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Chair Yoga Workout Plan for Harmonious Mind and Body

Do you think yoga is too hard? Don’t worry! Chair yoga is a gentle way to exercise, even when you can’t get down on the floor. This makes it a perfect choice for seniors and people with mobility issues. 

It is an easy workout that produces impressive results when performed consistently (8)

In this form of yoga, you can move into poses like warrior, sun salutations, cat/cow, and forward folds. The primary factor to remember is that chair yoga (like other forms of yoga) focuses on the same core principles: you have to focus on your breath, pay attention to your thoughts, and stay within the moment.

What is Chair Yoga?

Chair Yoga, as the name itself suggests, is yoga done while seated on a chair. It is a gentler derivative of traditional yoga that can be used by anyone confined to a seat. Lakshmi Voelker-Binder, a yoga instructor, devised this form of yoga specifically for students suffering from arthritis. Chair yoga provides accessibility options to those who cannot get down on a floor mat (10).

In this form of yoga, a stable chair supports the lower body providing the individual with stability and assistance in movements. Almost all the postures of traditional yoga have been adapted to be performed with a chair so that chair yoga can provide challenging and impactful workouts. To get started with chair yoga, you only need a sturdy chair that positions the hips a bit higher than the knees while both feet remain flat on the floor (9).

The most common chair yoga poses are:

  • Seated Mountain
  • Seated Cat/Cow
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Upward Salute
  • Knee Hug
  • Eagle Arms
  • Downward Dog
  • Forward Fold
  • Chair Twist

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Who Should Attempt Chair Yoga?

Chair Yoga is gentle and adaptable enough to be attempted by people of any fitness level. Chair yoga can be easy and fun to do, and it can be done by just about anyone to gain the benefits of yoga in a less challenging manner. It is particularly suitable for people who have physical limitations that make them unable to perform regular yoga. 

A few of these groups are listed below:

Seniors Older than 65 Years

Adults over the age of 65 tend to find exercising more difficult. Chair yoga provides an easy substitute. Chair yoga is especially beneficial for this population as it aids in flexibility and balance, which reduces the risk of falling or movement-related injury. 

Individuals with Mobility Problems

Individuals suffering from any form of mobility or disability that prevents them from moving without any aid. Some examples of these conditions are multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, or amputation, which can significantly benefit from chair yoga.

People with Chronic Conditions

People with chronic medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, or asthma can easily perform chair yoga without the intensity that regular yoga requires. It can aid in pain management to relieve discomfort associated with the listed diseases.

Workers with a Desk Job

People who have desk jobs or whose jobs require prolonged sitting, usually do not have enough time to participate in strenuous exercises or workout regimens. Chair yoga can provide much-needed exercise, even while seated at their desks.

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

Does the Chair Yoga Plan Work?

The chair yoga plan is effective in toning core and leg muscles similar to other yoga plans. Yoga is not just challenging poses that athletes can perform. Instead, it involves controlling the mind and body through breathing exercises and regulating emotions (9). This is precisely why a chair yoga plan delivers results, as it also works on the same breathing techniques 

If you are a beginner, you should start with primary poses. Chair yoga for beginners is easy enough to follow and yields positive outcomes. There is no need to get regular yoga props like straps, blocks, or resistance bands. 


It tags along with the benefits of regular yoga with some extra perks for those having medical conditions associated with old age, like arthritis(1). Chair yoga workouts can deliver a multitude of benefits, including better flexibility, improved stability, and strength and some other benefits that are elaborated below:

Improved Stability and Balance

Chair yoga can help prevent falls. This is especially important for seniors and people with mobility issues who struggle to maintain balance. A strong balance can help you move safely and avoid getting hurt (6).

It includes postures that challenge the body to be more stable and balanced. This, in turn, improves self-awareness and proprioception, which is the sense of where the body is present in a space and coordinates movement in that space. 

Consequently, posture becomes stable, and movements become more coordinated, preventing falls and collisions (4). It also increases a sense of surroundings and allows better navigation in that area, which can reduce frequent shaking or trembling.

Enhanced Flexibility

Chair Yoga can also enhance your flexibility as it stretches and moves various groups of muscles and joints in different directions. These are typically the forms in which muscle groups don’t usually move. Increased flexibility helps you be more agile and mobile and reduces the chances of movement-related injuries (5).

