If you only have a few minutes between massage clients and need to renew your energy and relieve stress, try some yoga—Chair Yoga.
Chair yoga modifies the yoga practice by using a chair (or your massage table) for support while sitting or standing, allowing you to do yoga right in your workplace. This form of yoga helps increase energy and strength; improve concentration and flexibility; restore balance and a sense of peace; and relieve aches, pains and potential repetitive stress. Try it and see for yourself. Start with this easy technique:
Downward Facing Dog Using a Chair (or Massage Table/Desk)
1. Stand tall in front of your chair (or massage table or desk) with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing forward.
2. Exhale and fold forward from the hips. Place the hands on top of the chair.
3. Bend your knees at first, and, if you can, straighten your legs (one at a time or both), or rest your forearms and head on the chair for more support. You can also let go of the chair and release your head and spine into a full forward bend.
4. Hold this position for one to five slow, deep breaths.
5. Bend your knees, place your hands on the chair, lift your heart and head slowly and roll or rise up mindfully.
Precautions: For low back discomfort, vertigo, dizziness or third trimester pregnancy, keep your hands on the chair top and your head upright (as needed).
This yoga pose stretches your back and legs and calms the mind. It can also help open the wrist joint after long hours of giving bodywork (when the palms are flat and fingers stretched).
In addition to using it for your own self-care, you may find it useful to suggest simple chair yoga to clients who have general stress or repetitive stress injuries from their jobs. They can practice it practically anywhere: at their desks, at work, on an airplane, even in a wheelchair. It’s suitable for seniors, people with injuries or limited mobility, or anyone who just wants to learn an easy, gentle way to practice yoga.
Stacie Dooreck has been teaching yoga for 20 years, has practiced as a massage therapist, and now leads the SunLight Chair Yoga Teacher Trainings (www.sunlightchairyoga.com). She also authored the book SunLight Chair Yoga: Yoga for Everyone! Follow her on Twitter at @yogainchairs, or check out her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/yogainchairs.