5 Easy Chair Yoga Exercises for Beginners – Have you heard about the hype surrounding “chair yoga” yet? Whether you’re clued in or not, we have just the easy chair yoga exercises for beginners to check out—delivered straight from an expert. Yes, these moves are absolutely perfect for novices, but they also come in clutch if you’re a more experienced yogi who is strapped for time or simply wants a seamless yoga routine to flow through.
Practicing yoga on a regular basis is chock-full of benefits for both the mind and body. It’s both an exercise and an art form that brings together muscle activation and mindfulness, where you become self-aware of your breathing and internal energy. According to research, yoga promotes relaxation, which is key in decreasing your heart rate, cortisol levels, and blood pressure. It also helps relieve depression, boost flexibility, and enhance both your physical and emotional wellness.
As if yoga couldn’t get any more appealing, Ronny Garcia, CPT, Blink Fitness, put together the most seamless chair yoga exercises to work into your daily routine. “One of the benefits of chair yoga [specifically] is accessibility including beginners and individuals with limited mobility,” Garcia tells us. “The chair can provide stability and support, as well as a variation to traditional yoga poses. Use of the chair also makes individuals more mindful of their posture, which can lead to an improvement in posture.”
Your goal should be to shoot for holding each of the below stresses for as long as you’re comfortably able to. Garcia provides his suggested times below. Aim to complete two to three rounds of each exercise for each side of your body.
1. Seated Cat-Cow Stretch
Begin with the seated cat-cow stretch. Sit on a chair, and plant your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands on your knees or your thighs. Breathe in, arch your back, and shift your gaze up toward the ceiling to assume the cow pose. Then, breathe out, round your back, and bring your chin toward your chest to assume the cat pose. Activate your core. Aim for eight to 10 reps.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
Start this next exercise by sitting tall and planting your feet on the floor. Rest your right hand on the outside of your left thigh, and place your left hand behind the chair. Breathe in, and when you breathe out, twist to your left. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds before switching sides.
3. Seated Forward Folds
The seated forward fold will have you sitting on the edge of your seat—literally!—and planting your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Breathe in, and sit up straight. As you breathe out, hinge at your hips and fold your body forward. You can keep your hands on your thighs or shins. Remain in this position for 20 to 30 seconds.
4. Seated Shoulder Stretch
For the seated shoulder stretch, sit on the chair, and plant your feet flat on the ground. Lengthen your right arm straight ahead of you, keeping it at shoulder height. Press your left hand against your right hand’s fingertips to establish some resistance. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
5. Seated Ankle-to-Knee Stretch
Last but not least, these easy chair yoga exercises end with the seated ankle-to-knee stretch, which is demonstrated in the above video, but on the floor. Sit on the chair, and plant your feet flat on the ground. Then, rest your right ankle on your left knee. Feel free to fan your right knee out to the side. This position should create a solid stretch in your right hip. To deepen the stretch, gently push your right knee down. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.