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7 Chair Yoga Exercises for Weight Loss

Poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle are among the leading causes of being overweight or obese. However, these issues often extend beyond simple lifestyle choices to poor mental and emotional health (4).

When you’re burdened by stress, anxiety, even depression, it is harder to take care of your physical well-being. You may find comfort in food and avoid physical activity, further exacerbating weight gain.

Yoga, being a stress-relieving and holistic practice, can address not only the physical aspects of weight loss but also the mental and emotional barriers to a healthier lifestyle.

Yoga is even more effective when tailored to be accessible for everyone, regardless of their physical condition. Chair yoga exercises are designed to help those who regularly spend a lot of time sitting or just find traditional yoga poses challenging.

Read on to find out more about this gentle yet effective way to engage in physical activity and promote weight loss.

Can You Lose Weight By Doing Chair Yoga?

Performing chair yoga requires some energy (not as much as other activities) and will burn some calories. Paired with a calorie-controlled and healthy diet, chair yoga can help with weight loss  (2).

However, the primary aim of chair yoga is not intense fat burning or weight loss; rather, it’s more about improving overall health and well-being. Improving your mental and emotional health can ultimately lead to better weight management (1).

Let’s take a look at some of the specific ways chair yoga can support weight loss:

Improve Your Mobility

For people who are overweight or have limited mobility, starting out with intense workouts can be daunting and, in some cases, unsafe. Chair yoga remedies this by offering a gentle but effective way to start moving more (5).

By focusing on flexibility and strength through accessible poses and stretches, chair yoga can increase your range of motion, reduce risk of injury, and make it easier to engage in more vigorous physical activities over time.

This gradual progression is essential for establishing a sustainable exercise routine that supports long-term weight loss and health improvements.

Manage Stress Better

Chronic stress has been identified as a significant barrier to weight loss. Under stress, the body releases cortisol, a hormone that can lead to increased fat storage, especially in the abdominal area. It also affects our food choices, driving us towards high-calorie comfort foods that can sabotage weight loss efforts (9).

Chair yoga, with its focus on mindfulness and breathing techniques, offers a practical method for managing stress. The calming effects of these yoga practices reduce cortisol levels, helping mitigate its adverse effects on weight management (10).

By incorporating chair yoga into your routine you can cultivate a more positive relationship with food and reduce emotional eating.

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Boost Your Metabolism

Chair yoga can also help boost metabolism, the process by which our bodies convert what we eat and drink into energy. As we age, our metabolism tends to slow down, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight (3).

The slow, controlled movements in chair yoga increase blood flow to different parts of the body, stimulating the digestive system and promoting better nutrient absorption (8).

In addition, the meditative aspects of chair yoga can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps regulate digestion and metabolism. By incorporating regular chair yoga exercises into your daily routine you can enhance your body’s ability to burn calories and maintain a healthy weight (11).

Strengthen Your Muscles

Gentle as it is, chair yoga is still a form of physical activity that engages and strengthens muscles. The poses may be modified to suit different levels of strength and flexibility, but they still provide resistance and work various muscle groups.

By targeting specific areas such as the core, arms, legs, and back, chair yoga can improve overall muscle tone. This increased muscle mass not only helps with weight loss (as muscles burn more calories than fat) but also supports better posture and balance, reducing the risk of falls and injuries (5).

Build Better Habits

One of the main challenges of weight loss is maintaining a healthy routine and making lasting lifestyle changes.  Chair yoga can help with this by promoting mindfulness and self-awareness (2).

Through regular practice you come more in tune with your body, its needs, and how it responds to different activities and foods. This awareness can help you make better choices in terms of nutrition and physical activity, leading to sustainable weight loss.

In addition, the meditative aspects of chair yoga may also improve sleep quality, reduce cravings, and enhance self-control. All these factors contribute to better overall health and support weight management efforts.


7 Chair Yoga Exercises for Weight Loss

There’s no single correct way to practice chair yoga, and you can even create your own routine by incorporating different poses and modifications. The important thing is to listen to your body and start slowly, gradually increasing the intensity as you feel more comfortable.

Here are seven chair yoga exercises that can support weight loss:

Seated Cat-Cow Stretch

The Seated Cat-Cow Stretch brings flexibility to the spine and engages the core muscles. It’s an awesome exercise because it helps by improving posture and reducing stress via gentle stretches of the back and torso. This exercise is a chair adaptation of the traditional Cat-Cow Stretch, performed on all fours on a mat.

