Everybody Can Enjoy The Benefits of Chair Yoga

According to the CDC, "older adults can obtain significant health benefits with moderate physical activity." Besides helping with chronic illnesses, regular exercise also helps you feel more connected with your mind, body, and spirit.

No matter how you start moving, it is important that you do so. Many exercises can be done from the comfort of your home and do not require much effort.

You can talk with a specialized person, perhaps a doctor, to create a plan that fits your needs.

At the Y, we understand the importance of providing our community with programs and activities that promote healthy living. Therefore, everything we offer aims to cover all kinds of needs in the community.

For older adults, we offer Active Older Adults Class, Silver Sneakers, Gold Zumba, Aqua Zumba, educational info sessions, and seated yoga classes.

The last one has been released in recent years, so today we will talk about it because it is a class that everybody can join and offers many benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.

Although Yoga originated centuries ago, seated yoga is considered a type of Yoga developed approximately 30 years ago by Lakshmi Voelker.

Voelker, a chair Yoga instructor, decided to create an easy and safe way for those of his pupils who, due to arthritis, could not do specific movements due to their condition.

He realized that this type of Yoga could also be beneficial for those who, due to age or condition, need a safer type of movement.

Since then, seated yoga has become a popular form of exercise, particularly among older adults. However, it is not only limited to the senior community.

Many fitness centers now offer it for those who, in one way or another, want an easy and safe way to stretch and move their bodies. This form of yoga provides a gentle yet effective way to stay active and improve overall health.

“Chair Yoga prepares you for mobility and flexibility by using movements that you would do without a chair but to really prep you for full range and motion.” Isaiah Teran, Membership & Wellness Director at Tempe Family YMCA.

Benefits of Seated Yoga

  1. Increases Flexibility: Seated yoga poses gently stretch and lengthen muscles, which helps to improve overall flexibility. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with limited mobility or those recovering from injuries, as it allows them to stretch without putting too much strain on their bodies.
  2. Improves Mobility: Regular practice of seated yoga can enhance joint mobility, making everyday movements easier and more comfortable. By engaging in movements that mimic daily activities, you can maintain and even improve your range of motion, which is crucial for independence and quality of life.
  3. Reduces Pain and Stress: Many seated yoga exercises focus on gentle stretching and relaxation techniques that help to alleviate chronic pain and reduce stress levels. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with conditions like arthritis or back pain, providing a natural way to manage discomfort.
  4. Improves Sleep and Breathing Awareness: Practicing seated yoga can promote better sleep by helping to relax the body and mind before bedtime. Additionally, many yoga poses and exercises emphasize mindful breathing, which can increase awareness of your breath and improve respiratory function.
  5. Boosts Mood: Like other forms of yoga, seated yoga helps to boost your mood by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. The combination of physical activity, deep breathing, and mindfulness can lead to the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.

Chair yoga includes several postures that can help you improve your flexibility, strength, and overall well-being. Here are some popular poses in detail:

  • Seated Mountain Pose (Tadasana): Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and hands resting on your thighs. This pose helps to improve posture and can be a great starting point for your yoga practice. Focus on grounding your feet into the floor and elongating your spine.

  • Seated Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana): Alternate between arching your back and rounding it while seated. As you inhale, arch your back and lift your chest (Cow Pose). As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin towards your chest (Cat Pose). This sequence helps to increase flexibility in the spine and relieve tension in the back.

  • Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana): Bend forward from the hips, reaching towards your toes. Keep your back straight as you hinge at the hips, and reach your hands as far forward as comfortable. This pose stretches the back, shoulders, and hamstrings, promoting flexibility and relaxation.

  • Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana): Twist your torso to one side, holding the back of the chair for support. Sit up tall and twist gently, looking over your shoulder. Hold the twist for a few breaths and then switch sides. This pose helps to improve spinal mobility and digestion, and can also relieve lower back pain.

  • Seated Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana): Extend one leg to the side and raise your arms overhead. This pose strengthens the legs, improves balance, and opens the hips. Engage your core as you extend your arms and focus on maintaining a stable and upright posture.

These poses can be easily incorporated into your daily routine and adapted to fit your needs. Practicing chair yoga regularly can help you maintain flexibility, improve strength, and enhance overall well-being.

Seniors practicing Yoga

Frequently Asked Questions on Seated Yoga

Yes, seated yoga can be very effective. It helps improve flexibility, strength, and balance while reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

It's especially beneficial for those with limited mobility, as it provides a gentle yet effective way to practice yoga.

To do seated yoga at home, follow these steps:

  1. Find a sturdy chair: Make sure it doesn't have wheels and is comfortable.
  2. Warm up: Start with some gentle stretches to loosen up.
  3. Basic chair yoga postures: Try seated yoga postures like Seated Mountain, Seated Cat-Cow, Seated Forward Bend, Seated Spinal Twist, and Seated Warrior Pose.
  4. Breathing exercises: Incorporate deep breathing to enhance relaxation.
  5. Cool down: Finish with a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing to cool down.

Seated yoga can support weight loss by increasing physical activity and reducing stress, which can help manage weight.

However, for significant weight loss, it should be combined with other forms of exercise and a healthy diet.

Yes, seated yoga is excellent for seniors. It provides a low-impact way to improve flexibility, strength, and balance without the risk of injury.

It also helps manage pain and reduces stress, making it a great option for older adults.


Seated Yoga is currently offered in most of our locations throughout Arizona.

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