Main Benefits of Seated Yoga Poses
Seated yoga poses are often regarded as an end-of-practice posture as we go into meditation. In fact, that’s what traditional yoga practice was designed for: to help us comfortably sit in meditation. The problem is that our modern day lifestyles often leave us with tight hips and sagging shoulder blades. This can make a seated position such as lotus pose extremely uncomfortable.
The good news is that there are many seated yoga poses that can increase your flexibility even while sitting (this is why chair yoga is so popular!).
A seated pose can do wonders for your entire back by strengthening the muscles along the spinal cord and shoulder blades. Strengthening your back muscles can help alleviate headaches, muscle aches, stiffness, and pain.
If you’re able to, gently moving into a seated spinal twist with the spine erect can increase flexibility and blood flow to all of the muscles along the spine.
A seated twist can be as gentle or as deep as you’d like it to be. For those with tight hips, a seated spinal twist may look like easy pose with your outer hand on the opposite knee as you gentle twist. For those with a bit more flexibility, cow face pose might be a good seated position with a twist variation for an insanely deep stretch.
Seated forward fold is great for stretching the entire backside of the body, from the calves, the hamstrings, and the tight hips up to the lower back, shoulders, and arms. There are a few different variations for this posture, either keeping a bent knee to make it easier or pushing the chest forward toward the toes (like in Janu Sirsasana) for an added challenge.
When using the core to pull the body closer to the tops of the legs, seated forward bend can also be a great yoga posture for building core strength.
Seated Yoga Poses in Traditional Yoga
A seated yoga pose brings the Root Chakra closer to the Earth, often making it a good energizer for the Muladhara Chakra. Staff pose, for example, can be a very grounding yoga asana practice that doesn’t require much flexibility. Much like mountain pose, a seated yoga posture roots us down into the Earth’s energy. It is this exchange of energy between our Root Chakras and the Earth that serves as a focal point as you breathe into the posture.
Janu sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose) is a more advanced seated forward fold that circulates Kundalini energy through your entire energetic system, entering through the Root Chakra and working its way up the spine through all of the chakras, through your arms to your fingertips, and up again each leg where it meets again at the beginning. This fresh energy flow is both grounding and energizing.
Although sitting yoga poses are an obvious fit with the Root Chakra, many other yoga postures in the seated position work well with other chakras. Child’s pose, for example, most corresponds with the Third Eye Chakra as you rest your Third Eye on your yoga mat. By connecting the Third Eye directly with Earth’s energy, you are inviting Earth’s wisdom into your consciousness (or, as we say, Shakti energy). The next time your yoga teacher guides you into a child’s pose, take the opportunity to deepen your yoga practice by turning your focus inward.
As you can see, sitting yoga poses serve many different energetic functions, depending on which chakra you most stimulate while maintaining the yoga pose.
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