Chair Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 9

Chair Pose to Standing

10 min - Tutorial
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Karen guides us in a short practice designed to help us build strength and confidence in Chair Pose, our transition from seated to standing. Using the support of a chair and block, we focus on balancing and strengthening our legs and abdominals.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Block

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Hello everybody, namaste and welcome back. Today we're going to work on transitioning from the chair to standing and we're going to really work on using the inner legs, the feet, the abdominals. And this is a wonderful, wonderful pose. We call it chair pose in Utkatasana, yoga, but it's very, very valuable. We need it to get up and down from our sofa. We need it to get up and down from the toilet. So very important to have that beautiful strength in the feet, the inner and outer legs, the abdominals. And I'd like for you to have a block handy. And we're going to start off by just first establishing our seat. So we're a little, a little off the chair, the buttocks, the sit bones were right up on the sit bones and the heels are directly underneath the knees, a little bit behind the knees. And we're just going to take a couple of breaths here to get tall and really find the abdominals supporting the spine. And we're going to exhale and release the shoulders so the blades are nice and sturdy back there. We're just going to allow the hands to be down by our side. And the fingers are going directly towards the floor. And it's as if we're in our mountain pose, but we're sitting. So we're sitting right here ready to rise a couple of points. So we're going to inhale and bring the arms up. And we're going to have the fingers directly in front of our head. And we have the tips of the thumb in our peripheral vision. And we're going to lead with the fingers and we're going to find our eyes going in the direction of the thumbs when we rise. Let's just release them for a moment. Let's go ahead and find our block. We're going to put that right between our inner legs. So it's not at the knee joint, just a little bit behind the knees. And I'd like for you to press down through the feet, inhale up out of the sit bones and just gently squeeze the block so you can feel it. You can feel the inner legs working and also the outer legs. And just take a moment to just notice and feel, just see what that feels like, just holding a block. And then we're going to release the hands down, release the shoulders. So when you're ready, let's go ahead and inhale the arms all the way up in front of you. The thumbs are a little bit above the eyes. And we're going to inhale tall up and out of the sit bones and find the side body there. And then inhale again, let the fingers come towards the center of the room as you press down through the feet and the buttocks lifts off the chair. Nice. Exhale into the heels. Inhale, rise, squeeze the block. Exhale, come with the hands to the heart and release the hands. So we're going to find our way back down to the chair. So I'd like for you to take a look at where the seat is and just walk back, you're still holding the block, walk back so that the backs of the legs actually touch the chair. This is very nice for us to know where we're going. The central nervous system really likes to know that there's something there waiting for waiting for you. So we're going to inhale the arms up. Nice. Exhale, let the knees bend the hips hinge, you're going to squeeze the block and press down through the feet. The buttocks is heading backwards. Beautiful. Keep on going strong through the feet, strong through the abdominals and release. Let's go ahead and remove the block. Put that down beside you and take that refreshed breath. Beautiful. Just calm down the system. Take two or three or four full inhales and exhales and release everything to the chair. Soft shoulders, soft gaze. Nice. And from here, we're going to do that one more time. And we're not going to use the block. So we're going to envision, feel our imaginary block between our legs. So I'm going to press down through the feet, inhale and rise through the spine, feel the sit bones there, release the hands by your side, inhale, lift them up, find those thumbnails. And when you're ready, inhale, press through the feet, send the hands forward, peel the buttocks up, stay here for a moment, exhale into the heels, inhale, rise and exhale, come to the heart. Beautiful. And just release the hands. Take a breath here or two, reestablish the feet, the grounding, the soft shoulders, and we're going to walk back to the chair. Let the backs of the legs touch the chair, knowing where you're going. Inhale, lift the arms up, exhale, hinge at the hips, bend through the knees and watch those knees. You pretend you have that block there, right? So make sure the knees don't come in or go out. This is not very helpful to the knees. Inhale here, exhale, come on down to your chair, release the arms, sit up, steady everything, breath and effort. Nice. All right, we have one more thing to work on today and we're going to work on balance. We're going to use a block and also the chair. So I'm going to come and rise and find my block on the floor and I'm just going to turn the chair around so that I have the tall part of the chair for balance, if I wobble any. So you're going to find the left foot right beside the block and the right foot right behind it. And we're just finding a little bit of a nice tall stance here as we pick up the right foot and just find the heel and the ball of the foot on the block. And we're just going to come up to the tippy toes on the left side and come on down. I just want you to feel, see how that feels, to notice how it feels for the right foot to rise up onto a block and for the left tippy toes to come up. Okay, nice. And then we're going to come on down and take a moment. We're going to find a drishti directly in front of us. We're going to pick up the right foot, find it on the block. As you inhale, we need to go down into the foot and then rise. So that right foot is fully extended and you're up on the tippy toes on the left side. So you can do this by a wall. The right arm can be on the wall or you can have a taller chair back. And from here, I'd like for you to have the hands beyond the hips, one or two. And we're going to just flex the left foot as if we have an imaginary block underneath it. So we're going to flex the left foot and the hips are still directly in front. You're really working the balance leg here. You might wobble a little bit from side to side.

That's okay. And then release and come on down. And we're going to change to the other side. So I'm just going to move the block over to in front of the left foot. The right foot is coming beside it. And again, we're getting familiar with lifting up the heel and ball, pressing down into that block and rising on the right side. We're being very careful not to fall out into the hip. Come on down and release. Take a moment, find your drishti directly in front and allow for the abdominals to support support the spine. Pick up the left foot, press on down as you inhale and lift on up straight in the left leg up on the tippy toes on the right side. And if it's available to you, you're going to flex that foot as if you had a block underneath the right foot. Take a breath here. You might wobble. That's okay. We're just working with the balance. And then you're just going to come on down and release. Nice. So we just have one more thing to do. And we're going to go back to the first side. Left foot is beside the block. We're pressing down into the right foot, right foot down into the block. Come on up tippy toes. Beautiful. We're now going to flex the foot. We're on the imaginary block and now we're going to do a little hip action. And we're also going to get into the lower lumbar. We're going to pick up the left hip and then we're going to drop the left hip down. The hip crease extends down. You still have a flex foot there. We're going to do that one more time. Inhale, pick up the left hip and you're crunching here in the back. And then you're going to fully extend and you might wobble off. Fully extend all the way down. Oh, that feels so good. Come to neutral and then come on down. We have one more side. We're almost there. Press down into the left foot, down into the block. Pick up the right heel. You're up on the tippy toes, finding your drishti, flexing the right foot. Find the breath even. Beautiful. And when you're ready, we're going to do the same thing with the right hip. Pulling the right hip up, extending the right hip down. Let's do that one more time. Inhale, pick up the right hip. Exhale, release, extend down. A lot of work on the balance leg. Then even up the feet, release and come on down. Very nice. Let's go ahead and find our mountain one last time. So just release the feet. No gripping. Open up the palms. Look forward.

Nice, tall. Inhale, receive breath. Find evenness, left side, right side. And then come back with the awareness and the breath to the whole central access there in the middle. Soft shoulders, soft jaw, soft eyes. Let's bring our hands together at the heart center. One more deep inhale and exhale. Let's close the eyes. Another breath here. Namaste.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. Thank you.


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