Yoga has many benefits for those who practice it, from greater flexibility and relaxation to improved heart health. While those unfamiliar with yoga may be under the impression it only consists of standing poses, there are many sitting poses that people of all abilities can perform.
If you didn’t know, most yoga poses can be utilized by people who use wheelchairs or can’t stand for a long time. Many of yoga’s benefits can be achieved without standing.
Stretching the legs (hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves), back, and pelvic floor (hip) muscles is a great way to increase flexibility, and seated yoga postures are perfect for this.
While sitting on your yoga mat offers a stable posture that aids with body opening, this is not a preferred sitting position for everyone. It is possible to alter the pose or use simple tools to help you comfortably achieve yoga poses. Put a folded blanket, bolster, or block beneath your bottom if you have trouble sitting straight. Many find that a more durable spine alignment is achieved by simply lifting their hips.
Keep reading for ten poses you can add to your daily yoga practice.
Sitting Poses For You To Try
1 – Upavistha Konasana – Wide-Angled Seated Forward Bend
Benefits of Upavistha Konasana: The wide-legged seated forward bend stretches the hamstrings, back, thighs, and calves. Using it often may help you feel more at ease mentally and less stressed out.
Alignment Insights: While it may seem like the focus should be on your legs, keep your spine extended (to prevent rounding your back) and maintain proper alignment. Shortening of the hamstrings may prevent this from happening.
2 – Staff Pose – Dandasana
Benefits of Dandasana: Also known as low plank, Dandasana improves postural awareness and expands the legs, chest, and shoulders. When done right, Dandasana strengthens all of your major core muscles, improves your posture, and gives you more energy.
Alignment Insights: You’ve probably heard that Mountain Pose is the alignment reference for many of yoga’s standing postures. Staff Pose is the seated equivalent of an alignment baseline. It, like Mountain, seems easy yet takes meticulous attention to detail.
3 – Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Fold
Benefits of Paschimottanasana: Stretches the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and back muscles of the rear body. In Paschimottanasana, the whole back of the body is stretched. It may help reduce stress in the body because it stimulates the organs in the abdomen, such as the pancreas, which makes insulin and helps control the body’s glucose levels.
Alignment Insights: There are many opinions on how to forward fold, which may be summed up by the question “to round or not to round?” This refers to your spine’s position as you move forward. Rounding lowers your head, but we find that maintaining the integrity of your spine is more beneficial. Every forward fold must begin with a forward tilting of the pelvis (anterior rotation), not a flexion (rounding) of the spine.
Some individuals like a compromise in which they fold with a flat back until they can’t go any farther and then circle the spine, which may provide a lovely stretch to their back’s upper (thoracic) section. This can be safe as long as they remain calm and soft. We recommend maintaining a flat back and progressively increasing your flexibility over time.
4 – Janu Sirsasana – Pose From The Head To The Knee
Advantages of Janu Sirsasana: Janu Shirsasana is an excellent pose for making your hamstrings more flexible. Its goal is to massage the organs inside the body and keep the endocrine system in balance. As the name suggests, in the last pose, your head should touch your knee as you bend forward.
Alignment Insights: Janu Sirsasana allows you to work on each leg separately, which typically yields a deeper hamstring stretch than with both legs outstretched. It also aids in opening the inner thigh and hip on the bent leg.
5 – Vajrasana- Thunderbolt Pose
Advantages of Vajrasana: The quadricep muscles and the soles of the feet are stretched in this pose. This is the best asana for getting rid of stomach problems. It is the only yoga pose that you can do right after eating.
This asana is easy for people of all ages to do. So, it’s good for your health, strengthens your digestive organs, and makes you healthier overall. It also makes your spine longer, which is good for your posture.
Alignment Insights: This Position stretches the thighs and the tops of the feet, an area frequently overlooked, and is an excellent alternative to cross-legged postures for sitting meditation, which may cause tension in the lower back. A blanket tucked between your legs might help you stay comfortable throughout extended periods of sitting. Having a seat at a higher level facilitates proper posture, which in turn improves comfort and health.
6 – Sukhasana – Easy pose
Benefits of Sukhasana: Easy pose helps to open the hips and straighten the spine, and because it’s so simple, it’s good for yogis of all skill levels, even beginners. Cross-legged positions, like Sukhasana, are often taught by yoga teachers as part of a series of asanas. However, it’s also a great pose on its own during meditation or other quiet times.
Alignment Insights: If your instructor recommends a relaxed, cross-legged stance, that’s what she means. Find a leg position that feels comfortable for you from the many possible combinations. If your knees are lower than your hips, your comfort level will increase significantly since your spine can assume its natural curvature. You may do this by placing a folded blanket, solid cushion, or thin block beneath your bum.
7 – Baddha Konasana – Cobbler’s Pose
Benefits of Baddha Konasana: Cobbler’s Pose is also known As Butterfly Pose or Bound Angle Pose. It’s good for your hips and groin and can help boost your fertility. The inner thighs are stretched, and the hips are opened.
Alignment Insights: Baddha Konasana is a great alignment pose for the inner thighs. If your spine curves forward while seated, try propping up your hips with a folded blanket or another object.
8 – Ardha Padmasana – Half Lotus
Benefits of Ardha Padmasana: The muscles around the pelvis, legs, and ankles are stretched out in Half Lotus. It keeps your gluteal muscles and the deep rotator muscles in your hips flexible. It can help stretch out the piriformis, which can help if you have sciatica symptoms. The Half Lotus helps people stand up straight. It calms your mind and helps you get back on your feet.
Alignment Insights: Lotus is one of the most recognizable yoga poses, but it may be challenging for specific students, particularly those with knee issues, to achieve. The Half Lotus is a suitable replacement.
9 – Padmasana – Lotus position
Benefits of Padmasana: Padmasana is good for your joints and bones. This asana is also good for your back and general posture. Padmasana also helps people who are menstruating because sitting in this pose eases period pains and cramps. Padmasana is also good for the organs in your stomach and pelvis.
Alignment Insights: Lotus is performed with the right leg folded in first and the left leg on top, but it is a challenging pose. There are several ways to modify it based on your issues.
- If you have tight hip flexors and your knees keep going up, and your pubic bone keeps going down, you can use a folded blanket to raise your sitting bones so that the bottom of your hip is slightly higher than your knee and your femur bones are sloping down. If you want to stay in this pose for a while, you should also sit on a blanket.
- If your top knee floats off the floor, try propping up your sitting bones with one or two folded blankets and supporting your knee with a short block, blanket, or towel. You’ll find that this knee support helps release tension in your hips and adductors (the muscles on the inside of your thighs), making the pose feel more comfortable. Don’t try to push down on your knee.
- If your ankles turn in, use a rolled-up towel to support them from below. Put the towel on the floor right under your foot. That little bit of height might be all you need.
10 – Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose
Benefits of Gomukhasana: The Gomukhasana is good for us because it helps us stand up straighter. It stretches your arms, shoulders, chest, armpits, and hips and lets you move your shoulders in many different ways. It makes us more flexible and wakes up our chakras.
Alignment Insights: Gomukhasana might be painful initially since it reaches those tight, inconvenient spots. Tools can be helpful! Put a blanket folded in half beneath your seat, and have a strap accessible for the arm bind.
Want to Learn More?
Join us at Zuda Yoga East in Rocklin, Ca., to start your yoga journey. We embrace yoga students of all abilities and experiences, and you start where you are. Zuda Yoga East has experienced instructors who teach various courses, including live, Zoom, and private yoga classes. We currently offer four weeks of yoga training for just $40! Get started today.