5 Easy Chair Yoga Exercises for Seniors

Elderly man and grand child doing yoga on floor, in living room

In the pursuit of holistic well-being as you age, many people may be in search of a low-impact form of exercise to help stay active and keep moving.

Gentle chair yoga for seniors is a versatile exercise program perfect for older adults with limited mobility to help improve flexibility and alleviate chronic pain.

Incorporating a 30-minute chair yoga workout into your daily routine—such as during morning yoga practice, afternoon pilates, or as a part of an everyday workout for seniors—can offer a myriad of physical and mental health benefits. If you don’t know where to get started, here’s how to do chair yoga for beginners...

Chair Yoga Poses for Full Body Wellness:

1. Forward Bend:

  • Benefits: Stretches the lower back and hamstrings, fostering improved flexibility and reduced lower back pain.
  • Description: While sitting down on the edge of a sturdy chair, start by placing your right hand on your right knee and do the same for the left side. Hinge forward at your hips and slide your hands down both legs, trying to reach your toes as comfortably as possible. Hold the forward bend for 30 seconds, taking deep breaths, and slowly return to the starting position.
Diagram of yoga exercise

2. Walking Workout in Place:

  • Benefits: Stretches the left and right ankles while increasing cardiovascular activity, promoting heart health and circulation.
  • Description: While remaining seated, lift your right foot while keeping your heel on the floor, and do the same with the left foot. Alternate between these two feet to simulate a walking motion. Perform this chair yoga exercise for 10 minutes, maintaining a steady pace to engage your core muscles.
Diagram of yoga exercise

3. Leg Lifts:

  • Benefits: Strengthens the quadriceps and improves range of motion in the hips.
  • Description: Sit upright, extend your right leg straight, lifting it a few or more inches off the floor. Lift and lower the right side for one full minute, then switch to the left foot and do the same chair yoga routine.
Diagram of yoga exercise

4. Seated March:

  • Benefits: This hip flexor activation exercise targets the core muscles, promoting stability and strength in the abdominal region.
  • Description: While keeping your body to the back of the chair, lift your left leg with your knee bent, as far as is comfortable. Place the foot down with control and then repeat with the right leg. Do a marches with each leg for at least a minute.
Diagram of yoga exercise

5. Cat-Cow Stretch:

  • Benefits: Enhances flexibility in the spine/upper body, improves posture, and promotes relaxation.
  • Description: Place your left hand on your left thigh while doing the same on the right. With a big exhale, round your spine and drop your chin towards your chest. Then inhale, arching your back like a cat and lifting up your chin. Repeat the cat-cow stretch for 5 minutes, focusing on deep breaths and smooth transitions between arching and rounding.
Diagram of yoga exercise

Discover Your Best Self at St. Andrew’s

At St. Andrew’s, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive healthcare solutions for seniors. All senior living communities within the St. Andrew's network understand that wellness is composed equally of physical, mental, and spiritual activities that keep every part of the individual stimulated.

We are happy to provide chair yoga classes and yoga instructors at most of our communities. Best of all, these activities are social as well as physical, helping every individual feel part of a larger, welcoming community.

Looking for an Active Lifestyle? Contact St. Andrew’s

For older adults who are energized by an engaged lifestyle, St. Andrew’s offers many one-of-a-kind rental communities built for fun and friendships.

Whatever puts a smile on your face, you can do it here! From our services and amenities to fitness, learning, and social fun, contact us now to see what we can do for you.

Disclaimers: This article does not constitute professional medical advice. The information in this article cannot be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. Always direct exercise questions or health concerns to a licensed trainer, physical therapist, or other medical professional. This article has not been medically reviewed.

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