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The Best Chair Yoga App for Home Workouts

One reason many of us struggle to maintain an exercise routine is a lack of time. We find it challenging to balance our work, family, and personal interests.

Even when we have a few moments to spare, it can be difficult to find the motivation to start a workout, and working out alone at home can feel isolating and uninspiring.

A chair yoga app can transform this experience. There are many reasons why chair yoga is suitable for everyone. It’s gentle on the joints and adaptable to different fitness levels. Having such guidance at your fingertips makes it easier to stay committed.

So, here’s what makes the best chair yoga app for home workouts stand out.

Is Chair Yoga Effective?

Chair yoga is effective for many individuals as it offers a range of physical and mental benefits. It’s designed to be accessible, which makes it an attractive option for those who may find traditional yoga practices challenging, such as older adults, individuals with mobility issues, or those with disabilities.

Here’s why chair yoga can be beneficial (8):

Physical Health Benefits

  1. Improved Flexibility: Chair yoga helps with gently stretching muscles, which can enhance flexibility and reduce muscle tension. This assists with overall functional mobility and decreased risk of injury.
  2. Enhanced Strength: Although it may seem mild, chair yoga can help build strength and improve functional fitness, particularly in the arms, legs, back, and core, by using the body’s own weight as resistance (2).
  3. Better Balance and Stability: By focusing on seated and standing poses (with the chair for support), individuals can improve their balance and stability, which is particularly beneficial for preventing falls in older adults (7).
  4. Joint Health: Gentle movements and stretches can improve circulation around the joints, potentially reducing pain and stiffness that is associated with conditions such as arthritis (3).
  5. Improved Cardiovascular Health: Some yoga routines increase the heart rate, which can help improve cardiovascular health over time (6).

Mental Health Benefits

  1. Stress Reduction: As with traditional yoga, chair yoga incorporates breathing exercises and meditation that can help lower stress levels and promote a sense of well-being (4).
  2. Enhanced Focus and Concentration: The meditative elements of chair yoga can improve cognitive functions, such as focus and concentration.
  3. Increased Body Awareness: Regular practice promotes greater awareness of the body, which can improve posture and alignment both during and outside of yoga practice (5).

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Accessibility and Inclusivity

  • Adaptable: It can be adapted to meet a wide range of fitness levels and physical abilities.
  • Convenience: It can be done anywhere you have a chair, which makes it accessible to people who are unable to attend traditional yoga classes.
  • Inclusive: It opens up the practice of yoga to those who may feel excluded from traditional yoga settings due to age, disability, chronic illness, or injury.

While chair yoga is effective and beneficial for many, the extent of its effectiveness can vary depending on individual goals, physical condition, and how regularly you practice it.

Here’s why:

Your Goals Matter

For someone whose primary goal is to improve flexibility or maintain fitness, chair yoga can be highly effective, particularly if their mobility is limited. However, for those who are seeking significant muscle building or intense cardiovascular training, chair yoga may serve better as a supplementary activity rather than the main focus of their fitness routine.

You May Need More Than Chair Yoga

Older adults may find chair yoga particularly beneficial for maintaining balance, flexibility, and strength, reducing the risk of falls, and managing joint pain (7). 

For younger individuals who are generally more mobile, chair yoga can still be effective, but they should also partake in additional physical activities to meet higher energy expenditure needs or fitness goals.

 

You May Need Advice from a Healthcare Professional

Those with specific health conditions (e.g., arthritis or heart disease) may find chair yoga an effective way to manage their symptoms and improve their overall health, but the extent of its effectiveness can depend on the severity of the condition and the advice of healthcare professionals.

You Must Be Consistent

As with any physical activity, the benefits of chair yoga are most pronounced and lasting when the practice is regular. Irregular practice will likely yield slower or less noticeable improvements.

The length and intensity of each session can also affect outcomes. Someone who practices chair yoga for longer sessions or with greater intensity may notice quicker or more significant benefits compared to someone who engages in shorter, less frequent, or less intense sessions.

