forearm on your thighs,
reach the right arm down, inhale, looking up. Exhale, lower back down. Sitting tall, roll the shoulders if you like. Bring your palms and elbows together like
Allison, or wind your forearms around one another like Cara. Start with the right arm underneath the left
arm if you’re winding the forearms. Breathe into the shoulder blades. Sitting tall, and pressing the palms together. Lift the elbows a little higher. Release, and roll the shoulders. We’ll repeat that again. This time if you’re crossing the arms like
Cara, cross the right arm on top of the left arm. Press the palms together. Inhale, and exhale. Lift the elbows. Breathe between the shoulder blades. Release. Shake it out. Well done. Roll the shoulders forwards and backwards
a few times. Now grab a towel or strap if you like. We are going to do some single knee circles. Reach under the right thigh with both hands
or a towel/strap. Circle the knee 3 times in one direction,
then change directions. Now cross the right ankle on top of the left
knee for a hip stretch. Reach the arms up if you like, as you inhale,
and then exhale, lean as far forward over the legs as you can, until you feel a stretch. Hold and breathe here. Inhale, release out of the pose and shake
your legs out. We’ll start with single knee circles on the
left leg. Grab your towel/strap, or reach your hands
behind your knee. Circle 3 times one direction, and 3 times
the other direction. Now cross your ankle on top of the thigh,
or cross your legs at the knee like Allison. Exhale and lean forward until you feel a stretch. Good. Focus on deep breaths in and out. Inhale, and release. Shake the legs out. Sitting forward in your chair, straighten
the right leg and keep the left knee bent. Inhale the arms up, and exhale lean forward,
keep both hands resting on the left thigh. Feeling a stretch in the right hamstring and
calf. If you like you can reach for your right toes. Hold for a few breaths. Relax through the shoulders and face. Breathing deeply. Inhale sitting back up and changing sides. Stretch out the left leg, inhale, reach the
arms up, and exhale, lean forward. Place the hands on the right thigh. Reach for the left toes if you like. Breathe deeply. Try to keep the spine long, and the shoulders
relaxed. Breathing in and breathing out. Feeling the stretch in the left hamstring
and calf. Inhale, sitting back up. Now it’s time to stand up. We’ll do some poses to work on balance and
strength, using the chair for stability. Hold onto the chair with your left hand. Slowly lift the right heel, ball, then toes
off the ground, and bicycle the legs 3 times forward, and then 3 times backwards. You can try circling the wrist at the same
time. Now for Tree Pose. Place the right foot on the inner calf or
thigh (avoiding the knee area). Open the right knee to the side, reach the
right arm up if you can. Hold for 3 breaths. Exhale, and release. Let’s repeat this on the left side. Holding onto the chair with your right hand. Begin by lifting the foot and bicycling the
knee 3 times forward, and then 3 times backwards. Now for Tree Pose. If you can, bring the foot to the inner calf
or thigh (avoid the knee area). You can try to reach one arm up, or bring
the palms together at your chest. Ground down through
the standing leg. Exhale, release. Now for chair assisted Downward Dog Pose. Face the chair. Place the hands on the back of the chair,
shoulder distance apart, and feet are hip distance apart. Walk the legs back. Lower the chest downwards until the head comes
between the upper arms. Hold here for 5 breaths. Inhale, walk slowly back towards the chair. Chair assisted Warrior Pose. Step the right foot back. Right heel angled in and right toes pointing
out. Try to straighten the right leg, and bend
the left knee. Place the hands on the hips if you can. Hold here. Press down through the back heel to feel a
stretch in the calf muscle. Lift the chest up, shoulder blades draw together
and down. Release, and step forward. When you’re ready, step the left foot back. Bend the right knee. Feel free to choose any hand position you
like. Holding onto the chair, or bringing your hands
to the hips, or palms together. Press through the back heel. Lift the chest. Draw the shoulders back. Most importantly, breathing deeply. Good, now stepping forward again. We’ll come back to the chair. Sitting down in Tall Mountain. Stretching through the neck. Inhale, and exhale, drop the right ear to the
right shoulder. Take a few breaths. Relaxing through the left side of the neck. Inhale, up, now exhale over to the left. Left ear towards the left shoulder. Stretch the right side of the neck. Breathing steadily and gently. Inhale to come up. Tuck your chin in, and exhale gaze down to
your chest. Stretching through the back of the neck. Keep the shoulders relaxing down, away from
the ears. Breathe. Inhale, release. Congratulations! You’ve completed all the exercises in this
routine. We will close now with a quick breathing relaxation. Find a comfortable position in your chair. Settle your body into the supports beneath
you. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, release any obvious areas of
tension from the body. Let your breathing be effortless and relaxed. Inviting a sense of stillness into the body. Notice any feelings, thoughts, or sensations
that are present. Breathing in, feel your body rising. Breathing out, feel your body releasing. Thank you for joining us.

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