A Chair for Yoga vs. The Extended Chair for Yoga

Since the initial publication of his successful book, A Chair for Yoga, Eyal has discovered many new and exciting ways of using the chair for yoga. This new book is an expanded, richer adaptation of the first book.

  • It more than doubles the number of variations, while still keeping the original variations from A Chair for Yoga.
  • It includes more than 600 photos – illustrating how to perform each variation. All the photos were retaken and are in better quality.
  • It contains eight new practice sequences, in addition to the one presented in The Chair for Yoga.
  • For each Variation, there is Level of difficulty and Benefits of using the chair in the presented way.
  • The graphic design is improved significantly making the book easier to use.

There is a lot to explore in this book for both yoga practitioners and yoga teachers. One of the sequences even caters to non-practitioners who may wish to refresh during their office workday.

Those who studied A Chair for Yoga will find here a trove of new ideas for hours of enjoyable yoga practice and exploration of the asanas!

In Praise of “The Extended Chair for Yoga”

“I love Eyal Shifroni’s new book, The Extended Chair for Yoga! Creative, fun and accessible for practitioners of all levels, this book allows beginners to learn poses with support and stability. Beginner and intermediate practitioners alike can find lightness, integration and access to various key aspects of a pose to inform the classical postures. A worthwhile resource in the light of BKS Iyengar’s work. I highly recommend this book. Thank you Eyal for your inspiration!”

Sharoni Fixler 
Co-Director | Calgary Iyengar Yoga

“I Highly recommend this new book that is already in my hands. I have been using A Chair for Yoga for years for my personal practices and for teaching. I find in practice with a chair something very special that the book sheds light on: it takes care of my body and it helps me to deepen my practice and learning.

This new book adds new postures and new variations that I receive with great joy to enrich my practice and teaching, giving me more clarity on new postures as well as new ways for doing different actions.”
Noga Chepelinski 
Director of Iyengar Yoga Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina and translator of Eyal’s books to Spanish

Recommendations

Eyal Shifroni is a yoga teacher with extraordinary capabilities in the field of Iyengar yoga. He combines decades of practice and teaching experience with a background as a scientist and university teacher and this combination makes him truly unique. His capacity to break down the techniques so specific for Iyengar yoga and his creativity in the use of yoga props are very special, and so does his view on yoga philosophy. He has written books that are well received and widely used by students the world over, both on the subject of prop use (Props for Yoga vol. 1, 2 and 3, and A Chair for Yoga) and on the philosophical background of the mind-body problem for which yoga may hold answers (The Psycho-physical Lab). This book especially presents a unique view on yoga combined with Western philosophy, and Eyal can make this tangible in his honest and modest way of teaching. He has done so in our yoga studio to full rooms on 2 previous occasions and I can safely say that he will be able to bring something new to the table wherever he goes“. Hiske van der Meulen – Iyengar Yoga Teacher and owner of iYoga, Utrecht, Netherlands

 

Eyal is a very senior Iyengar Yoga teacher who has made a great contribution to the yoga community in large through the many books that he has written in which he so generously shares decades of his teaching notes and experience with everyone.

He is an extraordinary teacher who does this sharing with humility and compassion. Those who are fortunate to learn with him come away with a deeper and fuller understanding of their yoga practice“. Nancy Gardosh – Iyengar Yoga teacher, Givatayim, Israel

 

I had the honor to meet and have classes with Eyal Shifroni. He is an excellent yoga teacher, known all over the world for his books and his teachings, something unique. Eyal has an extraordinary capability as an Iyengar yoga teacher renown to be precise and creative on his teachings, he also knows so many ways to use the props on the practice of Yoga. I highly recommend his classes to everyone interested in Yoga“. Silvio Nunes – Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, Studio Akasha, Salvador, Brasil

 

“Eyal Shifroni is a world-renowned Iyengar yoga teacher, practitioner and author. His creative and innovative work with yoga props is highly acclaimed by yoga practitioners and teachers of the Iyengar tradition. Eyal taught a  seminar at our yoga center in 2018 and practitioners and teachers from across the country came to  study with him. The  seminar was very well received and successful”, Sharoni Fixler  – Iyengar Yoga teacher,  founder and director of Calgary Iyengar Yoga, Canada

 

It is with much enthusiasm that I highly recommend Eyal Shifroni, for any kind of work, job or classes in any place around the world. He has taught Iyengar, one of the most practiced methods in the world today, since 1985 and he practiced Yoga since 1978. He is a very special and dedicated teacher and also a very disciplined, sincere and full of true knowledge and strong practice.

