Blog Mental Health Yoga Chair Yoga Armchair Yoga: A Safe and Effective Way to Stay Active

Armchair Yoga: A Safe and Effective Way to Stay Active

Many people all over the world find themselves living a sedentary lifestyle. Although this is the case for people at age, it becomes more common as we get older and no longer have the mobility we used to have. If you’re one of the millions of people who spends hours a day in your armchair yet wishes to regain mobility and improve your health, use that comfy piece of furniture as your workout companion!

Armchair yoga offers a gentle and accessible way to improve flexibility, strength, and mental clarity. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of armchair yoga and show you how to seamlessly incorporate it into your daily routine.

Does Armchair Yoga Work?

We often think of yoga as exercise that has to be performed on a mat. However, yoga is just as much of a mind exercise, focusing on skills like breathing, regulating your emotions, and self-care. This means that you can perform it anywhere, even in a chair.

Breathing is an important part of yoga. When yoga beginners are learning to control their breathing, they tend to do better at controlling their bodies. Chair yoga is a good starting point for beginners, as they must perform gentle movements, so controlling breaths becomes easier.

Apart from this, chair yoga is quite accessible for people of all fitness levels. It is especially suitable for individuals who suffer from joint or back pain, have difficulty balancing, and have limited range of motion. For people with mobility limitations, chair yoga can provide an excellent catalyst to incorporating more activity into your day, which may progress to the inclusion of other forms of exercise into your routine. 

See also
28-Day Chair Yoga For Seniors: Regain Flexibility And Build Strength With Guided

A small 2023 study of 35 older women in community care indicated that doing chair yoga for 12 weeks may improve strength and function in older adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA) (4).. However, since the study was small, more research will be needed to support this.

Armchair yoga, as the name suggests, sounds quite comfortable as you perform it while being seated in a comfortable and supportive chair. The movements are usually low-impact, making them suitable for adults who want to reduce their dependency (5). You can find gentle chair yoga programs for beginners and seniors and include them in your routine if you have wanted to incorporate physical activity into your life but struggled to know where to start.

For those with flexibility and mobility deficits, research also suggests that doing yoga regularly can help older people stay flexible and slow down the stiffness that comes with age (8).

Beyond just the physical benefits, armchair yoga can improve your psychological well-being. Yoga can help people feel less stressed and anxious (7). It can make people happier and improve sleep quality. 

These benefits might be especially important for people who can’t do other types of exercise. Office workers, in particular, can benefit from office chair yoga. It can help them stay active, fresh, and more focused.

armchair yoga  

Does Chair Yoga Really Work for Weight Loss?

More and more people are working from home these days, often spending hours sitting at their computers. This change in work style, which started for many during the pandemic, can lead to weight gain. A study by the American Psychological Association found that 42% of people who worked from home beginning during the pandemic gained an average of 29 pounds in the first year (6).

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7 Yoga Ball Chair Benefits That'll Make You Ditch Your Work Chair

If you are a busy bee concerned about your health, armchair yoga is a great place to begin your fitness journey. It provides a gentle and gradual trail into the fitness world that can get you some initial health gains with very low impact. Once you have mastered the basic exercises and trained your body to move, you can advance to other exercises (if your physical health allows).

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The following are some armchair yoga poses to get you started:

Seated Forward Bend

The seated forward bend engages your lower back muscles and improves circulation (1). It can also encourage mindfulness, contributing to a holistic weight management approach. To perform a seated forward bend, you have to:

  1. Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor, about as wide as your hips.
  2. Take a deep breath in and stretch your spine tall.
  3. Breathe and slowly bend forward from your hips, keeping your back straight.
  4. Reach your hands towards your shins, ankles, or the floor if possible.
  5. Hold this gentle stretch for 5 to 10 breaths.
See also
7 Chair Yoga Exercises for Weight Loss

Seated Mountain Pose

A seated mountain pose engages your core muscles and promotes upright posture (3). Here is how you can perform this exercise:

  1. Sit comfortably in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and back straight.
  2. Place your hands on your thighs with your palms down.
  3. Take a deep breath in and stretch your spine upwards, reaching the top of your head towards the ceiling.
  4. Gently pull your belly button in towards your spine.
  5. Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths, focusing on your breathing and keeping good posture.

Seated Leg Lifts

Another movement that you can include in your chair yoga for beginners routine is the seated leg lifts. It engages your quadriceps and lower leg muscles, which helps to amplify the caloric burn and improve your overall metabolic activity (2). You can perform this exercise by following these steps:

  1. Sit up straight in your chair, with your feet on the floor.
  2. Hold the sides of your chair to help keep your balance.
  3. Take a deep breath in, and as you breathe out, lift your right leg straight out in front of you.
  4. Hold this for a few breaths, then lower your leg.
  5. Do the same thing with your left leg.
  6. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg, and you can do more lifts as you get stronger.

