A Guide to the Garuda Dhara (Chair) Technique | The Garuda Studio

February 3, 2021

A Guide to the Garuda Dhara (Chair) Technique

James D'Silva - Garuda Dhara (Chair)

For those of you who are familiar with Garuda, you will know that we work to inspire a more intuitive way to exercise, using a technique rooted in yoga, dance and pilates and developed by our Master Trainer and Founder, James D’Silva. 

Part of our techniques incorporates different pieces of equipment, from specially designed Garuda apparatuses to other carefully selected items, each has its own benefits and positive effects on the body. 

One of those pieces of equipment is in fact, a chair, which we refer to as the ‘Dhara’ technique here at Garuda.  Here is a little more information about Dhara and why we believe it to be such a beneficial form of movement to include in your fitness repertoire. 

What is Dhara and who can practise it? 

By definition, Dhara is a seated workout that simplifies the seated and standing Garuda mat work to make an advanced repertoire easily available to the remedial client.

This means that with the support of a chair, your clients can build strength, flexibility and balance to accomplish a leaner, more toned body at any age and any fitness level. It is also a way to help those facing injuries or movement restrictions to develop strength and heal in a gentler, more accessible way. 

Much like other Garuda exercises, the practice of Dhara puts a lot of emphasis on energy work. Certain aspects of ayurvedic breathing and Marmara point work are brought into this practice, which means there are meditative elements to the technique that are given just as much emphasis as the physical elements. 

Why is it beneficial? 

Besides the benefits of being an accessible form of exercise that anyone can try, Dhara is also one of the most centred practices we offer. In its essence, Dhara is that cosmic flow which interlinks us to everything around and within us. 

The exercise enhances muscles that normally wouldn’t be challenged, giving us a newfound sense of flexibility both physically and mentally.

The slow and steady movements are likened to the ones practised in Garuda Barre, only with added breathing exercises as mentioned previously. Therefore, practising Dhara is a very calming and nurturing process. 

It allows you to discover the root and the essence of your movement and floods you with the confidence to move and encourages you to cherish the joy of stillness. This stillness is something that many of us have become disconnected from in a busy, ever-changing world. 

Why teach Garuda Dhara?


Garuda Dhara is a unique exercise to teach. Thanks to the chair supporting our bodies, it is simple to teach and perform, available for any age client – no matter their mobility. 

The slow, subtle movements, held by the support from the chair allow the practitioner to improve their coordination and increase the circulation of blood around the body. This means you can open your services to a wide range of people with different needs. 

This exercise also combines a lot of different techniques into one. It incorporates the stretching of pilates and yoga with the blend of slow and fast movements of Barre, whilst adding in ayurvedic breathing exercises. So, if you already practice one of these exercises, you’ll have fun teaching others.

Finally, Garuda Dhara is perfect for online teaching, which is an important requirement for fitness professionals over the past year. Since the client is elevated and visible on the screen, you can easily guide them from a distance to ensure they are making the most out of this nourishing technique. 

Upcoming Dhara (Chair) Courses

We have taken the teachings of Garuda online so that we can continue to stay connected with you from a distance. 

If you are interested in participating in any of our upcoming Dhara training courses, we invite you to sign up for one of our upcoming teacher training courses. Otherwise, you can get in touch with any questions you may have at info@thegaruda.net

“Garuda foundation course with Laura Trevisani was wonderful! I feel a new body!!!!”Stefania Schenato