Eyal was my instructor for a couple of times in classes I took around the world. In these classes, Eyal displayed a very high level of maturity, creativity, clarity, respect and enthusiasm. He is one of those memorable teachers and I sure he can spread yoga and joy for lots of people.

His writing and research talents are also fantastic! “.  Isabela Guglielmetti de Carvalho – Iyengar Yoga Certified Teacher , Pinheiros, Brasil

 

I very much enjoyed the workshop and it was very generous of you to donate all the proceeds, so glad I could participate. Using 2 bricks for shoulder stand was also very helpful for me because i typically struggle to get the position correct on foams blocks or bolsters“. Vanita Kara, London, UK, a student that participated in a workshop whose proceeds were donated to Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).

 

I am an Italian Iyengar Yoga teacher, living in Paris. I very much appreciate the work you do on props and all your books guide me on my own practice and teaching since many years now“.  Valeria Free  – The manager of the Iyengar Yoga Center in Paris, France

I discovered Iyengar yoga in my mid 60’s and am now 73 so it has been a steep learning curve for me. The adaptations with the chair that I learned this weekend were very helpful in getting deeper into the poses. I live in a small community in BC Canada and the closest Iyengar studio is an hours drive away and so I am not able to attend regular classes. The Zoom classes currently being offered because of Covid have allowed me to deepen my learning of Iyengar yoga and I feel very grateful for this“. Lesley Field, Canada – participated in an online workshop given by Eyal

 

I am enjoying so much having classes with Eyal on Tuesday that I wish I could do classes with him more than once a week“. VIctoria Kuenerz, Boston, USA

 

If you also wish to leave a feedback, please write us:  theiyengaryoga@gmail.com

 

An Online Yoga & Mindfulness Workshop with Eyal Shifroni & Shantam Zohar

Every action performed  in our yoga practice should be done with full awareness and total presence – this is mindfulness in action.

Mindfulness can be practiced by looking inside, observing the body’s sensations and  breath; and it can also be practiced during our interaction with other people – which is the subject of this short workshop. 

Mindful communication  is challenging, yet it is the key to successful and wholesome interbeing. This interactive workshop will weave the  practice of yoga with the practice of relational mindfulness. 

We will start with yoga practice (with Eyal) to open the body and focus our mind, then practice mindfulness (with Shantam) while sitting quietly and in interaction. We will then close the day with restorative and relaxed yoga practice.

The workshop location is The Iyengar Yoga Center, Zichron-Ya’akov (Israel), with some in-house attendees and others via Zoom. It will be given in English (with occasional Hebrew translation, in case it will be requested).

Times (Jerusalem Time): 

  • 10:00-11: 30 – Yoga with a Eyal
  • 11:30-12:00 – Light meal
  • 12:00-17:00 – Mindfulness with Shantam Zohar
  • 17:15-18:00 – Restorative poses and Paranayama with a Eyal

Prices: 75 USD

Props needed: A sticky mat, 2 belts, 2 blocks (bricks), a bolster and if possible, a chair (optional) and access to a wall.

The workshop is intended for Iyengar Yoga practitioners with 2 years of continuous practice.

No background in mindfulness is needed.

For Online Atendees

Please have all the standard yoga props with you (4-5 blankets or 2 blankets and a Sarvangasana platform, 2 belts, 2 bricks, bolster, chair).

Please adjust your Web camera such that your entire body is seen when you stand upright, and don’t have a light source behind you. The Zoom invitations will be sent one day before each session.

To register click here

The Teachers

Shantam Zohar is Co-founder and Director of the Mindfulness Based Psychotherapy Program at Bar Ilan University. He has been practicing meditation for 30 years, maintains a private psychotherapy practice and leads workshops on interpersonal mindfulness internationally.

Eyal Shifroni is a Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher. He has been studying and practicing yoga since 1978 and teaching since 1985. Eyal directs the Iyengar Yoga Center of Zichron-Ya’akov in Israel and conducts yoga workshops in Israel and around the world. Eyal will soon publish his sixth book about yoga.

 

An Online Workshop with Eyal Shifroni – May 2 2020

We can’t meet each other face-to-face, but we can (and should) continue our yoga practice!

Eyal will give an advanced yoga workshop on Saturday May 2

Theme: The Extended Chair for Yoga

In this workshop we’ll study many new and innovative ways of practicing with the chair, which are coverd in Eyal’s new book The Extended Chair for Yoga (coming soon)

The workshop is intended for Iyengar Yoga practitioners with at least 4 years of continuous practice.

Schedule (Jerusalem time): 14:00-16:00 and 18:00-21:00

Please check the time in your own time zone.

