Chair Pose

Chair Pose (Figure 2.17) increases strength and endurance. It warms the body and strengthens the abdominals and thighs. This pose is a rather strenuous pose. If your child is tired, make the modifications suggested below. Even if he can hold this pose for just one breath, the pose is beneficial for the entire body. Encourage him to practice the pose, even if it is challenging.

This pose is a good leg strengthener, and enlivens and brings energy to the thighs. Chair Pose may also strengthen the abdominals and back. If your child has difficulty keeping his feet together at first, start with the feet spread apart and his arms down. After several sessions, he will gain strength and feel more comfortable with his feet closer together. His arms may still be at his sides until he feels strong enough to raise them over his head. Once the arms are raised, they may be held overhead for a very short time at first. In time, the full pose may be achieved.

A visualization that your child may use is that he is sitting in an imaginary chair. This visualization may help him "see" what each part of his body is supposed to be doing in the pose and how his body is supposed to look. Often, children also enjoy the idea that their body is like a piece of furniture and that they do not actually need a chair to sit down.

1. Come into Mountain Pose with the feet touching. If for some reason your child is uncomfortable with his feet so close together, you may spread his feet up to one foot apart.

2. Slowly bend your legs as if you are sitting in a chair.

3. Only bend the knees as far as comfortable. Do not go too deep initially. The modification in this pose is to keep the knees only slightly bent until strength and comfort increase.

4. Reach your arms upward, about shoulder width apart. If this is not possible keep your arms at your sides (Figure 2.18).

5. Hold this pose for three full breaths.

6. This pose may be challenging for children with low muscle tone, so your child may only be able to hold the pose for one breath or less. In time, your child may hold the pose for the full breath count.

7. Your head may be tilted upward slightly to the sky, ifthat is comfortable for your neck. If not, look straight ahead.

8. When finished with the pose, stand at the front of the mat to begin the strengthening poses.

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