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Chair Yoga Sequence for a Gentle, Soothing Practice

Chair Yoga is a great way to practice physical yoga poses that is accessible for people of all ages and various activity levels. So no matter your level, you’re going to love this Chair Yoga sequence.

Whether you’re a seasoned yogi who wants a gentle approach, an active senior who wants to improve balance or flexibility, or someone trying to break the cycle of a sedentary lifestyle, Chair Yoga may be what you’re looking for.
 

Try This 8-Pose Chair Yoga Sequence for a Gentle Practice:

Find an upright chair with no arms and minimal cushioning. A simple folding chair works great. Before you get started, check to make sure the chair fits you.

If your feet don’t reach the floor, place yoga blocks under your feet to bring the floor up to you. If you’re tall, you may need to place some blankets or blocks under your bum to give you a bit of lift so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Once your chair is set up and ready, you can begin your Chair Yoga sequence.

1. Seated Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

seated mountain

Start your Chair Yoga sequence with this classic pose.

Let’s try it:

  • Sit down in your chair and firmly place your feet on the floor
  • Sit closer to the front edge of your chair if possible
  • Keep your knees and feet spaced hip-width apart
  • Press evenly into your toes and heels, as well as the arch and the pinkie toe side of your foot
  • Activate your core muscles to bring your spine away from the chair back
  • Let your hands rest gently on your legs wherever comfortable
  • Inhale and gently pull your belly in and lengthen through your side, waist, and back
  • Exhale and release any tension in your shoulders, neck, and jaw
  • Keep your head neutral and find a spot to gaze at straight ahead
  • Keep your core muscles engaged to support a strong, long spine
  • Take several long inhales and exhales while maintaining this posture

 

2. Seated Extended Mountain Pose (Urdhva Hastasana)

extended mountain

Find extension in your spine with this Chair Yoga version of Urdhva Hastasana.

Let’s try it:

  • From Seated Mountain Pose, extend your arms long in front of you, bringing them to shoulder height
  • Turn your palms to face each other and spread your fingers wide
  • Keep your elbows and hands spaced shoulder-width apart
  • Stay here, or with your next inhale, bring your arms up toward the ceiling
  • If this motion causes you to substantially lift your shoulders or creates a sway in your back, then bring your arms back to shoulder height
  • Stay here, or create some flow by lifting your arms up with your inhales and bringing them back to rest on your legs with your exhales

3. Seated Cat and Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

Keep moving through your Chair Yoga sequence with this classic flow.

Let’s try it:

  • Return to Seated Mountain Pose with your hands on your thighs
  • Inhale and gently arch your back
  • Bring your chest and belly forward while your shoulders roll back
  • Slide your hands up your thighs toward your hips as much as needed
  • Look up toward the ceiling if comfortable on your neck
  • Exhale and round your spine
  • Send your ribs back and pull your belly button toward your spine
  • Slide your hands forward toward your knees as much as needed
  • Tuck your chin toward your chest
  • With both poses, try to find movement along your entire spine, not only through your shoulders or chest
  • Continue to move with your breath until your back feels spacious and unlocked
  • Return to Seated Mountain Pose when finished

4. Seated Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

twist

Twist things up in your Chair Yoga sequence with this gentle rotation of your spine.

Let’s try it:

  • Turn to sit sideways on your chair so that your right side is close to the chair back
  • Place a yoga block between your knees to keep your knees from rolling in when you twist
  • Find foot placement, core engagement, and spinal alignment like in Seated Mountain Pose
  • Bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee
  • Place your right hand on the back of your chair
  • Inhale and lengthen your spine
  • Exhale and twist to the right toward the back of your chair
  • Start your twist in your lower spine around your belly button and work your way up to your ribs, shoulders, and finally your head
  • Fix your gaze ahead at eye level
  • If you find yourself leaning into the back of the chair, press both sitting bones evenly into the chair to find more balance
  • After a few breaths you may find that you are able to rotate a bit more on an exhale
  • Hold for up to 30 seconds
  • Return to Seated Mountain Pose for three breaths before switching to the other side of the chair to twist to the left

 
Curious about how to use other props in your yoga practice? This Is How to Use a Yoga Strap In 6 Common Yoga Poses (Photo Tutorial)

5. Seated Eagle Pose (Garudasana)

eagle

Take the balance out of this balance pose with this seated variation of Eagle Pose.