Examples for times in some regions:

  • Europe: 13:00 – 15:00 and 17:00 – 20:00
  • Eastern Time (US): 07:00 – 09:00 and 11:00 – 14:00
  • Pacific Time: 04:00 – 06:00 and 08:00 – 11:00

It’s also desirable that your Zoom username will be your name, so that I’ll be able to address you with your name.

Props needed:

A chair (absolutely needed), sticky mat, 2 belts, 2 blocks (bricks), chair, a bolster and if possible, access to a wall.

Note that online teaching doesn’t allow for personal care of injuries and health issues. Registrants are expected to be able to handle their difficulties during the practice.

Price Scheme:

Many of us suffer economically in these challenging days, and I want to allow people who lost their income to participate.

I ask those of you who are able to help me allow people who have lost their income to participate. It’s a good opportunity to open the heart and give to those in need. This is the practice of generosity (Dana). Hence, I suggest the following pricing scheme to hopefully accommodate all situations.

 

Price € Morning (2 hrs) Afternoon (3 hrs) Whole day
Recommended 30 45 70
Discounted 20 30 50
Donation 40 60 100

If you can’t pay the Recommended price because you lost part, or all of your income, feel free to select the Discounted prices. If this is still too high for you, simply pay as much as you can.

If your financial situation is fine, and you wish to help others, you are welcome to pay according to the Donation row (or any other price that suits you). We thank you in advance.

We need to help each other in these difficult times!

Please write to theiyengaryoga@gmail.com and indicate:

  1. How much you’d like to pay, and
  2. For which session (or both) you would like to register.

We will send you an invoice that you can pay via PayPal.

Note: If due to the situation you have lost your income, you are welcome to contact us to get additional discount

Let’s keep our stability (Sthira) and devotion (Bhakti) in the practice!

Namaste!

An Online Workshop with Eyal Shifroni – April 18

We can’t meet each other face-to-face, but we can (and should) continue our yoga practice!

Eyal will give an advanced yoga workshop on Saturday 18-April

The workshop is intended for Iyengar Yoga practitioners with at least 4 years of continuous practice.

Schedule (Jerusalem time): 11:00-14:00 and 17:00-19:00

Note:

Please check the time in your own time zone.

  • Europe: 10:00 to 18:00
  • England: 09:00 to 17:00
  • Eastern Time (USA): 04:00 – 12:00 (most likely only the 2nd session is reasonable – but, if all goes well, I hope to offer another workshop at more convenient times for America)

It’s also desirable that your Zoom username will be your name, so that I’ll be able to address you with your name.

 

Props needed:

A sticky mat, 2 belts, 2 blocks (bricks), a bolster and a chair (highly desirable), If possible, access to a wall.

 

Price Scheme:

Price € Morning (3 hrs) Afternoon (2 hrs) Whole day
Recommended 45 30 70
Discounted 30 20 50
Donation 60 40 100

Note: If due to the situation you have lost your income, you are welcome to contact us to get additional discount

 

To register please send an email to: theiyengaryoga@gmail.com

 

See you!

Preface to the book: The Extended Chair for Yoga (2020):

Preface

My first book, A Chair for Yoga, was first published in a limited Hebrew edition in 2012. This edition quickly sold out and people began urging me to translate it to English. After some hesitation, I wrote a slightly extended English version, which I showed to my Guruji, B.K.S. Iyengar. Guruji gave me valuable comments and suggestions. With this feedback, I published the book in 2013. As Guruji’s predicted (see his letter in Appendix A), the book was very well received by teachers and practitioners of yoga around the world.

I was very happy to know that many practitioners found this book useful, and I was deeply moved by the amount of positive feedback I received from all corners of the world. The book has circulated widely all over Europe, America, Asia, Australia, and to some countries in Africa. It was translated into eight other languages (including Spanish, Russian, Korean, and Chinese).

It really fills my heart with joy to know that my modest work has touched so many people. I became a kind of “chair expert,” and some even began calling me “the chairman.” Naturally, I continued to experiment and explore different ways of practicing with the chair and found many useful new Variations[1]. I tested these Variations in my teaching, both in my center and in workshops I was fortunate enough to conduct around the globe. Friends and colleagues contributed many new ideas, and I felt that the new material had grown into a new, extended book; hence, The Extended Chair for Yoga.

Although this book is based on A Chair for Yoga, it is entirely new. I have edited the entire text, added many new Variations and sequences, revised and took new photos, and organized the material in a more accessible way. I’ve also given special attention to aging and disabled people who need the chair as a practice aid. In some sections, the Variations are grouped by chair usages, rather than by āsanas. For example, I have grouped together several āsanas from the same family, which share the same usage of the chair. This makes the presentation more concise and efficient. For each Variation, I have added a list of props needed (omitting the sticky mat and of course the chair – as their usage is assumed), as well as a benefits section, explaining the special benefits of using the chair for that Variation. I have also included nine practice sequences for students of all levels, from elderly people with movement or balance limitations to advanced yoga teachers.

