Posture Clinic: Chair Pose

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This is the second installment of our posture clinic series, and this time we’re covering one of my favorites. Chair Pose. As any and all yoga pose, how you are guided into it has a lot to do with your lineage. I am a firm believer of there is no right or wrong, just different purposes. As long as your teacher is aware of WHY they are guiding you there, and WHAT they want you to get out of it..then we are good.

When I guide my students into Chair Pose I am looking for a lot of things. A few of these things are

-hip hinge

-glute engagement

-shoulder flexion

Hip Hinge: Does your pelvis move?

Our pelvis facilitates a lot of the movements we do in yoga, but does it actually move? When I guide my students in here I am looking at whether or not their pelvis hinges, if it doesn’t that is a clear indication that I need to provide that student with different cues. Often, I will stop class and do a short “here are your pelvic movements” how to, to gauge whether or not it’s an actual lack of movement or just lack of body awareness.

Are you “putting the work” into your glutes?

We live in a Chair-Chair world. Seriously, we do. We sit on chairs, in 90 degrees too much. What does this do to our bodies (aside from doing a major disservice to our hips?) well, my friend, it has likely made you quad-dominant. This is where the “look down, see if you can see all your toes” cue comes in. Or even, lift your toes up. I recon, we already put too much work into our quads in our yoga practice (cough warriors/lunges), a chair pose, at NPY is a squat. A squat hold where we word our butt muscles, simple and effective.

Do you have enough shoulder flexion for the rest of the class I have planned?

Flexion is when to levers (or limbs) are moving closer together, and shoulder flexion is when your arm moves forward and up toward your head. Think tadasana but arms forward rather than out. Same think in chair pose, hence the cue “if your shoulders are uncomfortable by your ears…” Shoulder flexion is iffy in yoga, we should pay more attention to it because a lot of practitioners put too much emphasis on handstands, headstands, and the like when the reality is, they don’t have the shoulder flexion for the movements. Try bringing your arms up to biceps by ears without your shoulder blades elevating, and you will see, when the shoulder blades follow, you’re compensating the movement with them.

Chair Pose can teach you a lot about your body, if you’re willing to learn. Make sure to reach out to me with any questions, if I can help you on your journey!

Happy glute work,

Caroline

Want to learn more? In our 3 and 8 week programs you learn about your body and how to enhance your movement practice, as well as yoga philosophy, history, and so much more. New round starts January 26th and you’re invited.