What is Chair Yoga – Benefits and Options

Yes, believe it or not, there is such a thing as a yoga chair.It’s a bit of a no brainer, but naturally a yoga chair is associated with practicing chair yoga. Some may also refer to this practice of yoga as office yoga. Either way, using a chair for practicing yoga can allow true beginners or older students to practice poses easier.However, many may ask the question, “Will any type of chair work for yoga?”Basically, the answer is yes. Although, the chair type and size may limit the type of poses you can practice. So, chances are you likely have a chair at home that will work just fine for a chair yoga practice. For example, a simple kitchen table chair or folding chair should do the trick in a pinch.However, if you’re looking for a more advanced solution, several companies now produce chairs that are specifically designed to use during yoga and other types of exercise. These chairs include very simple chairs without a back or balance ball chairs that are more versatile.Things to keep in mind concerning a yoga chair would include the style of chair and the type of poses you wish to practice. Once you settle on your chair, the good news is that chair yoga offers numerous benefits for beginner and older students.


Types Of Yoga Chairs

As mentioned, a yoga chair can present itself in many styles and shapes. For our purposes we will focus on chairs that you would use at home, as opposed to chairs you may find in the office for a quick office yoga practice.

Yoga Chair

Standard Chair:

LMany standard kitchen or desk chairs could potentially work well for chair yoga. For example, a wooden kitchen chair, or standard metal folding chair may work just fine for your practice. However, keep in mind that using one of these chairs as a yoga chair may create some issues. For instance, you will need to make sure that the chair is the right height for your body type. Many normal desk chairs may also work, but you may want to use one without wheels or arm rests.

Shop For Standard Chairs

Backless Chair:

You may discover that you would prefer a backless yoga chair. A backless chair will make more poses accessible to you. Since most home chairs aren’t backless, you will need to shop around a little to find one. Luckily, there are some inexpensive options. If you’re handy, it may also be possible to convert one of your existing folding chairs into a backless yoga chair.

Shop For Backless Yoga Chair

Balance Ball Chairs:

It may be worth considering using a balance ball chair with your yoga practice. These chairs have become a popular alternative to standard desk chairs and many people use them daily while working behind their desk. Balance ball chairs are also a comprise between sitting on just a ball or sitting on a standard chair. Sitting on these chairs helps to engage the core muscles which can help improve your posture.

Balance ball chairs can also act as a yoga chair, but you would want to lock the wheels during your practice time. The balls are also removeable to allow use of the ball without the chair.

Shop For Balance Ball Chairs


Benefits Of Chair Yoga

Practicing chair yoga offers many of the same benefits as practicing on your mat. Obviously, some yoga poses will be off limits to you using a chair. However, there are numerous poses that work well using a yoga chair and they too can offer great health benefits.Probably, the number one overall benefit of chair yoga is that it allows beginner and older students to practice with the added support and safety of a chair. Practicing with a chair allows someone with limited mobility to still gain benefits from a variety of yoga postures.These benefits could include improved strength, better flexibility, lower stress levels, improved posture and better mental focus. Improved flexibility can create major improvements in our daily lives and help with simple tasks that might become more difficult with age. Using chair yoga to improve core strength and posture will offer a variety of health benefits and help protect from back injuries.Clearly, using a yoga chair will most aid students who suffer from mobility issues and seniors may find it beneficial as well. However, its also possible that more typical students will find it useful while at work or perhaps if they just need a quick stretch while at the desk.


Yoga Chair Poses


Yoga Chair Side Stretch Pose

Side Stretch & Shoulder Stretch:

You will discover that using a chair will allow for a nice simple side stretch and shoulder stretch. There are several ways to stretch the side and shoulders from a yoga chair. The easiest option is to simply sit with flat feet, reach one arm at a time above your head and lean your torso to the right or left.

As you can see from the photo, you can also slide toward the middle of the chair and then straighten the leg opposite of the lifted arm.

Yoga Chair Pose


Chair Pose:

Chair Pose is an example of a standing posture that can be made easier with the use of a yoga chair. The chair will provide support and allow for the student to take a seated break after a couple of breaths holding the pose. Just slide closer to the chair’s edge and then slowly lift into the posture keeping the chair in position. After a few breaths, slowly sit back into the chair.

Cat/Cow Pose:

One very popular backbend posture is Cat/Cow Pose. The combination of these poses provides a very nice way to add a gentle backbend to your practice. Fortunately, these poses can also be practiced from a chair. To give it a try, just slide toward the front edge of the chair and then follow the same process for the poses while seated.

Seated Twist:

Seated twisting will help you to practice a twisting posture from your chair. Simply sit in the chair with your feet flat on the ground and then twist to the left and right. You can grasp the chair arm or seat to help twist into the position.


Chair Yoga Class Preview

The above video with Jenny Lupe is a short and basic chair yoga class that’s designed to give a brief introduction to a few simple chair yoga poses. The class should work well for true beginners who lack mobility and would also be helpful for older students. Stream It!
In conclusion, if you’re considering trying chair yoga, it would be well worth doing a little research to determine which type of yoga chair would work best for your practice. It’s very possible that one of your chairs at home will do the trick. However, you may give yourself more flexibility and options by using a chair designed with yoga or exercise in mind.