Rishikul Yogshala Rishikesh

Chair Yoga for Seniors and Beginners

Chair yoga for seniors

To flourish as we age, we must modify our routines and way of life. Exercise might be more challenging if you have joint discomfort, sore muscles, weariness, or other typical age-related conditions. These worries sometimes lead seniors to lead a sedentary or inactive lifestyle, which only makes matters worse. Fortunately, chair yoga is a simple and inexpensive form of exercise that has enormous advantages for seniors.

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What is Chair Yoga?

To do yoga poses while sitting in a chair or standing up and holding onto a chair for support, practice what is known as chair yoga. Chair yoga, created by Lakshmi Voelker in 1982, is now a therapeutic movement practice geared specifically at seniors or older persons as a safer and more pleasant approach to practicing yoga despite frailty, vision or balance impairments, restricted mobility, and reduced fitness levels.

The majority of chair yoga poses are traditional yoga poses that have been modified to enable execution whilst seated or when using a chair as a prop. For instance, Cat/Cow is a well-known restorative yoga stance that so often requires getting down on your hands and knees on the yoga mat and slowly alternating from spinal extension and flexion keeping your back horizontal.

In ways that benefit this yoga practice can be modified for chair yoga without having to get down on all fours on the floor. You may move towards the front edge of your chair and execute the same two postures, flexing and stretching your spine with your back vertical as opposed to horizontal.

What Should Chair Yoga Beginners Keep in Mind?

Chair yoga does look effortless to perform but there are a few things you should take care of before you begin any kind of fitness regime for the first time:

It’s a good idea to consult with your physician before embarking on a new workout regimen to acquire a medical clearance and chat through every practical pitfall or tweak that might be necessary, especially if you are over 40 or have any pre-existing somatic symptoms. When you’ve been given the all-clear to begin chair yoga, you may practice at home or at a chair yoga class.

All you need to bring for a chair yoga session are

Comfortable clothing

Slip-resistant shoes

Socks to prevent accidents

A water bottle to stay hydrated

A towel in case you sweat a lot or want extra padding

You’ll need the necessary tools if you want to practice chair yoga at home. The right chair will minimize your chance of injury and help you get the most out of your workout. Use a sturdy, armless chair that won’t rock, wobble, or wheel. Make sure your training area is level and flat so that the chair is flush with the floor. You should place the chair so that you have enough space to maneuver around it and stretch your limbs in all directions without bumping into anything.

8 Chair Yoga for Beginners

You may do chair yoga at home by watching a video or choosing your own chair yoga poses, or you can do it in a group environment, like at a senior center, yoga studio, or rehab facility. 

Here’s a list of chair yoga for seniors:

    Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

One of the fundamental grounding postures in yoga, the mountain pose is frequently employed as a transitional or resting stance between other poses. By sitting on your chair instead of standing, you may modify it for chair yoga. You’ll continue to contract your abs, concentrate on your posture, and focus on your breathing.

Sit on the chair’s edge.

Keep your knees exactly over your ankles at a 90-degree angle.

Keep your feet flat on the floor with your toes pointed forward.

Your thighs need to be hip-width apart and parallel.

With your shoulders back, chest up, and eyes forward, sit tall.

Inhale towards the ceiling to stretch your spine and activate your core by pushing your belly button inwards.

Exhale, feeling anchored and linked to the chair as you sink into the chair.

For 10 to 20 complete breaths, continue inhaling and exhaling in this manner.

    Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Chair Pigeon)

If your hips and glutes are tight, this chair yoga position is beneficial.

With your core active, sit up straight.

With your right knee out to the side and your right shin parallel to the front border of your chair’s seat, lift and bend your right leg such that your ankle sits on top of your left thigh.

You can pivot into a forward bend by hinging at the hips to deepen the position of the other leg and repeat.

    Uttanasana (Seated Forward Bend)

Depending on your flexibility, this position can stretch your hamstrings, low back, and shoulders.

Exhale and hinge at the hips from the seated mountain pose to bend forward over your legs.

Allowing your head to drop into your lap, extend your hands to rest on the floor or your ankles, depending on where you feel a healthy stretch.

After taking a breath, rise to a sitting position erect and raise your arms aloft.

For ten breaths alternate between the forward fold and the upright sitting position.

    Ardha Matsyendrasana (Spinal Twist Pose)

If your upper or lower back is tense, this chair yoga for seniors can assist in losing the stiff muscles. Yet, if you have spinal stenosis, disc herniations, or spine osteoporosis, you should avoid performing this pose.