If your goal is to lose weight, you should check out our blog, Chair Yoga Exercises for Weight Loss, which features tips on using yoga for increased calorie burn.

Is Chair Yoga Free?

Chair yoga is free, as it requires no equipment and can be done at home. All you need is a sturdy chair without wheels, comfortable clothing, and perhaps some soothing background music. However, if you prefer guided classes or a more structured program, there may be costs associated with using a chair yoga app download.

Here are some tips for starting a chair yoga practice at home, without any additional costs:

  • Find a Quiet Space: Choose a quiet and clutter-free space to practice in where you can focus without distractions.
  • Set Aside Time: As with any other workout, you should set aside a specific time each day or week for your chair yoga practice. This will help you make it a regular habit.
  • Start Slowly: Start with simple poses and slowly build up your practice as you become more comfortable and confident.
  • Be Mindful of Your Body: Listen to your body and modify poses or take breaks if necessary. Remember, it’s not about doing the most advanced pose, it’s about listening to your body and doing what feels right for you.
  • Use Online Resources: There are many free online resources available, including videos or written instructions, to guide your chair yoga practice.

Not sure which exercises to start with? Here are a few simple chair yoga poses to get you started (1):

1. Seated Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

The Seated Mountain Pose is a foundational yoga pose that promotes good posture and alignment. It is excellent for improving focus and preparing the body for more complex movements.

Benefits:

  • Enhances spine alignment and posture
  • Engages the core muscles, which helps with stability
  • Promotes a sense of grounding, balance, and inner awareness

Steps:

  1. Sit up straight in the chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands on your thighs, palms down.
  3. Draw your shoulders back and down, ensuring they are relaxed.
  4. Engage your core muscles gently.
  5. Lengthen your spine as if a string is pulling the crown of your head upward.
  6. Hold the pose and take deep, calming breaths for 1-2 minutes.

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

2. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

The Seated Forward Bend is a gentle stretch that helps improve flexibility in the hip joints and back.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the spine and hip joints
  • Calms the mind and relieves stress

Steps:

  1. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Inhale and lengthen your spine.
  3. As you exhale, slowly hinge at the hips and bend forward, reaching your hands toward your feet or the floor.
  4. Keep your neck relaxed and your chin slightly tucked.
  5. Hold the position for several breaths, then slowly return to an upright position.

Explore similar exercises targeted at increasing hip mobility in our previous blog: Chair Yoga Hip Openers: Simple Stretches For Reduced Pain and Increased Flexibility.

 

3. Seated Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

The Seated Cat-Cow Stretch is a dynamic movement that helps warm up the spine and release tension in the back.

Benefits:

  • Increases flexibility in the spine
  • Relieves tension and stress
  • Encourages better posture

Steps:

  1. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and your hands resting on your knees.
  2. Inhale and arch your back, lifting your chest and tilting your pelvis forward (Cow Pose).
  3. Exhale and round your spine, drawing your belly button toward your spine and tucking your chin to your chest (Cat Pose).
  4. Repeat the movement for several breaths, flowing smoothly between cat and cow poses.

4. Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

The Seated Twist is an excellent pose for increasing spinal mobility and massaging your internal organs.

Benefits:

  • Promotes spinal flexibility and mobility
  • Helps with digestion and detoxification
  • Relieves tension in the lower back

Steps:

  1. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your right hand on the back of the chair and your left hand on your right thigh.
  3. Inhale, lengthen your spine, and as you exhale, gently twist to the right, starting from your lower back.
  4. Hold the pose for several breaths, then gently return to the center.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

5. Seated Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

The Seated Pigeon Pose targets the hips and can help alleviate tension and tightness in this area.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the hips, glutes, and lower back
  • Improves blood flow throughout the lower extremities

Steps:

  1. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your right ankle and place it on your left thigh, just above the knee.
  3. Flex your right foot to protect your knee.
  4. Inhale and lengthen your spine.
  5. You can lean forward slightly if you want to deepen the stretch.
  6. Hold the pose for several breaths, then release and switch sides.

