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Arm chair yoga

Work the heart and liver meridians and strengthen your intestines from your chair... What can we do when we are sitting watching television and don't feel like getting up?

We can open the heart and the liver meridian to strengthen the blood and take the pressure off the heart. We can also strengthen the lower belly!

These are great exercises for any age!

Try this: For the heart… Sit on the sitting bones on the edge of your sofa or chair to ensure your spine is straight and lengthened. Bring your hands into prayer position with elbows up level with wrists with your forearms level with the floor (as pictured). Apply a little bit of pressure between the palms and exhale as you move the arms over to the right (so that your hands come to be in front of your right shoulder). Your right elbow should not come behind your wrists. Keep it pushing forward so it is level with the wrists and you can even push it slightly upwards.

In this position, you will feel a stretch under your arm, through the bottom of the elbow and into the little finger. This is the heart meridian. Breathe in to come back to the centre and exhale to move the arms across to the left in the same manner.

Keep moving the arms with the breath from side to side for 10 repetitions slowly.

Try this: For the liver… Take your hands straight out in front of you with the hands facing back to back and thumbs pointing downward. Now cross the right arm over the left arm so that the palms are flat together. Interlace your fingers, and squeeze the palms together. Hold the palms tight together.

Breathe in. As you exhale pull your hands down to your lap, bending at the elbows and rotate the hands up and pull through until the arms are straight. This may not be possible for most people until you gain some flexibility through the wrist joints (this ability comes from the liver meridian).

Breathe in again as you return the arms back to the original position. Keep moving the arms through this rotation with the breath 10 times.

Then repeat with the left arm crossed over the right arm. One side will be more difficult than the other. Do the more difficult side again.

Note: It is important to keep the palms together and not let them come apart just so you can get your arms straighter when you are in the twisted arm position. Keeping the palms together will limit how far you go but will keep the liver meridian working.

Try this: The stomach & bowels…

Sitting on the edge of your sofa or chair (on sitting bones). Place your hands on your hips and sit up straight and tall. Lift one leg and hold as you exhale and as you breathe in, lower your leg with control back to the floor. Repeat lifting the other leg. Do this 10 -- 20 times.

Note: Keep your chest lifted or slightly pushed forward to keep the spine straight. Make sure you do NOT lean back as you lift your legs. The upper body should be straight and still and the legs should lift independently to build the strength in the lower belly.

To build the intensity: Do the above exercise with your hands interlaced behind your head. Make sure that your elbows stay pulled back and again; you don't lean backward or bend forward to lift the legs.

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