10 Chair Yoga Poses You Can Do at Home

Seated yoga has many benefits and it's easy to practice in your own space

Chair yoga is a general term for practices that modify yoga poses so they can be done while seated in a chair. These modifications make yoga accessible to people who cannot stand, lack the mobility to move easily from standing to seated to supine positions, or want a quick break from office work.

Many of the basic body mechanics of the individual postures remain the same. While seated on chairs, students can do versions of twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and mild backbends.


Watch Now: A Chair-Based Yoga Routine You Can Do Anywhere

In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga participants can also enjoy other health benefits of yoga, including improved muscle tone, better breathing habits, stress reduction, better sleep, and an improved sense of well-being.

What Is Chair Yoga

Chair yoga is an adapted yoga practice that allows you to stay seated while practicing yoga focused poses. It can be practiced by anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits of yoga and may (or may not) have mobility limitations. For example, chair yoga is great for anyone who needs more support, is managing an injury, or wants a more therapeutic approach to the practice.

The Benefits of Chair Yoga

Chair yoga provides benefits for those who are limited in their ability to perform movements without stability and support. Chair yoga classes are widely available in senior centers and retirement communities, as older adults are its biggest target audience.

People who fall in the obesity category and people with neurological diseases are also good candidates for chair yoga. Office workers can also take advantage of chair yoga's adaptations to do stretches at work.

In general, yoga can help manage stress, symptoms of depression, and relieves anxiety. It can also boost your mood, and quality of sleep. These beneficial effects may be especially important for those who are bound to a chair or are less able to perform other types of exercise.

Chair Yoga Sequence

Because chair yoga is all about adaptability, it should come as no surprise that the particular chair you use is not important; you don't have to run out and buy a specialized yoga chair.

That said, chairs with wheels are not ideal (unless you can lock the wheels to keep the chair from moving). If your feet do not reach the floor, you put blocks or a folded yoga mat under your feet to give yourself a firm foundation.

You can perform the following chair yoga poses as a sequence or choose a few to string together into a flow that suits your available time and ability.


Chair Cat-Cow Stretch

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Sit on a chair with the spine long and both feet on the floor. Place your hands on your knees or the tops of your thighs.

On an inhale, arch your spine and roll your shoulders down and back, bringing your shoulder blades onto your back. This is cow position.

On an exhale, round your spine and drop your chin to your chest, letting the shoulder and head come forward. This is cat position.

Continue moving between cow on the inhalations and cat on the exhalations for five breaths.


Chair Raised Hands Pose - Urdhva Hastasana

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

On an inhalation, raise your arms toward the ceiling.

Maintain good upper body posture with the shoulders relaxed and rib cage sitting naturally over the hips. Anchor your sit bones in your chair seat and reach up from there.


Chair Forward Bend - Uttanasana

 Ben Goldstein / Verywell

On an exhalation, come into a forward bend over the legs. Let the hands rest on the floor if they reach it. Let the head hang heavy.

On an inhalation, raise the arms back up over the head. Repeat this movement between a raised arms position and a forward fold several times, moving with the breath.


Chair Extended Side Angle - Utthita Parsvakonasana

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

After your final forward bend, stay folded. Bring your left fingertips to the floor on the outside of your left foot. If your left hand doesn't come easily to the floor, place a block under it or bring it to your left knee instead and twist from there.​

Open your chest as you twist to the right on an inhale, bringing your right arm and gaze up at the ceiling. This is your chair version of extended side angle pose. Hold here for several breaths. Bring the right arm down on an exhale.

Do the same position with the right arm down and the left arm up.


Chair Pigeon - Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Come back up to sit. Bring your right ankle to rest on your left thigh, keeping the knee in line with your ankle as much as possible. Hold this chair pigeon for three to five breaths.

You may forward bend to intensify the stretch if you like. Repeat with the left leg.


Chair Eagle - Garudasana

Chair Eagle - Garudasana

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Cross your right thigh over your left thigh for eagle pose. If you can, wrap the right foot all the way around the left calf.

Cross your left arm over the right one at the elbow. Bend the elbows and bring your palms to touch.

Lift the elbows while dropping the shoulders away from the ears. Hold three to five breaths.

Repeat on the other side.


Chair Spinal Twist - Ardha Matsyendrasana

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Come to sit sideways on the chair, facing to the left. Twist your torso toward the left, holding onto the back of the chair, for a spinal twist.

Lengthen your spine on each inhale and twist on each exhale for five breaths.

Move your legs around to the right side of the chair and repeat the twist to the right side.


Chair Warrior I - Virabhadrasana I

Chair Warrior I - Virabhadrasana I

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Now keep the right leg in position over the side of the chair while you swing the left leg behind you.

Plant the sole of the left foot on the floor roughly parallel to the seat of the chair and straighten the left leg.

Keep your torso facing over the right leg as you raise your arms up to the ceiling on a inhale coming to warrior I. Hold for three breaths.


Chair Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

On an exhale, open up the arms with the right arm coming forward and the left arm going back.

Draw the left hip back and turn the torso to the left, so that it is aligned with the front of the chair.

Gaze out over the right fingertips and hold warrior II for three breaths.


Reverse Warrior

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Let the left arm come down the left leg and lift the right arm up to the ceiling on an inhale for reverse warrior. Hold for three breaths.

Bring both legs to the front of the chair before coming to sit sideways on the chair facing left and going through the series of three warrior poses on the left side.


Final Relaxation: Chair Savasana

Final Relaxation: Chair Savasana

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Take a few minutes to sit with your eyes closed and hands in your lap at the end of your practice. This seated savasana will help your body absorb all the good effects of the poses you have done and transition you into the rest of your day.

A Word From Verywell

Chair yoga is an accessible form of yoga to be enjoyed by anyone, no matter their body type, limitations, or abilities. Yoga provides many benefits for physical and mental health, including relieving stress and anxiety and enhancing mood and sleep quality. If you are unsure how to perform any of these movements, ask a certified yoga instructor for guidance.

10 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.