Chair Yoga – What is it exactly?

chair yoga


All the cool kids are doing Chair Yoga

"Chair Yoga's not cool."

No one says this to my face, but I know many people are thinking it. If you've never tried it, you might be thinking, Chair yoga is for...other people, not me. However, once you give it a try, you might be surprised!

Who can practice Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga can be practiced by just about anyone. Because there are so many different ways to modify the poses, the practice can be accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. Here are just some of the different ways chair yoga can help different people.

  • People with injuries: If you are recovering from an injury and need to modify your physical activity, chair yoga can be a great way to "get back into the game."
  • People with reduced range of motion: If you're feeling stiff or have limited range of motion due to injury or another underlying condition, chair yoga offers a way to practice movement and mindfulness.
  • People with balance issues: Chair yoga offers a way to safely work on balance, strength and flexibility, with an emphasis on the safe part.
  • People who work in offices: those who have traditional office jobs and work at desks can receive a lot of benefit from chair yoga. This kind of practice can be a perfect way for all you "desk hamster" to take a break during your work day.
  • People who lead a more sedentary lifestyle: Chair yoga might be your main form of exercise, if it's enough for you. As long as we keep our bodies moving throughout the day/week, it all counts. And chair yoga totally counts!
  • Seniors: Yes, chair yoga is perfect for those who may have slowed down a bit physically, but are still young at heart!
  • Anyone wanting to take a break from their day to move, stretch, and practice mindfulness.

Of course, if you have underlying health concerns or questions whether practicing chair yoga is all right for you, it is always best to inform your health care provider that you are practicing. And ultimately, you are always responsible for your yoga practice, and moving in ways that feel good and cause no harm.

What can I expect in a Chair Yoga class?

The chair yoga classes you will find here on Andrea Neil Yoga will consist of seated movement, and most classes will also feature a few poses done standing and using the chair for balance and support.

Seated movement might be modifications of traditional yoga poses (i.e., Warrior 2 or a seated twist), as well as functional movement focusing on joints and range of motion, strengthening movement and mindfulness/centering exercises.

Our chair yoga classes typically offer a "well-rounded" practice, spending time on most of the larger muscle groups and joints of the body. This results in you leaving your class feeling refreshed and spacious throughout your whole body.

Benefits of our practice can include increased strength, improved flexibility, greater range of motion, and a greater sense of being truly present in your physical body. Being mindful during movement is important, so that you can reestablish your mind-body connection.

How can I prepare to make sure I have an enjoyable class?

If you're wondering how best to prepare for a chair yoga class, here are some tips for you:

  • Chair: a chair with no arm rests works best for our practice. It can be a straight-backed chair, or one of those metal folding chairs actually works perfectly for chair yoga! They are inexpensive and when you're done with your practice, can be easily stored out of the way.
  • Props: for our public chair yoga classes, no props are necessary, other than the chair. However, if you would like to keep a yoga strap nearby (or a bathrobe tie or even a belt), this might help you access some poses more easily.
  • Clothing: no, you don't need yoga pants! Clothes that are loose-fitting and allow you to move your body freely are suggested, but that doesn't mean you need anything specifically designed for yoga.
  • Your practice space: be sure to clear a space in your home that's large enough to accommodate you, your chair, and the moving of your arms and legs. If you'd like a little more detail, read our first post about creating your home yoga studio here.
  • Time: practicing yoga at home can be so convenient! It can also be very easy to decide not to do it.  So if you commit to coming to class, chances are (I'm 99.9999% sure) you'll feel better for having made the effort. Give yourself permission to take a break from your day to practice yoga. Honoring yourself and your health is one of the simplest and best things you can do for your well-being.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, I am happy to help any way that I can. See you in class!