Each week, Prevention's fitness team puts the newest workout DVDs to the test so you don’t have to waste your time or money on sub-par sweat sessions.
This week's DVD:
The concept is simple: chair + yoga = Choga. The 55-minute yoga workout
combines postures on-and-off the chair, using the supportive prop to help with alignment. Yoga instructor Valerie Rogers designed the unique program specifically for an oft-neglected group of yoginis: those who are recovering from an injury and have physical limitations as well as those with knee and joint pain. (Learn how to flatten your abs in your chair
What We Liked:
Chair-assisted poses help target and stretch the extra-tight upper-back region
What We Didn't Like:
If you're not dealing with injuries or limitations, the class doesn't seem challenging enough.
145* Based on a 135 lb. woman
If you're a yogini with bad knees
, recovering from an injury, or looking for a less-strenuous class, Chogaflow is your ideal practice. Using a chair to assist with poses, your achy knees will never touch the ground. However, if you're looking for a power flow that leaves muscles tingling, you'll want to pass.
Featuring a seated warm-up, standing flow, and seated stretch, the DVD is completely joint-friendly. Even the final relaxation, savasana, is performed sitting. (Bonus: you could even do the practice at the office during your lunch break. However, if you don't have a door, keep in mind that it's not a discreet flow so you might get a few glances from co-workers.)
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The ideal chair height depends on the your height. Ideally, you want your thighs parallel to the floor while seated on the chair and hands resting comfortably on the back of the chair while standing.
You'll see some of your favorite traditional yoga poses
like Warrior II, Triangle, Tree, and Spinal Twist. While you're still getting the mind-body connection and flexibility increasing benefits, you’ll lose some core-engaging balance training by supporting yourself with the prop. Also, we noticed slight wrist pain from gripping onto the sides of chair seat during certain exercises, but instructor Valerie Rogers advised that we may have been holding onto the chair too tightly.
Downward Facing Dog feels like an entirely new stretch (one that feels amazing) when arms are rested on the chair seat as opposed to the floor; tight upper back muscles felt more targeted, which felt great after spending the day hunched over a desk. And if you can't touch your toes, don't fret; chair-assisted poses are a great way to ease into stretching muscles, allowing you to slowly increase your flexibility, pain-free. Available at chogaflow.com
Chair-Assisted Side Angle
1. Stand 2-3 feet in front of chair. Place hands on seat, pinky fingers rounding corners. (Modify by facing chair away and placing hands on back of chair). Bend at hips, lowering chest towards floor to move into Downward Facing Dog.
2. Step left foot forward so that toes are slightly under seat, bending knee and stacking it above left ankle. Spin on ball of back foot, so side of foot is perpendicular to back of mat.
3. Bend left arm and open to Warrior II hips (opening hips to the right). Reach right arm overhead, extending arm over right ear, rotating chest toward the sky, feeling a deep stretch along the side of your body (pictured). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on opposite side.
What To Wear:
No shoes, but you'll need a non-slip yoga mat and a chair (see above for height specifications). No special apparel necessary, sport your favorite yoga clothes!
X-Back Tank from Lucy offers maximum comfort while keeping you sweat-free and looking chic (lucy.com
, $55), and the Stripped Leggings from Beyond Yoga feature the ultra-lush feeling fabric and add a fun pop of color (beyondyoga.com