I hope this new, expanded book will help practitioners deepen their practice and find more joy in it, and will serve as inspiration to further explore the āsanas!

 

Eyal Shifroni, Feb. 2020

[1] I use Variations with capitalized ‘V’ for variations presented here, to differentiate them from regular asana variations.

Why Chairs?

B.K.S. Iyengar developed a range of equipment and accessories that enable every person to improve his or her āsana practice and benefit from it. The main purposes of these “props” is to help practitioners to:

 

  • Perform āsanas that are difficult to perform independently with greater ease;
  • Achieve and maintain correct alignment;
  • Remain longer and relax in challenging āsanas, in order to attain their full benefit;
  • Study and investigate the āsanas in greater depth.

 

This guide focuses on one prop: the chair! The chair is indeed a very useful prop, which is both widely available and very effective as an aid for all types of āsanas. As you will see in this book, there are many, many ways to use this one simple prop. Often, chairs can replace specialized expensive props. For example, many Iyengar Yoga centers have a “horse” prop, or trestle – which is a large and bulky piece of equipment. It’s not feasible to have such specialized and expensive props for every student in a class. Chairs can serve as a good substitute, and yoga centers usually have enough chairs to provide one for each student. Here is an example of using a chair instead of a trestle for Utthita Trikoṇāsana.

Photo 2 Comparing usage of a yoga trestle with that of a chair

Yoga chairs are affordable for any practitioner to have at home for his or her self-practice. Moreover, chairs are not made just for yoga; they are everywhere and can be used to do simple yoga poses at home, in the office, and even in airplanes and trains.

This book covers many uses of chairs for diverse groups of people.

Advanced practitioners can use the chair to explore the āsanas to a greater depth. Performance of each āsana involves doing intricate actions which the practitioner has to understand and implement with his or her body. Often, using a prop helps us to understand the action and to feel the effects of it. Once the effects are felt, one can attempt to recreate them without the aid of the prop.

Many āsanas are physically challenging and difficult to perform without props, especially for beginner students. The chair can help to build the required strength and flexibility gradually. For example, beginners are often asked to do Adho Mukha Śvānāsana (downward-facing dog pose). However, many simply don’t have the strength and/or flexibility to perform it, even roughly. Elevating the hands on a chair (see photo on page XXX) reduces the load on the arms and helps to activate the legs, thus allowing beginners to do this pose, even when the independent performance of it is out of their reach.

There are two groups of people for whom props, and especially chairs, are very important, if not essential. These are people with disabilities and aging people. For these people, it is especially important to move their bodies and to learn to breathe with awareness. In Iyengar Yoga therapy classes, people with all kind of injuries, diseases, and disabilities practice yoga with the aid of props. The chair is an important prop in making this possible. For example, B.K.S. Iyengar once helped a woman with amputated leg to practice standing poses by using a chair.

The chair is extremely valuable for aging people. We are all aging, and sooner or later our bodies will deteriorate, and we’ll become weaker. Yet aging people can continue to practice with the aid of the chair, which allows for many types of āsana, such as twists and backbends, to be performed even when the body is aging. Even when walking and standing are challenges, the support of the chair allows for variations of standing āsanas. In the last chapter of this book I present two sequences especially designed for aging people.

Chairs also allow all practitioners to remain longer in advanced and difficult āsanas that would otherwise be impossible, or would require great effort. They allow us to remain in these āsanas without effort and to relax deeply. For example, Viparita Daṇḍāsana is a challenging backbend (see photo on page XXX) which requires great strength and flexibility, but can be done, with the support of the chair, by almost anyone.

Moreover, all people can use chairs (not necessarily yoga-chairs) to repose and stretch during work – simple twists and stretches can be done on regular chairs. Some of the Variations in this book can be done on many types of chair, thus enabling anyone to do a short practice in the midst of a long working day – to refresh and return to work with better focus and clarity. For some examples on how a regular chair can be used at home or at the office, see sequence 3 in Chapter 12.

Remember however, that while props are an important feature of Iyengar Yoga, they should not be confused with its essence. Props are a means to achieve specific end – such as alignment, stability, precision, and extending the duration of remaining in āsanas. While I write about props, I do not recommend becoming dependent on props. In fact, I practice often at the beach, where I take with me only a towel and a belt, and use the sand as a prop. Props should be employed with discretion in pursuit of a more mature and mindful āsana practice. If you practice attentively, you will feel what kind of prop you need and will know how to use it.