Blog Mental Health Yoga Chair Yoga Chair Yoga Sequences for Renewed Energy and Balance

Chair Yoga Sequences for Renewed Energy and Balance

If you spend most of your time seated instead of on your feet, you must know the health risks that are associated with prolonged sitting. Your job or busy daily routine may only allow you to move around a little. Adding chair yoga sequences to your lifestyle can help keep you energetic.

You don’t necessarily need to be on your feet to work out. With chair yoga sequences, you can get benefits that are similar to traditional yoga. Doing chair yoga can make you more flexible, less stiff, and help relax your muscles. It’s excellent for seniors and anyone who wants to feel better, no matter how old they are or if they have trouble moving. 

Let’s find some easy chair yoga poses you can try anytime, anywhere.

What Is Chair Yoga?

As the name suggests, chair yoga is a broad term for yoga sequences you perform while seated on a chair. These sequences are specially made for individuals with restricted mobility, old age, and who spend hours behind a desk (3). As chair yoga is a gentle variation of traditional yoga, it’s excellent for seniors as it places less pressure on joints and benefits individuals in wheelchairs or with joint injuries (5).

Chair yoga is similar to traditional yoga in that many individual postures remain the same, such as hip stretches and bending. Individuals can also enjoy several chair yoga benefits, including stress reduction, better posture, and improved well-being (11).

What Is the 28-Day Chair Yoga Challenge?

Chair yoga can be performed practically anywhere and doesn’t require a unique chair. However, a chair with wheels may not be suitable and you should use a sturdy and stable seat. Alternatively, you may lock the wheels of your wheelchair to keep it from moving. If your feet don’t reach the ground, place a firm block on the floor and then rest your feet on top of it. 

The following chair yoga sequences for beginners can be performed in any order. Remember to keep your posture straight and follow breathing techniques to make the most of these free chair yoga exercises (1). You can do the following chair yoga sequences as part of the 28-day chair yoga for seniors.

Chair Cat-Cow

One of the easiest chair yoga sequences is the seated cat-cow pose. To do this, sit on a sturdy chair with your back straight and your feet firmly on the ground. Place your hands on top of your knees or thighs. As you breathe in, raise your shoulders and roll them back, bringing your shoulder blades together on your back. This is known as the cow pose.

See also
Restorative Chair Yoga To Unlock Relaxation

Breathe out and allow your head and shoulders to come forward. Round your spine, and lower your chin to your chest. This will separate your shoulder blades from the previous retracted position. This is the cat pose. Keep alternating between the cow and cat pose for five breaths.

Chair Raised Hands

The next pose is seated raised hands, chair salute pose, or the Urdhva Hastasana. This pose is good for stretching the spine and is one of the best chair yoga sequences for seniors. Sit a few inches away from the back of the chair with your feet placed on the floor. Practice with your feet hip-distance apart if you have lower back pain. If your feet don’t reach the floor, put them on blocks. Hang your arms by your side.

As you inhale, round your shoulders, relax your front ribs, raise your arms toward the ceiling, and exhale as you bring them back. Remember to maintain a straight posture with your shoulders back and your rib cage resting comfortably. Your hips must be planted firmly on the chair.

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Chair Forward Bend

Chair forward bend, or the Uttanasana, is suitable for stretching your back and legs. Sit on the chair with your feet shoulder-width apart, similar to the Urdhva Hastasana starting position. Hang your arms by your side.

Exhale and bend forward over your legs. If your hands reach the floor, let them rest there. Allow your head to hang. Raise your arms back over your head as you inhale. Repeat this motion for a few breaths, alternating between forward bending and raised arms.

chair yoga sequences  

Chair Camel

The seated camel pose or the Ustrasana helps stretch your shoulders, upper back, and chest (2). Sit on the chair and place your feet hip-width apart. Take a breath, arch your upper back, and allow your shoulder blades to rest against the back of the chair. Expand your collarbone, raise your sternum and chin, and let your shoulders drop back and away from your ears.

Stretch your arms back and grab the legs of the chair if it feels comfortable. Externally rotate your arms so your elbow interiors face forward. Lift your chest on the next breath to let your rib cage expand and form a long, even curve through your upper and mid back. You can plant your feet firmly on the ground to work your legs and core. Inhale and exhale multiple times. Release your hands, tuck your chin, and return to your starting seated posture to exit the pose.

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Armchair Yoga: A Safe and Effective Way to Stay Active

Chair Extended Side Angle

To perform Utthita Parsvakonasana, touch the floor with the fingertips of your left hand on the outside of your left foot. Place a block under your left hand if you find it difficult to bring it to the floor, or bring it to your left knee and twist from there.​

Breathe in, rotate to the right, raise your right arm, and look up at the ceiling while opening your chest. This is an extended side angle position from your chair. Hold for a few breaths at this point. Exhale and bring the right arm down. Maintain the same stance while raising your left arm and lowering your right arm.