These three exercises are just a tiny sample of the endless variations of poses and movements that can be performed in chair yoga. Keep in mind that if weight loss is your primary goal, the caloric expenditure during chair yoga is typically quite low, and a well-balanced calorie deficit diet, along with regular daily movement is much more pivotal to weight loss.

See also
7 Chair Exercises for Belly Fat Loss

Read more: 21 Day Chair Yoga: Reasons To Add This Challenge To Your Routine

What Do You Do in Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga covers some gentle exercises you can perform without leaving your seat. The poses in traditional yoga are modified so they can be performed on a chair. You can look for armchair yoga for beginners or chair yoga for seniors to discover some light yet effective exercises you can perform while seated.

Here are some basic principles of chair yoga:

  • Strengthening: Some poses help you to build strength in your core, arms, and legs.
  • Stretching: You perform different stretching movements to improve flexibility in your legs, neck, arms, and back.
  • Meditation: Some chair yoga exercises encompass meditation and mindfulness to promote calmness and mental clarity.

Even though armchair or simply chair yoga is promoted as an ideal practice for those who have difficulty performing yoga on a mat, anyone can benefit from this gentle form of exercise. You can look for chair yoga for men or women, and you will find more or less the same exercises. It is your form and consistency that makes the whole difference.

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See also
11 Benefits of Chair Yoga: Even The Skeptics Will Want to Try It

Is Chair Yoga Safe?

Yes, chair yoga is considered quite safe as it involves gentle movements and breathing exercises. Still, it is important that you follow the direction of a qualified instructor who can teach you the correct form, pacing, and sequencing while performing the exercises. This may be either through a virtual instructor-led course or in-person, for those who prefer 1-on-1 instruction. As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

There are also some very effective chair yoga apps that provide detailed instructions on how to perform the exercises. For best results, make sure you have your space setup with the following:

  • Choose a clutter-free and quiet space.
  • Position your chair on a mat for added stability.
  • Avoid distractions to maximize your concentration.

Remember, there is no rush in yoga. The key is to pay attention to the signals from your body. If a pose doesn’t feel right, you should skip or modify it.

Read more: Unlocking Relaxation: The Magic of Restorative Chair Yoga

armchair yoga  


  • How many calories does 30 minutes of chair yoga burn?

You can burn about 100 to 300 calories in a 30-minute yoga session. The exact amount depends on what type of yoga you do, how much you weigh, and how hard you work.

  • Is it OK to do chair yoga every day?

Chair yoga is a gentle form of exercise that can be safely performed every day for most, but you need to listen to your body and allow it to recover as needed. This is especially important as you’re just getting started and may experience more muscle soreness than expected until your body gets stronger. Starting out three days per week is typically advised for beginners

  • Can you get in shape with chair yoga?

Yes, chair yoga can help you get in shape, but it won’t single-handedly allow you to lose the weight you plan to shed. If your goal is weight loss, you should include other forms of activity into your day and create a diet plan that helps achieve the desired goals.

  • What are the five benefits of chair yoga?

There are many benefits of chair yoga. Five of these are:

  • Reduced pain
  • Improved strength and flexibility
  • Increased body awareness
  • Stress reduction

Accessible for all

  • Does chair yoga reduce belly fat?

Chair yoga, like any other form of exercise, is just a small piece of a much larger puzzle for weight loss. If your primary goal is to lose weight and body fat, getting your diet on track is the most important factor. If you are not eating a well-balanced calorie deficit diet, you will not lose belly fat. Exercise helps accelerate the process by burning extra calories, increasing muscle mass, and improving basal metabolic rate, but it will not provide any weight loss without a diet that supports it.

  • What is 28-day chair yoga?

A 28-day chair yoga program is a comprehensive approach specially curated for seniors. It helps to enhance their balance, flexibility, and strength over a period of 28 days.

The Bottom Line

Armchair yoga is a variation of chair yoga that brings the same benefits. Although it is generally advised to use a chair without arms, you can initiate your yoga practice with an armchair as a beginner and progress as you feel comfortable. Gradually, you can start practicing on a regular chair or even move to the mat if your physical health allows. Performing yoga on a regular basis can produce significant health benefits, both physically and mentally. 

But the question is, are you willing to adopt the practice regularly?


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. A Comprehensive Review of Paschimottanasana: Benefits, Variations, and Scientific Evidence (2023,
  2. Are the Seated Leg Extension, Leg Curl, and Adduction Machine Exercises Non-Functional or Risky? (2017,
  3. Benefits of Parvatasana (Mountain Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht (2024,
  4. Effect of Chair Yoga Therapy on Functional Fitness and Daily Life Activities among Older Female Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis in Taiwan: A Quasi-Experimental Study (2023,
  5. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life (2011,
  7. The Effect of Yoga on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Women (2018,
  8. The effects of selected asanas in Iyengar yoga on flexibility: pilot study (2014,