Let’s try it:

  • Return to Seated Mountain Pose
  • Use your hands to help as needed and cross your right leg all the way over the left
  • Internally rotate your right leg at your hip joint so that your right foot is pointing down to the ground
  • Point your right foot
  • Squeeze your legs together, creating compression everywhere your legs touch
  • Take a few breaths here to make sure you are stable before moving onto the arms
  • Inhale and spread your arms wide
  • Exhale and wrap your arms around each other, placing your right arm under your left
  • Try to bring your forearms to touch, or wrap your hands around each other so that your palms are together
  • Lift your elbows to shoulder height, and then lengthen your hands away from your face
  • Use your core muscles and lengthen your spine to help you find balance
  • If this is too much on your shoulders, stack your arms on top of each other like you are giving yourself a hug
  • Hold for up to 10 breaths
  • Unwind your arms first, and then uncross your legs before moving onto the other side
  • For the other side, cross your left leg on top and your left arm under your right

6. Seated Figure 4 / Seated Pigeon (Eka Pada Utkatasana)

Figure 4

Give your hips some love with this version of Pigeon Pose.

Let’s try it:

  • Return to Seated Mountain Pose and wrap both hands around your right knee to lift it up toward your right shoulder
  • Take three breaths here gently pulling your leg in and up
  • If you lost core engagement or had to round your back to grab your knee, find your alignment again during these breaths
  • Grab your right shin with your left hand, and bring it to rest on top of your left quad
  • Let your right knee drop toward the ground, finding a gentle hip stretch
  • Flex your right foot to engage muscles along your right leg and knee
  • Move your right hand to rest on top of your right thigh
  • Move your left hand to grab the outside of your left foot
  • If it feels good, gently press your right hand into your quad moving down and away from the hip
  • Find a spot to gaze at directly ahead and take slow breaths, allowing your hip to open
  • For a deeper hip stretch, hinge forward at your hips while keeping your spine straight
  • Hold for up to one minute before moving onto the other side

 
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7. Seated Hamstring Stretch

hamstring

Now give your hamstrings some love too!

Let’s try it:

  • Sit upright toward the front edge of the chair
  • Place both feet on the floor, keeping your knees and feet hip-distance apart
  • Bring your hands to your hips, or grab the sides of your chair for stability
  • Extend your right leg straight, placing the heel of your foot on the ground
  • Flex your right foot, bringing your toes back toward your shin
  • To keep from hyperextending your leg, use the muscles around your right knee to lift up and back toward your right hip
  • If flexibility allows, hinge forward at your hip, maintaining a straight spine
  • Hold for up to 10 breaths before moving to the other side

 

8. Seated Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

forward fold

Finish your Chair Yoga sequence with this gentle inversion.

Let’s try it:

  • Return to Seated Mountain Pose
  • Your knees and feet can be hip-width apart, or touching, whichever is more comfortable for you
  • Release your hands to your quads
  • Inhale and lengthen your spine from your tailbone to the top of your head
  • Exhale and try to keep this length as you fold forward over your legs
  • Allow your spine to round as you drop your head and shoulders toward the floor
  • Your hands can stay on your quads or slide down your legs, resting on your shins, ankles, or the floor
  • If experiencing discomfort, you can try placing a pillow on top of your legs before you fold to give you a bit of support
  • Take several long, steady breaths in your forward fold
  • When you’re ready to come out, walk your hands back up to your thighs, plant your feet firmly into the ground, and use your arms to help lift as you slowly roll back up to sitting
  • Take a few breaths in Seated Mountain Pose to counteract any lightheadedness

 
Ready to try some foundational poses without the chair? Try these 7 Standing Beginner Yoga Poses to Increase Strength and Flexibility
 

Use This Chair Yoga Sequence to Access the Many Benefits of Gentle Yoga

Chair Yoga has many of the same benefits as other forms of yoga. It can help with balance and flexibility, circulation and pain management, lower stress levels, and promote overall well-being.

Unlike some other forms of practice, Chair Yoga is low impact, making it a great option for many people.

Want to learn more about the physical benefits of yoga? These Are the Top 10 Physical Benefits of Yoga

Grab a chair, and give this Chair Yoga sequence a try – you might be surprised by how good you feel after.

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