Learn a few simple moves using chair yoga to strengthen your core
Think chair yoga is too easy? Well, think again! Let’s use chair yoga to strengthen our core and work on our “six-pack abs!”
One important area of the body you’ll want to keep fit as you go through life is your core—it’s an integral part of our overall well-being. Fortunately, we don’t have to roll around on the floor or use equipment any fancier than a plain old chair to get our core in shape. But just because the equipment is simple, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get a good workout.
What exactly is “the core”?
Many of us think of our “core” as our “abs” or the abdominal muscles. But it’s so much more than that. Basically, everything in our trunk, from our shoulders to our hips, can be considered our core. That includes our abdominal muscles, the psoas, the pelvic floor, obliques, and the diaphragm, as well as the trapezius muscles and latissimus dorsi (above and below the shoulders), and the gluteus maximus. That’s a lot of muscles!
Sit-ups are great, but will they really strengthen your core?
On their own, sit-ups don’t cut the mustard if you want a strong core. There are many different exercises that can be performed to increase strength. And fortunately, there are many ways to get creative and use chair yoga to strengthen your core.
This goes way beyond doing a million sit-ups and thinking that’s all you need. Nope! Our core does not work alone – it’s attached to our arms, legs, and neck. So all these areas need to be exercised as well, in order for us to say we have a strong core. For this reason, core exercises might initially feel or look like moves that are targeting another part of your body. And in a way, they are – but they contribute to your core strength.
Your Chair Yoga Core Moves
For this blog post, I’ve prepared an accompanying video, that’s available for you to view FOR FREE over on YouTube! You can watch it whenever you like, and over time you’ll get better at each move, and be able to do more. Remember, strong people didn’t necessarily start out strong. Like everything else in life, the more you practice, the better you become. And who doesn’t want a strong core?
Here is a quick breakdown of the moves we practice in the video, but in order to see how they’re really done, check out the video at the bottom of the post.
#1: Triceps Stretches and Side Bends
Stretching the upper arms can help with mobility, and lengthening through your side body promotes flexibility through the ribs and obliques. When we stretch things out, we allow for more blood and oxygen to flow to the muscle, and this helps us build strength and stability.
#2: Knee & Leg Lifts
Many important muscle groups in our legs attach to our “core.” Core and leg strength is integral to maintaining balance, and walking with a healthy, steady gate. By engaging your abdominal muscles and liftin your leg, you are strengthening muscles that often get weak and tight if we spend too much time sitting.
Move #3: Monkey Pose
This is a combination of side bend and sit up – the best of two worlds! A simple pose to master, Monkey Pose challenges you to keep your balance, engage your core, and lengthen through your side body.
#4: Boat Pose Variations & Toe Taps
Boat Pose is one of the very best chair yoga for core strength moves. It combines balance and strength through the legs, and requires the use of many different abdominal muscles. Many of my students lament over it’s difficulty, but Boat Pose remains one of my favorites. In this video, I offer you different levels of Boat, so you can challenge yourself as much as you want.
Keep watching the video every so often to practice, and notice how much stronger you get every time!
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Thanks, and see you soon!