Furthermore, the gentle stretching involved in yoga relieves pain and discomfort as well as stiffness, allowing movement freely and bending or twisting quickly. This makes daily activities less of a burden and can help seniors be more independent (16)

There are many workouts available for practicing chair yoga specifically for flexibility and balance, such as 28-day chair yoga for seniors or basic chair yoga workout plans for beginners. There is also an option to learn chair yoga hip openers. These poses are essential for improving balance and removing tightness from the hips, which can result in fewer back pain episodes.

Increased Strength

Yoga builds up stamina, and the same is the motto of chair yoga. The chair yoga poses can build up muscles and strengthen the core. This can ultimately increase your overall stamina. 

Chair yoga poses are primarily derived from traditional yoga poses, which are adapted so that a seated person can perform them. Therefore, just like yoga, chair yoga also builds up strength and stamina by involving muscle groups to carry out postures (2). To build even more strength, employ a chair yoga workout plan with weights.

With improved strength, seniors can start feeling more confident and independent. It can keep a person steady and use up enough energy to trigger a good night’s sleep.  Another benefit of better strength is the ability to withstand injuries in case of a fall. Not to forget that fall risks decrease with better stamina and improved muscle mass (7).

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Chair yoga isn’t just good for your body; it also helps your mind. Like other yoga, it uses breathing exercises and focusing on the present moment to calm stress and anxiety. It is like having a built-in toolbox to manage stress whenever you need it (15).

Yoga asana, as per some studies, can be used as an alternate treatment for mental health disorders and anxiety disorders. For instance, Yoga Nidra has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms (7) (17).


Better Pain Management

The relaxing yet strengthening nature of yoga helps deal with pain. Exercise, in general, has been shown to decrease pain as it makes the muscles work, which causes the body to release endorphins that can have pain-relieving effects. Yoga is even more effective as breathing exercises help to manage pain better. When done right, breathing in specific patterns can improve mind-body control and ease pain (5).

As mentioned, this form of yoga involves gentle movements and breathing exercises, which can provide pain relief. This is why a chair yoga workout plan can be used as an effective technique for managing pain, especially in the lower back. Chair exercises for lower back pain are specifically curated for this purpose. Meanwhile, some chair yoga postures can also help to target other areas of the body that have pain or discomfort to alleviate pain.

With pain, it is difficult to move as is. So, chair yoga workouts provide a gentle alternative to managing pain.

Improved Concentration

Yoga has benefits for mental health, as it rejuvenates both the mind and body. A study found that yoga can astonishingly increase the functioning power of the brain, resulting in better mental clarity. Chair yoga can help your mind stay sharp. Focusing on the movements and your breath keeps your mind engaged, which can be great for memory and concentration in daily life (19).

With better focus and concentration achieved with chair yoga, another significant benefit is the alleviation of depression and its symptoms (18). All of these mental benefits are primarily due to mindfulness techniques which are practiced during chair yoga workouts, which banish brain fog and make a person more alert and attuned to their body and surroundings.

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How Many Days a Week Should You Do Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga is a versatile and customizable derivative of traditional yoga. Each move or posture can be tailored to suit the individual’s requirements. That is precisely why there is no fixed guideline regarding the frequency of doing chair yoga. 

Even without any set rule for how often chair yoga should be done, the CDC recommends that seniors above the age of 65 perform three days of balancing chair yoga and two days of strength chair yoga weekly (11).

On the other hand, beginners should start by doing chair yoga 2 to 3 times a week. Apart from these recommendations, there is no strict rule for how frequently to do chair yoga. Every individual has different levels of fitness and goals, as well as medical conditions, and depending on these factors, frequency can be altered.

Like any other exercise, start slowly with low-impact workouts. Then, gradually build up the resistance and frequency. The best frequency and time are whichever can be maintained consistently, as regular performance is the ultimate goal. For seniors, people with disabilities, or medical conditions, it would be ideal to refer to a medical practitioner to find the recommended weekly frequency of chair yoga workouts (3).

Is Chair Yoga Effective for Weight Loss?

Just about any workout regimen can help with weight loss if followed diligently while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and eating habits (14). So is the case with chair yoga workout plans. Since chair yoga is a relatively gentle form of exercise, the weight loss will be less significant unless combined with a caloric deficit. By making it challenging, it can be made more impactful for weight loss (5)

Specialized plans, such as a chair yoga workout plan for weight loss, are available that primarily target weight loss. Pilates chair exercises can be added to this plan to improve results.

Basically, chair yoga was developed to cater to the needs of seniors, patients with mobility issues, or those who spend most of their time being seated. It wouldn’t be false to state that the main goal of chair yoga is to increase flexibility, balance, and strength so that dependency is minimal and fall risks are abated. For these reasons, the calories burnt in any chair yoga session are rather low when compared with other high-impact workouts. Consequently, weight loss can be slow and not as effective as regular weight loss plans (6).