How to do it:

  1. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Place your hands on your knees.
  3. Inhale, arch your back and look up towards the ceiling, creating a gentle curve in your spine (this is the Cow position).
  4. Exhale, round your spine, tucking your chin to your chest, and pulling your belly button towards your spine (this is the Cat position).
  5. Repeat this flow for several breaths, moving smoothly between Cow and Cat positions.

Chair Pigeon Pose

The Chair Pigeon Pose targets the hips, glutes, and lower back, making it beneficial for those who sit for long periods. It helps with stretching deep glutes and relieving tightness in the lower back. This pose is a modification of the traditional Pigeon Pose, where one leg is folded in front while the other extends backward on the floor.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your right ankle and place it on your left knee, keeping your right knee pointing out to the side.
  3. Sit up tall, and if you want a deeper stretch, gently lean forward from your hips.
  4. Hold for several breaths, then switch legs and repeat.

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

Seated Forward Bend

The Seated Forward Bend stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings. It’s excellent for relieving tension in the back and improving flexibility. This exercise modifies the traditional Forward Bend, which is done standing or sitting on the floor by bending at the waist.

How to do it:

  1. Sit toward the front of your chair with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
  2. Inhale and extend your arms up overhead.
  3. Exhale and slowly bend forward from your hips, lowering your torso towards your thighs and your hands towards your feet.
  4. Allow your head to hang heavy and relax your neck.
  5. Hold for a few breaths, then slowly sit back up.

Chair Warrior II

Chair Warrior II is a seated version of the traditional Warrior II pose, but done while sitting. This exercise focuses on stretching and strengthening the legs, glutes, and core, while also working on upper body strength and stability.

This pose is fantastic for improving focus and stability. For example; office workers who spend hours at their desk can especially benefit from this exercise, as it helps with posture. The same goes for those who may have limited mobility or balance issues.

We’ve discussed how to fit your Yoga workout into a busy schedule in our office chair yoga blog.

How to do it:

  1. Sit on a chair sideways so that one leg can be extended backward and the other can remain bent in front of you.
  2. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, parallel to the floor.
  3. Turn your head to look over your front hand, keeping your torso upright and your shoulders dropped away from your ears.
  4. Hold the position for a few breaths, then switch sides by simply turning to face the opposite direction on the chair.


Chair Extended Side Angle

This is a modification of the Extended Side Angle Pose, performed while seated to engage the side of the body, stretching and strengthening the core, legs, and arms. It targets the obliques, thighs, and shoulders. This exercise helps in improving flexibility, particularly along the sides of the body.

How to do it:

  1. Sit tall on the chair, facing forward.
  2. Extend one leg out to the side, keeping the other foot flat on the ground.
  3. Raise your arms to shoulder height, then lean away from the extended leg, placing one arm on the thigh of your bent knee and reaching the other arm overhead, creating a line from your extended foot through your fingertips.
  4. Hold for a few breaths, feeling the stretch along the side body, then repeat on the other side.

Seated Spinal Twist

This exercise is a seated version of the spinal twist, focusing on rotating the spine and stretching the back muscles. It’s perfect for improving spinal mobility and relieving tension in the back. It engages the spine, abs, and back muscles.

Besides offering a great stretch to the back, the spinal twist also promotes better digestion and stimulates circulation. The seated modification makes it easier for people with mobility issues to perform.

How to do it:

  1. Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor facing sideways on your chair.
  2. Place one hand on the back of the chair and the other on your opposite knee.
  3. Gently twist your torso towards the back of the chair, keeping your spine tall.
  4. Hold for a few breaths, then return to the center and switch sides.

Chair Savasana

This exercise is a modification of the traditional Savasana or Corpse Pose, adapted for the chair. It focuses on deep relaxation and breathing while seated. It’s less about engaging muscle groups and more about mental relaxation and breathing. 

Chair Savasana helps reduce stress, calm the mind, and improve mental clarity. It’s a great way to end a yoga session, to assimilate the benefits of the practice.

How to do it:

  1. Sit comfortably in your chair, remove any support, and place your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Allow your hands to rest on your lap or by your sides, palms facing up.
  3. Close your eyes and focus on deep, slow breathing.
  4. Relax your body and mind, remaining in this position for several minutes.

Our, chair yoga routines, article has detailed workouts tailored to different needs you can try.

