Chair Yoga Poses: How to Get Started

Social media feeds crammed with images of health fashions twisted into poses requiring excessive energy, flexibility, and stability could depart you considering, “Yoga isn’t for me.”

Nadine Kelly, MD, founding father of Yogi MD, desires to alter your thoughts.

“We have a tendency to think about yoga as an athletic endeavor that must be achieved on a mat,” Kelly says. “Yoga observe is about far more than the bodily [poses]; the observe consists of expertise like respiration, regulating your feelings, and practising self-care.”

What Is Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga, a mild type of yoga that’s achieved whereas seated or utilizing a chair for stability, makes the observe extra accessible. In chair yoga, it’s attainable to maneuver into poses like cat/cow, warrior, solar salutations and ahead folds, all whereas seated.

Kelly believes the Arthur Ashe quote, “Begin the place you might be, use what you’ve got, do what you’ll be able to,” is ideal for chair yoga.

“You’re there to work and to problem your self, nevertheless it’s about … figuring out what’s best for you,” she says. “I consider yoga poses as adaptable to a scholar’s physique and never the opposite method round.”

Whether or not yoga is completed in a chair or on the mat, the observe nonetheless focuses on the identical core ideas: focusing in your breath, being attentive to your ideas, and staying within the second.

The Advantages of Chair Yoga

Analysis reveals yoga is linked to decreased ranges of stress, nervousness, and despair, lowered ldl cholesterol and blood strain, improved vitality, higher sleep high quality, much less ache, and diminished physique mass index. Matt Minard PT, DPT, bodily therapist with Atrium Well being in Charlotte, NC, believes these advantages prolong to chair yoga.

Chair yoga can be a superb, protected exercise for freshmen.

“It’s a good way to work your core, discover the completely different vary of movement of the joints and prioritize motion,” Minard says. “If you’re sitting down or utilizing a chair for stability, the security issue goes method up.”

Who Ought to Strive Chair Yoga?

Though chair yoga is commonly promoted as a observe for individuals who could wrestle with a mat observe, anybody can profit from this sort of light train.


Kelly says chair yoga is especially well-suited to individuals who use wheelchairs and people rehabilitating after surgical procedures, dwelling with power sicknesses, or coping with stability points that make it arduous to get down onto a yoga mat. It’s additionally good for a fast exercise throughout the workday or whereas touring.

“It’s not concerning the consequence. It’s not about hanging the proper pose,” Kelly says. “Whether or not yoga is taught on the mat or in a chair, it’s all about being wholesome.”

Chair yoga can be superb for freshmen who is perhaps intimidated by a conventional mat observe as a result of it gives a protected strategy to study the poses, Minard provides.

The place to Discover Chair Yoga Lessons

You’ll find chair yoga lessons at group facilities, health amenities, and yoga studios. There are additionally numerous on-line choices. On this video, Kelly supplies detailed directions for a brief chair yoga observe that’s appropriate for all ranges.

The best way to Get Began

To observe at house, use a sturdy chair (an workplace chair on wheels or overstuffed armchair should not acceptable for chair yoga). Minard suggests a chair that naturally positions your hips barely increased than your knees and means that you can put each toes flat on the ground.

“In case your toes aren’t flat on the bottom, your weight is all in your backbone and if the chair is simply too low and your knees are above your hips, there’s extra impingement in your hips,” Minard says. “You need to have the ability to do gradual, managed actions with out placing further stress in your again or hips.”

Ensure the chair is on a secure floor like carpet or a yoga mat to maintain it from slipping. You can even place the again of the chair in opposition to a wall for further stability, Minard provides.

Yoga props like blocks, straps, and resistance bands which can be widespread in mat practices aren’t required for chair yoga — until you need an additional problem.

“Chair yoga is an efficient start line to make use of muscular tissues you haven’t used shortly with out the potential dangers of overloading [your muscles and joints] or falling,” Minard says. “If the resistance out of your physique weight isn’t sufficient of a problem, you’ll be able to add gentle hand weights, ankle weights or resistance bands to your chair yoga observe.”



Nadine Kelly, MD, Yogi MD, Sawyer, MI.

Matt Minard DP, DPT, Atrium Well being, Charlotte, NC.

Worldwide Journal of Preventive Medication: “The Impact of Yoga on Stress, Anxiousness, and Melancholy in Girls.”

Complementary Therapies in Medication: “Yoga for secondary prevention of coronary coronary heart illness: A scientific assessment and meta-analysis.”

BMC Geriatrics: “Feasibility of a yoga intervention to lower ache in older girls: a randomized managed pilot examine.”

BMC Psychiatry: “The impact of yoga on sleep high quality and insomnia in girls with sleep issues: a scientific assessment and meta-analysis.”

Journal of Osteopathic Medication: “Mindfulness-Primarily based Stress Discount within the Administration of Power Ache and Its Comorbid Melancholy.”

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