Happy Baby Pose

To perform the happy baby pose or the Ananda Balasana, sit on the edge of the chair with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. You can keep your spine straight or circle your shoulders and back while you rest your neck. Reach up to the crown of your head and drag your tailbone down to lengthen your back forward. Bring your belly between your thighs and fold forward at the hips as you release the breath.

You can spread your legs apart to give your torso more room. Breathe in and reach between your legs to grab your ankles, feet, or outer shins. Lower your body toward the floor by gently drawing your torso between your thighs. Inhale and exhale multiple times. Release your grasp and contract your core muscles as you raise your head, neck, shoulders, and torso to the starting seated position to release the pose.

Chair Pigeon

To perform chair pigeon or the Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, sit on the chair firmly. Place your right foot on the floor and bring your left foot to rest on your right thigh, keeping your knee aligned with your ankle. This is known as the pigeon pose. Hold this pose for a count of 5 breaths. For added stretch, you can bend slightly forward. Repeat the same with your right leg.

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

Chair Eagle

After the chair pigeon, move to the chair eagle or Garudasana pose. Cross your right leg over your left leg by wrapping your right foot around your left calf. Similarly, at the elbow, fold your left arm over your right. Bring your palms together and bend your elbows. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and raise your elbows. Breathe 3 or 5 times. Repeat the same on the other side.

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Chair Tree Pose

Tree pose or the Vrksasana is an excellent chair yoga hip opener. It strengthens the hamstrings, stretches the hips, and provides balance. Aim to sit close to the front edge of the chair. Breathe deeply while raising your chest, then release the breath as you push your shoulder blades down your back. Straighten and extend your left leg in front of you.

Point your toes toward the ground or flex your foot. Extend your right leg out to the side with your knee bent and your foot or toes on the ground. Stretch your arms above your head or hold your hands in a prayer pose near your heart.

Chair Spinal Twist

Chair spinal twist or the Ardha Matsyendrasana is good for stretching your lower back. To perform this, sit sideways on the sturdy chair, facing left. For a spinal twist, twist your torso to the left while clinging to the back of the chair. For 5 breaths, lengthen your spine with each inhale and twist with each exhale. Repeat the twist to the right side of the chair by moving your legs to the right side.

Chair Warrior I

From the spinal twist, proceed to Chair Warrior I by swinging your left leg behind you while maintaining your right leg over the edge of the chair. Straighten your left leg and place the sole of your left foot on the floor, nearly parallel to the seat. As you inhale to come into Warrior I, elevate your arms to the ceiling while maintaining your torso facing over your right leg. Hold for 3 breaths and release.

chair yoga sequences  

What Are the 6 Sequences of Yoga?

If you’ve recently joined a yoga class, you must have noticed that yoga is practiced sequentially. While there is no fixed sequence for yoga, the order varies depending on the type of yoga that is being practiced. For example, the sequence for Vinyasa yoga may differ from that for Bikram. 

Regardless, the flow of the chair yoga routine offers specific benefits for the type of yoga that is being practiced. Yoga classes mostly conduct yoga for up to 60 minutes and follow a 6-step structure. They also include a combination of standing and seated yoga. 

The sequence is generally as follows(7):

Opening or Centering

Opening, centering, or grounding sets the base for the yoga class. It generally follows a short meditation and breathwork in a seated or supine pose. This helps clear the mind and bring it to rest as most individuals come to the class after running errands. Opening helps calm the breath and enhance self-awareness. Opening usually lasts 1-5 minutes.

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Warm Up

The second step in the sequence is a warm-up session, which lasts 5-10 minutes. Asana yoga is performed during this stage, preparing individuals and warming their bodies. Some yoga poses that are performed during warm-up are sun salutations, cat-cow poses, or simple neck rolls. 

These dynamic movements are performed rapidly for a short time as this helps increase blood flow to large muscles and body temperature. This prevents muscle soreness during the later yoga poses.

Standing Poses

After warming up sufficiently, the following sequence comprises performing standing poses, which helps open the body. You may perform warrior poses, chair poses, or balancing poses. This helps increase strength and build stamina. These standing poses are performed for a long time, which allows you to feel their effects.

Peak Poses

From standing poses, you can proceed to more advanced yoga poses that require additional strength, such as the handstand or the deep forward yoga pose. In some classes, the peak focuses more on certain body parts like the shoulders or thighs.

Floor Poses

To minimize the effects of peak poses and proceed to cool down, floor poses are performed for enhanced stretch, such as the forward folds or the hip openers. Floor poses last for 5-10 minutes.

Cool Down

The 5-minute cool-down session focuses on your body returning to normal after a strenuous yoga routine. The poses performed during this stage are primarily supine, such as the cobbler’s pose or reclined spinal twists. This helps slow down your body and bring your breathing back to normal.

