Doing yoga in a chair will help you feel better supported (Picture: Deborah Green)

Our sedentary lifestyles cause all kinds of niggles, pains and longer-term problems.

Long working hours, and free-time spent online or binge-watching TV can have a huge impact on our health. It’s a pain in the neck, quite literally.

A YouGov survey commissioned by HSL found that well over half of adults (57%) aged 60 or above have constant aches and pains. Of those who suffered, 60% experience pain in their back. It isn’t only an issue for older people, either.

Adopting poor posture over a long period of time can have some grim side effects, from neck and backache to chest pain, breathlessness, faintness, tiredness and physical fatigue, stomach pains, digestive issues and more.

When you slouch, so does your spine, which can have an impact on your body’s circulation system, making it harder to breathe and comfortably move around.

There are many causes behind poor posture, however, the most common triggers are stress, sitting in an unsupportive chair or a chair that is adjusted at the wrong height, sleeping on an unsupportive mattress, or a lack of regular exercise and activity.

But some simple exercises could provide some much-needed relief from aches and pains, and even help to improve your posture long-term. And you don’t even need to stand up to do them.

Yoga teacher and expert, Deborah Green, says: ‘Practicing yoga from a chair is a wonderful way to bring mobility and movement into your body, no matter your age or ability, releasing any stiffness or tension from your muscles.

‘These are just a few of the physical benefits, as yoga also helps with anxiety, stress, mental clarity and concentration. Chair yoga may help you to feel a little safer and more supported as you move and free your body.’

Deborah teamed up with furniture manufacturer HSL to pull together six of her favourite chair-based yoga poses that will improve and promote better posture, with the added benefits of boosting your sense of calm.

‘Before you begin, start with adjusting your posture as this will help you to breathe properly and into the bottom of the lungs,’ Deborah advises.

‘Sit tall but add the support of cushions if you feel your back muscles becoming tired at any point.

‘To encourage relaxation and get into the right headspace for your practice, I encourage you to take deep, slow breaths for five minutes before moving into your warm-up.’

Mobility focused warm-up

Take your hands onto your shoulders and simply rotate your arms and shoulders in backward circles, imagining that you’re drawing a circle with the points of your elbows as you move through ten repetitions.

Upright back circles

While remaining seated, step your feet slightly wider than they naturally fall and place your hands on your knees for support as you begin to rotate your chest in circular motions.

You’ll feel your chest opening forwards while your belly remains soft, and as you move through your rotations try and draw the belly into the spine to help the lower back to round.

To get the most out of this movement, I would recommend doing this ten times in each direction.

Open your chest and shoulders

Bring yourself to the edge of your chair and gently take your arms behind the small of your back, using your hands to find the opposite wrist and working to move them closer together until you feel some resistance.

Once you feel resistance, stay here and take six deep, slow breaths, allowing yourself to relax into the pose. Gently release your arms, rolling out your shoulders to ease out of the pose.

Sat down hip opener

Slowly bring your left ankle up onto your right knee and allow it to rest here. Take ten deep breaths to ease into the movement before returning your foot to the ground and repeating it on the other side.

If you feel that you have more tension in this area, feel free to relax into the pose for as long as you need.

Open up the side of your body

Chair yoga

Feel that side stretch (Picture: Deborah Green)

Sit up tall on your chair and take your left arm up, gently allowing it to fall over to the right hand side as you enjoy a nice, big stretch across the side of your body.

Ease yourself into the pose by taking five deep breaths and repeating it on the other side.

Come full circle

Return to the upright back circles you took at the first stage of your practice, stepping your feet slightly wider than resting position and place your hands on your knees as you rotate your chest in circular motions.

Continue to allow yourself to rotate ten times in each direction, enjoying the relaxation of your final pose and allowing your entire face to relax as you allow your breath to drift back into its own natural flow.

HSL postural expert and independent occupational therapist, Julie Jennings, says: ‘Throughout our day to day lives, our back is naturally placed under a certain level of stress – whether it be from sitting down at a desk all day, sleeping on an uneven and unsupportive mattress, or being inattentive to the way we hold ourselves when stood up.

‘It is important that we provide our spine with a little rest and relaxation to offset any unnecessary tension which could lead to more serious health issues down the line.’

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