Yoga Practice of the Week
Chair Pose is a standing yoga posture that tones the entire body, particularly the thighs! The pose strengthens the thighs and ankles, while toning the shoulders, butt, hips, and back. It stretches the Achilles tendons and shins, and is known to be therapeutic for flat feet. Chair stretches the shoulders and opens the chest. It tones your digestive organs and heart. Holding this pose for several breaths increases the heart rate, stimulating the circulatory and metabolic systems. It builds a lot of heat in the body, and fast!
Begin in Mountain Pose. Stand with your feet together, with your big toes touching. Beginners can stand with their feet hip-distance apart.
Inhale and raise your arms above your head, perpendicular to the floor.
Exhale as you bend your knees, bringing your thighs as parallel to the floor as they can get. Your knees will project out slightly over your feet and your torso will form approximately a right angle over your thighs.
Draw your shoulder blades into your upper back ribs as you reach your elbows back towards your ears. Do not puff your ribcage forward. Draw your tailbone down to the floor, keeping your lower back long.
Bring your hips down even lower and lift through your heart. There will be a slight bend in your upper back.
Shift your weight into your heels. Enough weight — approximately 80 percent — should be transferred to your heels so that you could lift your toes off the mat if you wanted to.
Keep your breath smooth, even, and deep. If your breath becomes shallow or strained, back off a bit in the pose until breathing becomes easier.
Spread your shoulder blades apart. Spin your pinky fingers toward each other so your palms face each other, rotating your arms outward through your thumbs.
Gaze directly forward. For a deeper pose, tilt your head slightly and gaze at a point between your hands.
Hold for up to one minute. Then, inhale as you straighten your legs, lifting through your arms. Exhale and release back to Mountain Pose.
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