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Does Chair Yoga Tone Your Stomach?

Losing belly fat with chair yoga is possible because the practice addresses one of the main causes of excess abdominal fat: stress. Research shows that stress affects the body’s ability to lose weight and increases the likelihood of gaining fat in the abdominal area (9).

Chair yoga, with its focus on relaxation and mindfulness, can help combat this issue by lowering stress levels and improving overall well-being (10).

Certain chair yoga poses engage the abdominal muscles and can help tone and strengthen them. These include seated twists, seated forward folds, and chair planks.

Remember that spot reduction is not possible with any form of exercise. To see real results in terms of belly fat loss, you must combine chair yoga with a calorie-controlled diet and other forms of physical activity.

How to Lose Belly Fat With Chair Yoga?

To lose belly fat, combine chair yoga with a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in whole and unprocessed foods. Cut back on sugary and high-fat foods while increasing your consumption of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (6).

Incorporating more physical activity into your routine can also help with weight loss. Along with regular chair yoga practice, try to engage in other forms of physical activity such as walking, swimming, or strength training (7).

Remember to listen to your body and progress at a pace that feels comfortable for you. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your chair yoga practice as you build strength and flexibility.

Be patient and kind to yourself. Sustainable weight loss takes time and effort, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.

Does 28 Day Chair Yoga Work?

28 days may not seem like a long time, but it can be enough to establish healthy habits and see some progress in your weight loss journey.

The 28 Day Chair Yoga program is designed to introduce you to the basics of chair yoga and help you build strength and flexibility gradually. Each day includes a new set of poses that target different areas of the body, along with guided meditations and breathing exercises.

Although 28 days may not be enough to see significant weight loss, it can kickstart your journey towards a more active and mindful lifestyle. Plus, you can continue practicing chair yoga even after the program ends, for long-term benefits.

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



  • Can I Lose Weight Doing Chair Exercises?

You can lose weight doing chair exercises, but it primarily depends on your diet and overall physical activity level. Chair exercises can help improve muscle strength, flexibility, and balance, but weight loss ultimately comes down to creating a calorie deficit through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

  • How Many Times a Week Should You Do Chair Yoga?

You should do chair yoga as often as your body and schedule allow. If you’re just starting, aim for at least 2-3 times a week to build a consistent practice. As you become more comfortable and experienced, try to incorporate chair yoga into your daily routine or practice at least 5 times a week for optimal benefits.

  • Is 30 Minutes of Yoga Enough to Lose Weight?

While yoga can play a role in weight loss, it’s not typically considered an intense enough form of exercise to solely rely on for losing weight. It’s best used in combination with other forms of physical activity and a healthy diet. 30 minutes of yoga per day can contribute to overall calorie burn and help build strength and flexibility, but it may not be enough on its own for significant weight loss. 

  • Does Chair Dancing Burn Calories?

Yes, chair dancing can burn calories as it involves movement and physical activity. The number of calories burned will vary depending on factors such as your weight, intensity level, and duration of the session. However, that may not be enough to result in significant weight loss on its own. Incorporating a balanced diet and other forms of exercise is always recommended for sustainable weight management (7). 

The Bottom Line

While chair yoga is not the most intense form of physical activity for weight loss, it offers a holistic and sustainable approach to improving overall health and well-being. By addressing mental and emotional barriers and promoting mindful habits, chair yoga can support your long-term weight loss and a healthier lifestyle for you.


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. Association of changes in mental health with weight loss during intensive lifestyle intervention: does the timing matter? (2018,nih.gov)
  2. A Different Weight Loss Experience: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Behavioral, Physical, and Psychosocial Changes Associated with Yoga That Promote Weight Loss (2016,nih.gov)
  3. A Research Agenda: The Changing Relationship Between Body Weight and Health in Aging (2016,nih.gov)
  4. Causes of Obesity (2024,cdc.gov)
  5. 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,nih.gov)
  6. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance (2021,nih.gov)
  7. Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight (2023,cdc.gov)
  8. Role of yoga therapy in improving digestive health and quality of sleep in an elderly population: A randomized controlled trial (2021,nih.gov)
  9. Stress, cortisol, and obesity: a role for cortisol responsiveness in identifying individuals prone to obesity (2016,nih.gov)
  10. The Effect of Yoga on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Women (2018,nih.gov)
  11. The effect of long term combined yoga practice on the basal metabolic rate of healthy adults (2006,bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com)