Because I’ve been teaching chair and bed yoga for many years, I’ve learned that people who practice this way can miss out on some of the “massage” benefits of the classic poses. So today I’m going to share my techniques for providing these benefits through self-massage for those who are only practicing chair and/or bed yoga. But these techniques may also be very helpful for everyone for those times where we have to stay in chairs for long periods of times, such as in an airplane, train, office, or waiting room or when we are resting in bed due to illness or fatigue. Enjoy!
You can massage your body gently using your own hands, unless this is painful because of arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. If using the hands is painful, you can use a tennis ball or foam roller for self-massage.
Gently stroke the arms and legs towards the trunk in the direction of the heart to stimulate the lymphatic drainage. Lymph is the fluid of the immune system, and it relies on diaphragmatic breathing and movement to flow through the body.
Massage the abdomen up on the right side, across the middle, and down on the left. If you’re looking at your abdomen, this is a clockwise motion. You can use the heel of your hand, with your other hand on top for added pressure. Keep the breath relaxed and begin gently. If it’s comfortable, you can press a little harder. Abdominal massage is an essential part of asana practice because of the importance of digestive health. In particular, it can help with bloating or constipation by stimulating peristalsis in the large intestine.
This post was edited by Nina Zolotow, co-editor of the Accessible Yoga blog and Editor in Chief of Yoga for Healthy Aging.
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