Yoga doesn't always have to take place on a mat. One variation of yoga uses a chair to offer stability, decrease strain, and improve mobility. Is chair yoga a good fit for you?

Who does chair yoga benefit?” Anyone. Everyone.

As Rodney Yee has so eloquently yet simply put it, we already have what we need to practice yoga: our bodies and our minds. To continue the discussion about finding the right yoga class, I thought I would provide a more indepth explanation of chair yoga. I hope this will answer some questions and raise others, hopefully encouraging the reader to conduct deeper research into the topic as the journey towards healthy living begins or continues. As always, talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

Loss of mobility, strength and flexibility can stem from one or many factors including long term sedentary habits, age, gender, and injury. Note: if you have low mobility, weakness and/or are not flexible, you should take yoga! This article will give you some suggestions for finding the right gentle chair or senior yoga class to fit your lifestyle. For some, a gentle class may be only a starting point. You do not need to stay in a gentle class after you have gained knowledge, strength, and flexibility. For others it could be the right match for a life-long practice.

“The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind.” — Rodney Yee

Chair yoga can have benefits for anyone. Because of the constant ups and downs on and off the floor mat, you may not have considered incorporating yoga into your wellness plan. In a chair yoga class you will learn seated low-impact exercises that you can use in multiple situations. If you have a physical disability, injuries, weight challenges, a weak core, low to moderate mobility, limited flexibility, or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, osteopenia, arthritis, diabetes, pre-diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, scoliosis, or if you are aging, chair yoga might be for you. 

Think of chair yoga as yoga using a chair as a prop. Props such as blankets, blocks and straps are used in many yoga classes to assist practitioners with proper alignment. A chair is simply another prop. All of the benefits of a mat yoga class can be gained in a chair yoga class, flexibility, strength, balance, improved breathing, weight control, and mind body connection. If you have sustained an injury, a chair yoga class can help you to work on the above mentioned benefits in a low impact way. If you are a member of the aging population it can encourage a less sedentary lifestyle and improve balance, strength and flexibility, which can help to prevent falls that may lead to injury.

Chair yoga can be practiced in many different settings such as at work, the passenger seat in a car, or at home. It’s mobile and easily adapted to most environments. Do you get stiff on airplanes? You can use chair yoga during your flight.

I wish you the best as you search for a yoga class that fits you. Here are a couple of resources as you continue your investigation into yoga:

I leave you with

Om Shanti
Meaning peace for all…


Photography by Shay McAtee and

About the Author

Tanynya Hekymara is a lifestyle and change coach, diversity consultant, speaker, and workshop facilitator, as well as an instructor in yoga, meditation, mindfulness and wellness techniques. Connect with Tanynya on LinkedIn or Twitter.