A woman holding the back of a chair and bending forward.

9 Health Benefits of Chair Yoga for Seniors

Exercise is one of the many activities that become more difficult as we age. However, movement is incredibly important for both our bodies and minds. Thankfully, there are many ways to adjust exercises to make them more accessible!

One of our favorite exercise adaptations for seniors is chair yoga. A chair will help with your stability and balance, allowing you to focus on the poses. Even though chair yoga is less challenging than standard yoga, it has several health benefits. Yoga in a chair for seniors has been shown to increase physical strength and flexibility, as well as mental well-being.

Physical Benefits of Chair Yoga Exercises for Seniors

Studies on the benefits of chair yoga for seniors have so far included very small numbers of participants, but what data we do have is incredibly positive. Several small studies have provided the following results:

  1. Improved strength in the hands, arms, and legs
  2. Improvements in balance, agility, gait, and limb flexibility
  3. Improvement in functional fitness for those with joint conditions
  4. A significant reduction in joint pain
  5. Improved mobility

Although more research remains, the studies we have show few to no adverse effects to chair yoga poses for seniors. Instead, chair yoga can greatly improve your quality of life in many areas.

One of the best parts of chair yoga for seniors is how low-impact and adaptable it is. All you need to start is a chair, comfortable clothes, and your own body. Yoga should never hurt, so just stretch to a point that feels good. The stability of the chair will give you confidence and balance as you start out.

Emotional Benefits of Chair Yoga Poses for Seniors

Yoga isn’t just about physical fitness. Yoga chair exercises for seniors can generally improve overall quality of life. Some specific emotional and mental benefits of chair yoga for seniors include:

  1. Decreased fear of falls
  2. Reduction in depression and pain
  3. Increased life satisfaction
  4. Improved sleep

Overall, yoga can increase confidence, happiness, and quality of life, while improving sleep and reducing pain and depression. Chair yoga is not a lesser exercise than yoga, it’s just a bit more gentle. Of course, all manner of physical exercises also release endorphins, which make us feel good.

Our Favorite Chair Yoga Sequence for Seniors

A woman sitting on the edge of a chair and reaching forward.

As always, we encourage you to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. If you’re able to start chair yoga, we recommend a sturdy chair without arms or wheels. Wear comfortable clothes, stay hydrated, and have fun!

We’ve adapted these exercises from Healthline, and you can find visuals for each pose on their site. In each pose, try to take a few deep breaths before returning to your starting position.

Seated Mountain

  • Sit up straight and take a deep breath
  • Exhale, sitting deeply in the chair
  • Inhale and exhale, rolling your shoulders back and pressing your feet into the floor

Warrior I

  • Start in seated mountain
  • Take a deep breath, lifting your arms out to the sides and raising them above your head
  • Lace your fingers together, rolling your shoulders back

Seated Forward Bend

  • Start in seated mountain
  • Inhale, extend your spine, and fold forward over your legs

Eagle Arms

  • Inhale, extending your arms to the sides
  • As you exhale, bring your arms together
  • If you can, twist the right and the left forearms together
  • If you can’t, hug each shoulder with the opposite hand
  • Inhale, lifting your elbows
  • Exhale, rolling your shoulders back

Reverse Arm Hold

  • Sit forward, leaving room between your back and the back of your chair
  • Inhale, stretching both arms to the sides with palms down
  • Exhale, rolling your shoulders forward, palms facing behind you
  • Clasp your hands however you like and gently pull them apart from each other without letting go
  • Reclasp your hands the opposite way and repeat

Seated Twist

  • Inhale, extending your spine up and your arms out to the sides
  • Exhale, gently twisting to the right side with your upper body
  • Lower your arms, placing one on the back of the chair and one at your side
  • Look over your right shoulder and breathe
  • Repeat on the other side

Chair yoga is just one aspect of how we engage with movement at The Moments. Our resident experience is full of activities like fitness, karaoke, field trips, and game shows.

Learn more about enhanced assisted living at The Moments.

Published On: March 26, 2024