Even then, for seniors, those lacking mobility, and disabled individuals, chair yoga might be the only tool for losing weight. Eating healthy and being consistent can make a massive difference in weight in the long run. Hence, those who are unable to perform vigorous exercises can use chair yoga as a primary tool for losing weight, as some movements are better than no movement at all.

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



  • Can chair yoga help belly fat?

Chair Yoga brings similar benefits as regular yoga. Some poses and movements that particularly target the abdominal muscles could help tone the area, while full-body movements will help with total body fat reduction, as spot reduction is a myth. Along with a calorie deficit, practicing chair yoga workouts can aid in weight loss and burning belly fat.

  • What happens if I do 20 minutes of yoga every day?

You can reap a multitude of benefits just by doing 20 minutes of yoga per day. Even 10 minutes a day can be beneficial in the long run, but doing 20 minutes of yoga aids in better mobility and improved mental well-being. 

According to many yoga instructors, merely 20 minutes of yoga every day can improve flexibility and focus. By combining it with a healthy lifestyle, you can also experience weight loss (14). The key is to be consistent and incorporate various yoga poses in those 20 minutes (12)

  • Can I do chair yoga every day?

Absolutely! Just be sure it is not causing over-exertion or discomfort. Otherwise, doing chair yoga daily can do no harm. Being consistent is the ultimate target to attain maximum benefits in the long run. If the goal is weight loss, then doing chair yoga 3 to 5 times weekly is recommended, whereas for muscle building or strength, 2 to 3 times weekly is enough. 

However, if the aim is to become more flexible and balanced, then doing chair yoga every day will be better (13). Even then, if doing it every day is causing pain, discomfort or fatigue, then be sure to listen to your body and take rest days.

  • Does chair yoga really work for beginners?

Chair yoga is a practical yet gentle type of yoga that is beneficial for beginners as well. It is undoubtedly an effective method for improving the mind and body. It provides a multitude of benefits, like better flexibility, balance, stamina, and strength, to beginners and experienced alike. 

The Bottom Line

Think you can’t do yoga? Chair yoga lets you enjoy all the benefits of yoga without ever leaving your chair. It’s perfect for seniors, people with limited mobility, or anyone who sits for a long time.

Move with ease and improve your flexibility, balance, and strength. There are no complicated poses here. It keeps you comfortable while you work your body. Besides this, it is your way to feel calm and centered. It helps you alleviate stress with breathing exercises and mindfulness to boost your mood and overall well-being.

However, as we always advise, you should consult a certified trainer before you begin any exercise regime. They can guide you on how to start and add more challenging poses to your routine.


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. 7 Yoga Poses You Can Do in a Chair (2020, healthline.com)
  2. Age related differences of selected Hatha yoga practices on anthropometric characteristics, muscular strength and flexibility of healthy individuals (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Chair yoga for seniors: Poses and how to try (2023, medicalnewstoday.com)
  4. Chair Yoga Lesson Plan: Free Download (2016, georgewatts.org)
  5. Chair Yoga and Why Seated Yoga Poses Are Good For You (2023, lifespan.org)
  6. Does Chair Yoga Work? The Truth According To Wellness Experts (2023, betterme.world)
  7. Evidence Map of Yoga for Depression, Anxiety, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  8. Forget squats — this 20-minute chair yoga routine sculpts stronger legs and core muscles without weights (2023, tomsguide.com)
  9. How to do Chair Yoga-Chair Yoga Poses (2024, webmd.com)
  10. Practice with Lakshmi (n.d., yogainternational.com)
  11. Physical Activity- Older Adults (n.d., cdc.gov)
  12. Real Talk: Is 20 Minutes Of Yoga Enough For A Good Workout? (2022, bustle.com)
  13. Should You Do Chair Yoga Every Day? (2023, betterme.world)
  14. The Acute Effects of Yoga on Executive Function (2012, academia.edu)
  15. The Effect of Yoga on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Women (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  16. The effects of yoga compared to active and inactive controls on physical function and health related quality of life in older adults- systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  17. The Impact of Yoga Nidra and Seated Meditation on the Mental Health of College Professors (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  18. Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder with Iyengar Yoga and Coherent Breathing: A Randomized Controlled Dosing Study (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  19. What Has Neuroimaging Taught Us on the Neurobiology of Yoga? A Review (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)