6. Seated Side Stretch (Parsva Urdhva Hastasana)

The Seated Side Stretch provides a deep stretch to the sides of the torso, helping open up the rib cage and improve flexibility.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the intercostal muscles along the rib cage
  • Lengthens the spine and improves posture
  • Increases overall body awareness

Steps:

  1. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Inhale and lift both arms above your head.
  3. Grab your left wrist with your right hand.
  4. Exhale and gently lean to the right, stretching the left side of your body.
  5. Hold the pose for several breaths, then gently return to the center.
  6. Switch sides, holding your right wrist with your left hand, and lean to the left.

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Do You Have to Pay for the Chair Yoga App?

Some chair yoga apps are free, while others require a subscription or one-time payment. These costs can vary depending on the features and programs the app offers.

The advantage of paid apps is they often come with additional resources, such as guided meditations, in-depth tutorials, and personalized routines. However, there are also many excellent free options available for those who are on a budget.

Whether it’s free or paid, as long as it provides accessible and effective guidance for your home workouts, it can make a significant difference in helping you stay motivated and committed to your fitness goals.

 

What Makes the Best Chair Yoga App?

  1. User-Friendly Interface: A good chair yoga app should have an intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate for users of all ages.
  2. Variety of Routines: The app should offer a variety of chair yoga routines for different fitness levels, durations, and goals.
  3. Expert Instruction: Look for an app with instructors who have experience and qualifications in teaching chair yoga.
  4. Progress Tracking and Customization: The app should allow you to track your progress, customize routines, and set goals to help you stay motivated.
  5. Affordability: Consider the cost of the app’s subscription or purchase price to ensure it fits your budget.
  6. Accessibility: The app should be accessible for individuals with visual or auditory impairments, ensuring inclusivity.

With these features in mind, let’s reveal the best chair yoga app for seniors, beginners, and people with limited mobility.

What Is the Best Chair Yoga App?

BetterMe: Health Coaching is available on both iOS and Android. It offers a variety of chair yoga routines for seniors, beginners, and people with limited mobility.

It has an easy-to-use interface, expert instruction from certified instructors, and customizable features such as progress tracking and goal setting. The app also includes options for guided meditations, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques.

Whether you’re looking for a quick stretch or a full-body workout, BetterMe’s chair yoga routines are designed to improve flexibility, strength, and overall well-being. And the best part? You can opt in for coaching. For an extra fee, you’ll get personalized support and guidance from a certified health coach to help you reach your goals. 

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

FAQs

  • Is chair yoga real yoga?

Yes, chair yoga incorporates the principles and poses of traditional yoga, but modifies them for individuals with limited mobility or those who cannot perform floor-based practices. It offers similar benefits, including improved flexibility, balance, and strength (7).

In our Chair Yoga Routines guide, we explore chair yoga in detail and provide more tips for mastering chair yoga for all ages.

  • How many times a week should you do chair yoga?

You can do chair yoga daily; it’s a gentle practice that can be done every day. However, if you’re new to chair yoga or have any health concerns, it may be best to consult a medical professional before you start a regular practice.

The Bottom Line

Chair yoga is a fantastic way to incorporate physical activity into your daily life if you have limited mobility or health concerns. 

With the help of a chair and an excellent chair yoga app, you can experience the many benefits of yoga without leaving your home. Whether you prefer a free or paid app, choose one that suits your needs and helps you stay committed to a regular practice.

DISCLAIMER:

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!

SOURCES

  1. Chair Yoga: Journal of Medical Evidence (2021, journals.lww.com)
  2. Effectiveness of Chair Yoga for Improving the Functional Fitness and Well-being of Female Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Low Physical Activities (2019, journals.lww.com)
  3. 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, mdpi.com)
  4. Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health: A Short Summary of Reviews (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  5. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  6. Is yoga heart-healthy? It’s no stretch to see benefits, science suggests (2019, heart.org)
  7. Safety and feasibility of modified chair-yoga on functional outcome among elderly at risk for falls (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  8. Take a Seat for Yoga with Seniors: A Scoping Review (2021, researchgate.net)
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