Enjoy the Benefits of Yoga From the Comfort of Your Chair

Learn how to practice chair yoga.


Health, Yoga
Woman performing chair yoga at a fitness center.

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Yoga offers a great way to stay active and soothe your  mind, body, and soul. The benefits of yoga can be reaped even by people who have injuries or limitations in mobility,according to verywell fit.  Chair yoga allows you to practice the same poses found in traditional yoga but modified to practice while seated. 

You can use chair yoga  as a starting point if you're in recovery or as a complete practice if you need  weight-bearing assistance, according to a blog on Anahana. It’s a great option for people with limited mobility due to its low-impact, as well as for people who have difficulty getting up and down from a mat. 

The benefits of practicing chair yoga are numerous, it  can help improve your posture, flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. It can also help reduce stress and promote relaxation. 

How to Practice Chair Yoga
Before you begin your chair yoga practice, it is important to choose your chair and gather any pops you will need, suggested Nourish Yoga Training. While any chair will do, it’s best to go with one with firm support. Doing so gives you enough support without putting any strain on your body. Your props can include blankets, cushions, blocks, bricks, or straps. If props aren't available, don't worry about it. These aren’t required but can enhance your posture and practice.

Once you have prepped for your practice, it is time to start your session. You can try these chair yoga poses:

Seated Eagle Pose

While in a seated eagle pose, you can pay closer attention to alignment and the energetic qualities of this pose, according to yoga expert Di Hickman. You can practice grounding support with your foot connected to the ground while soaring upwards.

Start in a comfortable seated position with both feet flat on the ground and your arms resting at your sides. As you inhale, lift one leg off the ground, hooking the opposite ankle over it if possible. If this isn’t accessible, cross one ankle over the other at knee level instead. Reach both arms out in front of you and clasp them together if possible. Hold this pose for several breaths before slowly releasing back into a neutral position and repeating it on the other side.

woman in the seated eagle chair yoga pose.

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Seated Forward Fold

Seated forward fold opens and Releases, according to the teaching platform Tummee. This pose has similar benefits to uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold Pose) but with a lesser intensity of hamstring and lower back stretching. You can enjoy relaxation through opening the lower back, shoulders, neck, and hips. 

Begin by sitting in your chair with your feet flat to do this pose. Gently place your hands in your lap. Take a deep breath and, as you exhale, hinge forward from your hips until your torso is parallel with the floor. Hold for several breaths before slowly coming back up and repeating as many times as you want.

Chair yoga class.

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Seated Sun Salutation

The beloved sun salutation pose can still benefit your physical and mental health from a chair, as the Yoga Journal explains. Aside from feeling more grounded and balanced, you'll also feel more comfortable in your body. For people who require assistance from a chair, this offers a great alternative. Or, for those who work at a desk all day long, try out this option for a full-body check-in throughout the day. 

Begin by sitting comfortably in your chair with both feet on the ground and arms resting at your sides. As you inhale, raise both arms above your head in a reaching motion. As you exhale, fold forward from the hips until your torso is parallel with the floor before coming back up to standing as you inhale again. Repeat this sequence 5-10 times before returning to the neutral position and taking a few deep breaths.

woman in the seated sun salutation yoga pose.

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Seated Half-Moon Pose

The seated half-moon pose works excellently in restorative yoga sequences, according to Tummee. It helps relieve upper body stiffness, decreases stress, and relieves back pain.

Start by sitting in a comfortable position in your chair with both feet flat on the ground and hands resting at your sides. As you inhale, raise both arms up above your head in a reaching motion, then twist towards one side as far as you can comfortably go (you can place a block or pillow between yourself and the armrest if desired). Hold this pose for several breaths before slowly coming back to the center and repeating it on the other side.

Practicing a seated yoga pose.

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