Final Relaxation

The final step in the yoga sequence is crucial and must not be skipped. During this stage, the corpse poses or Savasana neutralizes your body and stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system. This helps you return to reality and makes your body ready for rest.

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What Are the 5 Sequences of a Yoga Class?

The 5 sequences of a yoga class are designed to perform yoga in its total capacity. It is usually performed with opening, warm-up, standing poses, floor poses, and cool-down stages (4). During the opening stage, you perform a short meditation that can help to release stress and get into the yoga mood by letting go of daily frustrations.

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In the warm-up, you perform gentle yoga poses rapidly, such as the sun salutations, to increase blood circulation and body temperature. This can also prevent muscle soreness and help you prepare for the upcoming strenuous yoga poses. You then perform standing poses such as the warrior or chair poses for a while to feel the effects of yoga.

You then perform floor poses, which stretch your body and can improve your flexibility. This is followed by a cool-down session where you perform supine yoga poses to bring your body back to normal after an intense yoga session.

Is It OK to Do Chair Yoga Every Day?

Yes, doing chair yoga sequences daily is entirely safe as long as you’re not overworking. Although there are no official guidelines on the duration and intensity of chair yoga, the CDC recommends performing two days of strength training and three days of cardio every week for adults aged 65 and above (8). 

This means you can do chair yoga at least three times a week. A little exercise is better than none, and research has shown that doing infrequent yoga significantly benefits older adults (10). Always remember to listen to your body and find what works for you and your wellness goals. 

What Are the Benefits of Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga sequences offer many health benefits for older adults and individuals with busy routines. Some of them are:

Improved Flexibility

According to a 2010 study, older adults who practiced chair yoga twice weekly for 12 weeks experienced improved flexibility and balance. They also had less fear of tripping and falling over (6).

Increased Muscle Strength

Chair yoga enhances muscle strength, and according to research, it helps increase muscle strength in the upper and lower body in old adults as muscle mass declines with age (12).

Manages Chronic Conditions

Similar to other forms of exercise, chair yoga has been found to help people manage certain conditions such as type II diabetes. According to a study, individuals who did 10-minute chair yoga for 3 months showed improvements in blood sugar and blood pressure (9).

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

chair yoga sequences  

FAQs

  • What are yoga sequences?

Yoga sequences are the order of yoga poses you perform. They are also known as Vinyasa. The flow of yoga sequences varies between yoga classes. Generally, they start with light stretches, standing poses, and seated to supine poses.

  • What are the 5 core features of yoga?

The 5 elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether (light). They relate to yoga as chakras. Earth is the basic element that refers to our connection to the earth. It is represented as the first chakra in yoga. The water element refers to the water that flows through our body, blood. This is represented as the second chakra. The fire element refers to internal heat produced during certain yoga poses and is the third chakra. The air refers to our breath and is the fourth chakra. Ether or light refers to our consciousness and self-awareness and is the fifth chakra.

  • What is the number 5 in yoga?

Pancha is a Sanskrit word that means five. In the context of yoga, it refers to the 5 elements, earth, water, air, fire, and light. It is also a sacred number as the god Shiva is portrayed with five faces.

  • How do you structure a yoga class?

A yoga class is generally structured around 6 sequences: opening/centering, warm up, standing poses, peak poses, seated poses, calm down, and final relaxation. While there is no set format, following these sequences will provide great benefit to individuals.

The Bottom Line

Chair yoga sequences benefit older adults and individuals with restricted mobility or certain health conditions. It’s an excellent exercise for them and can be incorporated into a daily routine. It’s safer to do it in a class, with an expert guiding you, or even better, with a friend. Doing chair yoga every day can make you feel better and healthier.

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. 11 Chair Yoga Poses You Can Do at Home (2024, verywellfit.com)
  2. 13 Chair Yoga Poses You Can Do Anywhere (2024, yogajournal.com)
  3. A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Chair Yoga on Pain and Physical Function Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults With Lower Extremity Osteoarthritis (2016, agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
  4. An Introduction to Yoga Sequences (2023, everydayyoga.com)
  5. Chair Yoga (2021, journals.lww.com)
  6. Effect of a 12-Week Yoga Intervention on Fear of Falling and Balance in Older Adults: A Pilot Study (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  7. How to Sequence a Yoga Class (n.d., purplelotusyoga.com)
  8. How much physical activity do older adults need? (n.d., cdc.gov)
  9. Impact of a 10 minute Seated Yoga Practice in the Management of Diabetes (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  10. Frequency of Yoga Practice Predicts Health: Results of a National Survey of Yoga Practitioners (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  11. National survey of yoga practitioners: Mental and physical health benefits (2013, sciencedirect.com)
  12. The Effect of Chair-Based Exercise on Physical Function in Older Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2021, mdpi.com)