Seniors often struggle to find the right type of exercise that’s easy on the joints and not too rigorous. Low-impact exercise is essential for seniors to stay in good health – as well as get other benefits. However, other low-impact options such as swimming have tricky logistics, such as paying for a membership and traveling to/from a club pool. Chair yoga is growing as a recommended activity for older adults.
For many seniors, exercising at home may be a more convenient and realistic option. In particular, chair yoga is an excellent choice for seniors who want to get low-impact exercise without the hassle. Let’s go over how to get started with chair yoga for seniors.
Benefits of chair yoga
Chair yoga is an adapted version of yoga that’s ideal for seniors and those with chronic pain conditions. Because all movement is done with the support of a chair, seniors won’t struggle to keep their balance or risk falling during movements.
In addition, chair yoga has plenty of health benefits, including:
- Improves flexibility
- Boosts strength
- Enhances coordination
- Prevents falls
- Lowers stress
- Reduces pain
- Improves sleep
These are just a handful of the benefits of chair yoga. The most important aspect is that it’s safe and effective for seniors.
What you need to start chair yoga
The beauty of chair yoga is that you only require a chair. You can do chair yoga anywhere, including at home, at a desk or during a flight.
In order to stay comfortable, you might also wear loose-fitting and stretchy clothing. You don’t have to get any yoga-specific gear: anything that’s comfortable and doesn’t restrict movement is fine.
To do chair yoga, you’ll also need to know the poses. You can read about key poses before practicing them, or you might consider downloading a yoga app or watching a YouTube channel for guided chair yoga classes. Often these materials are free and easy to follow.
Chair yoga poses to get started
When you start chair yoga, you’ll find that the poses are easy to understand. Most are variations of traditional yoga that require stretching your arms or back. Here are some popular chair yoga poses that you can try at home:
- Raised hands pose: Raise your hands towards the ceiling as you inhale. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
- Forward bend: Bend forward from the waist and let your arms and head hang. Rest your hands on the floor.
- Seated spinal twist: Sit facing forward and twist your torso towards the back of the chair. Hold the back of the chair for support, if needed. Repeat on both sides.
- Chair pigeon: Place your ankle on the opposite thigh. Your knee should stay aligned with your ankle. You can hold your foot and knee for support, if needed. Repeat on both sides.
- Chair cat-cow: Place your hands on your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Inhale and roll your shoulders to arch your back (cow). Exhale and round your spine, letting your head drop to your chest and your shoulders roll forward (cat).
- Star pose: Stretch your hands and feet into an X (like a star). Reach as far as you can without losing balance.
Remember to start these poses slowly and hold them for 5-10 seconds whenever possible. Chair yoga sessions don’t have to be long either. You can take as little as 10 minutes or as long as 45 minutes to do the poses of your choice.
More yoga resources
If you’re interested in getting more information, the Living Better YouTube channel also has a ton of guided chair yoga classes. Start your chair yoga journey today and get the health benefits in no time.
- Chair Yoga for Seniors, MyCaringPlan, https://www.mycaringplan.com/blog/chair-yoga-for-seniors
- 6 Benefits of Chair Yoga, Do You Yoga, https://www.doyou.com/6-benefits-of-chair-yoga-8-poses-to-get-you-started/
- Five Benefits of Chair Yoga, Allina Health, https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/move/five-benefits-of-chair-yoga-and-six-poses-to-get-started