Lean back on the edge of your chair in a proper posture.

Lengthen your spine as you inhale.

Exhale while turning your torso to the left and reaching for the chair’s back with your left arm.

Repeat the same on the opposite side by holding 10 breaths on each side.

Keep switching and concentrate on your inhaling and exhaling.

    Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

This position helps strengthen your obliques, shoulders, abs, and back while engaging your spine, and enhancing core stability and posture.

Start in the Seated Forward Fold.

Move your left hand’s fingers to the outside of your left foot alternatively.

If you can’t reach the floor, use a block.

As you take a breath, turn your torso to the right.

Open your chest as you raise your right arm and look up toward the ceiling.

Hold for a number of deep breaths.

When you’re ready, exhale as you drop your back into the Forward Fold.

Repeat on the opposite side.

    Sukhasana Garuda Arms (Eagle Arms)

Straighten your arms in front of you and sit up straight in your chair.

Bend your elbows to bring your forearms together as you cross your left arm across your right arm.

Your back should be slightly arched as you interlace your fingers and gently elevate your elbows.

Hold this posture while taking many long breaths. After finishing, turn to use your right arm instead of your left.

    Virabhadrasana (Chair Warrior)

This position can be modified for chair yoga and you can still get the shoulder-strengthening advantages without having to get up and balance. The regular variation of this pose requires you to stand up and engage your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings to descend into a lunge. Furthermore, you’ll stretch your hip flexors. Face right and lean sideways on the chair so that the back of the seat is on the right side of the body.

Set your right foot down on the ground.

Your front foot should be parallel to the chair seat as you slowly stretch your left leg off the seat and swing it back behind you.

As you take a breath, contract your abs to raise your arms overhead and bring your hands together.

After holding for five breaths, switch sides.

    Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Stretch)

Because it lengthens and extends the spine, this chair yoga for seniors is excellent for the elderly, those with low back discomfort or stiffness, or anyone with bad posture.

With your sit bones on the edge of the chair, sit tall, your core engaged, your shoulders back, and your chest up.

Your knees should be squarely over your ankles.

Your feet should be flat on the floor with your toes pointed forward.

Your hands should be lying on top of your parallel thighs, which should be spaced hip-width apart.

Inhale and assume the cow posture by rolling your shoulders back and down and arching your spine.

As you exhale, curve your spine, move your shoulders forward, and lower your chin toward your chest to assume the cat posture.

For 10 breaths, alternate between the two stances.

A Final Word: Who Can Do Senior Chair Yoga?

Despite the fact that chair yoga is a low-risk and low-impact activity, you need to have the proper gear to avoid injuries and get the most out of your practice. Among the necessary chair yoga props are

An armless, sturdy chair that doesn’t sway.

A level, horizontal surface for your chair

Clothing that is flexible and comfy but not overly tight or baggy

Enough room to spread your limbs fully

A companion or knowledgeable teacher for safety

To learn more, join our 500 hour yoga teacher training program TTC at Rishikul Yogshala Rishikesh. Practice with the experts and enjoy the peaceful environment together!

Chair Yoga for Seniors FAQs

1. What is chair yoga good for?

Exercise always makes your tensed muscles loosen up and chair yoga is the best way if you are restricted from performing standing exercises. Chair yoga can be a positive change in your
  • Joint strain
  • Stress
  • Mood
  • Concentration
  • Mood
  • Flexibility
  • 2. Is chair yoga good for weight loss?

    Yes, chair yoga is the best way for seniors to lose weight (especially if they are above 50 years of age). These are low-impact yoga asanas that build up strength, mobility, and balance in your body. A daily routine of chair yoga can be a major lifestyle change.

    3. Is chair yoga good for beginners?

    Beginners always have difficulty adjusting to hardcore yoga poses because their muscles are not used to that kind of flexibility. Chair yoga, on the other hand, involves the twisting and turning of the upper part of the body. People with injuries or limited mobility can also benefit from this type of yoga.

    4. Does chair yoga tone your body?

    Yes, chair yoga gives you all the benefits of a normal yoga session. Muscle toning is the most achieved result of yoga along with
  • Better sleep
  • Better breathing habits
  • Reduced stress levels
  • 5. Can you burn calories doing chair yoga?

    Chair yoga exercises are low-impact yoga asanas that you can incorporate into your daily life at home office, or just about anywhere you sit. You can burn 120 to 250 calories in a 30-minute session and if you use resistance bands or weights, it’s even more.