I’ve only tried chair yoga a handful of times. Being new to this style of practice, I falsely believed that I could practice chair yoga with the office chair that sits in the entry to my studio. Truthfully, if you’re practicing chair yoga with a chair with a back to it, you’re really missing out.
My yoga mentor, Steph Abbott, learned how to make her own backless yoga chairs for around $4. This is good news because yoga chairs can actually be quite pricey. ($69 for a folding metal chair! Are you kidding me?) Here’s her suggestions for what you can do to make a backless yoga chair.
How to Make a Backless Yoga Chair
- Garage sale it! Now is the time to go around to garage sales and look for folding metal chairs.
- Use some tin snips and a pry bar (or flathead screwdriver) to work the metal back support off of your chair.
- Use a saw that can cut metal to saw the front crossbar off of the front legs of your chair. (This is the bar where you might normally rest your feet.) Cut down about half way with the chair upright, then flip it over to cut through the rest of the way. Stay close to the leg of the chair.
- Use a grinder or sander to make the spots that you just sawed smooth.
- Now, use the grinder or sander to smooth the bottom edge of the top bar of the chair (where the back used to be).
- Fill the holes where your footrest used to insert with a little plug.
- Clean your chair.
- Spray paint the smooth metal spots with a matching color for the chair.
- Let it dry, then enjoy!
I got these steps from this video on YouTube. The video is around 20 minutes, but lots of it is repeat footage of the man working on multiple chairs.
There are a couple main reasons why you don’t want your yoga chair to have a back.
Sometimes your body needs to be in the space where the back of your chair would be. For example, when you’re using the chair to do backbends (as shown to the right), you want to have ample space to move.
- It’s our natural inclination to slide back into a chair and use the back for support. Unfortunately, after a short amount of time, we forget to use our core muscles to sit up straight and rely on the chair to keep us upright.
Steph has been really enjoying the blog posts on YogaSelection.com. Here’s a link to the blogs, which are free and feature many chair sequences. In particular, she loves the “Yoga Poses for a Healthy Spine” post.