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When is the right time to start yoga? Do you wait until you heal an injury, so you can get on a yoga mat and attend a class? Do you postpone consistent practice until your energy is abundant? Or, perhaps you wait until your stress level becomes so high that health issues arise?

Put aside all these questions. What if these when-and-if scenarios never occur? The good news is you don’t have to wait.

A New Beginning

As you read this article, you can begin. Start with one slow, deep breath and feel your body in the present moment.

According to the definition of the word, yoga is a state of being that joins the individual soul with the universal soul and all that exists. Physical abilities may have little to do with achieving a state of peace and balance.

If you modify traditional yoga postures to meet your current needs, then that is your yoga practice—not the practice you once had or want to have in the future. Your practice today is completely sufficient and is where it needs to be—just as you are.

Create challenges and self-discipline, as you are able, but do not wait.

A Practical Way to Yoga

While sitting or standing, chair yoga allows you to practice asana at your desk, at work, on an airplane, or in a wheelchair—making it accessible anywhere and anytime.

Using a chair allows you to do yoga at all ages and stages of life. It’s suitable for seniors, people with injuries or limited mobility, and anyone who just wants to learn a gentle way to practice yoga. You can improve your energy and strength by increasing your flexibility, concentration, balance, and sense of peace—just as you do when practicing other styles and forms of yoga.

Seeming limitations may include working all day or other time limitations that could prevent you from getting on the mat, on the floor, or standing and doing certain yoga postures. But with some creativity and adaptations, you can always practice yoga.

“If you can breathe you can do yoga” -Krishnamacharya.

A Little Innovation

The key to meditation postures and pranayama (breath expansion) is to sit as tall as you can, while staying relaxed. If you can’t do any physical asana (posture), you can always observe your breath as it is or do a basic breathing exercise—inhale slowly for three counts, exhale for three counts, then work up to four counts, etc. You can also recite a mantra “I am,” as you inhale, and “I am,” as you exhale (or So’Hum in Sanskrit).

There are chair yoga versions of most asanas to increase mobility, vitality, and flexibility. When at work or home, you can use a couch or desk for support.

Examples include:

  • Seated or Standing Chair Yoga Sun Salutations
  • Seated or Standing Chair Yoga Forward Bends
  • Standing and Seated Backbends
  • Seated Spinal Twists
  • Chair Yoga Mountain pose
  • Eye exercises (helps computer strain)
  • Breathing exercises (calms and increases concentration)

A Chair Yoga Sun Salute

This sun salute takes less than a minute for one round. It improves your flexibility, increases circulation, and eases back, hip, and mental tension. Repeat this between two to eight times.

At your desk, in a wheelchair, or wherever you are sitting now, try to take a one-minute yoga break to re-energize. It will leave you feeling more vital and healthy throughout the day.

Don’t wait until time or health allows for the perfect practice at the perfect place and time. You can start right now.

Improve your overall well-being with simple yogic exercises for the body, mind, and spirit. Most importantly, enjoy your yoga—both in practice and state of mind.

Stacie Dooreck
Stacie Dooreck is a certified Sivananda, gentle integral and Kundalini yoga instructor. She leads SunLight Chair Yoga teacher training and wrote the book SunLight Chair Yoga: Yoga for Everyone!
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