Chair Yoga — A memorable, engaging activity for any workshop

It’s the second hour of your all-day workshop. You take stock of your audience and notice that the first people are drifting away. Some are not looking at their screens any more. Others are asking about things you just explained.

Get their attention back quickly: Revitalize the audience with some exercise!

Chair-Yoga is for anybody and can be practiced in front of the computer.
Here is all the information you need to exercise in your next workshop:

1. Why chair yoga makes your audience more attentive

First of all: chair yoga is a form of exerciseSeveral studies [1] show that spatial learning and memory are improved for people that exercise.

But the secret ingredient, in this case, is blood!

Yoga helps your blood flow through your body. The twists and relaxations help your blood flow more freely. More oxygen is transported to your brain. The result:

The attention is refreshed and the ability to learn something new is heightened.

A woman performing yoga to refresh her mind.
With a small yoga or stretch break you refresh the attention of your audience. Don’t worry, you don’t need a large studio appartment. A chair is enough for the workshop chair yoga.

It is also a “circuit breaker”. Meaning the flow of your workshop is interrupted with something different. This too, makes your participants pay attention again.

2. A complete primer on chair-yoga in three minutes

First of all, chair yoga is not only for seniors. You can do it with your course full of adolescents as well!

It is a less taxing form of yoga that is done sitting down on a chair. Because of this, you can do it with virtually any audience you have. During chair yoga, you get into certain poses and stretches and hold them for a small amount of time.

No matter whether the people are experienced or absolute beginners. Chair yoga will work for them. Especially if you show the exercises first.

Besides the benefits with attention and blood circulation chair yoga has several more benefits:

  • More flexibility
  • More strength
  • Better body awareness

You can start right now since we curated five easy exercises that you can perform with your next workshop.

3. Five easy chair yoga exercises to try in your next workshop

Enough talk, let’s get to practice: Here are five poses you can learn instantly.

Forward Fold

This one brings blood back to your brain. First, sit straight. Then slowly bend over, while sitting, until your upper body lies on your legs. Let your head and arms hang loose. Hold for as long as comfortable.

A sketch showing the forward fold chair yoga position.
Try to hold the fold in this position for as long as possible. Notice, that the hands and head are totally loose.

Cat Pose

The cat removes any neck and back tension you might have from staring at your screen all day.

Sit straight and put your hands on your knees. Now inhale while slowly arching your back and looking at the ceiling. Next, exhale, while forming a hunchback and looking towards your knees. The end-pose should look like in the following picture.

Start at the beginning and repeat a few times before going to the next pose.

A sketch showing the cat chair yoga position.
You should end in this pose. Repeat a few times, as long as you’re comfortable. Keep in mind to transition slowly between this position and the arched back at the beginning.

Sun Salutation

Again, sit straight. Now breathe in and bring your palms together as high up above your head as possible. When you breathe out, bring the arms back down again slowly.

A sketch showing the sun arms yoga position.
Try to get the arms as high as possible during this pose. Imagine you are trying to touch the sun with your fingertips. Then repeat a few times.

Neck Stretches

The second pose is also one to combat neck pain. Since it’s the most common ailment when sitting in front of a screen.

Use your left hand to grab the right side of your face, with the hand overhead. Then slowly tilt your head to the left until it lies on the shoulder. Do the same with the right hand (and the left side) and repeat a few times.

A sketch showing the assisted neck stretch yoga position.
This is the end pose. Do not pull hard with your hand. The weight of your hand will do most of the work. Repeat for both sides a few times.

Eagle Arms

This one might take a few tries to get it right. But it targets the shoulders and is very worth it since sitting in front of a computer strains the shoulders.

Put your arms straight in front of you. Now bring one arm above the other, while you cross them. Bend the arms for 90 degrees so they both point up. Now try to twist your arms to press your palms against each other. Hold this position and repeat with the other arm “on top.”

It might be easier for some to intertwine their fingers instead of pressing the palms into each other.

A sketch showing the eagle arms yoga position.
Its not easy to do, but with a little bit of practice you should be able to twist your arms this way. Locking your fingers, or touching the palms to each other is both fine. Hold for a few seconds to stretch your shoulders.

Did you try out yoga breaks at your workshops? Let us know, or tag us in your pictures. We would love to hear your yoga stories!


[1] Cassilhas et al.: Physical exercise, neuroplasticity, spatial learning and memory

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