Level I Safe Chair Routine for Older Adults

You don’t have to practice Yoga on the floor. If getting down to the floor or getting up and down is difficult, chair Yoga offers spinal freedom while allowing you to remain in your comfort zone. You can improve your flexibility, mobility, and balance even while seated, and the following routines show you how.

You’re in charge of whether or not you do a particular posture. If it doesn’t feel right for you, don’t do it. The National Institute of Aging provides a wealth of information to help guide you on what may be safe for you and what you should avoid.

The postures in this seated Yoga routine give you the same main benefits of a regular Yoga class, including stress reduction, improved circulation, better concentration and an overall sense of well-being. This routine should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Choose one of the Yoga breathing techniques and use it for this entire routine. Follow the instructions for breath and movement and have fun!

Seated mountain posture

Check out the following steps for a visual of this posture.

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair with your back extended and your eyes either open or closed.

  2. Hang your arms at your sides and visualize a vertical line down the middle of your ears, shoulders, hips, and the backs of your hands; stay for eight to ten breaths.


Seated mountain arm variation

Just follow these steps:

  1. Start in the seated mountain posture and raise your right arm and turn your head to the left as you inhale.

  2. As you exhale, return to the seated mountain posture.

  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 with your left arm and a right head turn, alternating right and left sides slowly for a total of 4 to 6 repetitions on each side.


Seated karate kid variation

Executing this posture is easy:

  1. Start in the seated mountain posture and raise your arms forward and up alongside of your ears as you inhale.

  2. As you exhale, bend your right knee and raise it upward toward your chest to a comfortable level.

  3. Take another breath and then, as you exhale, lower your right knee and your arms back to the seated mountain posture.

  4. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 with both arms and your left knee, alternating both of your knees slowly as you raise your arms for a total of 4 to 6 repetitions on each side.

Be careful with this posture if you have a hip replacement. If you aren’t sure whether your hips can handle it, check with your doctor first.


Seated wing-and-prayer

Here’s how you do this posture:

  1. Start in the seated mountain posture with your hands together in prayer position with your thumbs at your breastbone.

  2. As you inhale, open your hands outward and lift your chest like wings.

  3. As you exhale, bring your hands and arms back together into the prayer position.

  4. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 slowly for 4 to 6 repetitions.


Seated butterfly posture

Check out the seated butterfly and then follow these steps to try it on your own.

  1. Start in the seated mountain posture with your arms extended out fully to the sides and parallel to the floor and your palms facing forward.

  2. Inhale, and then as you exhale, bring your right hand towards the inside of your left arm in a twisting motion.

  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 slowly for 4 to 6 repetitions and then do the same with your left hand and right arm.


Standing warrior I chair variation

Use the following steps to guide you through this posture.

  1. Stand in the mountain posture, facing the back of your chair from about 3 to 3 1/2 feet away.

  2. As you exhale, step forward with your right leg, place your hands on the back of the chair, and bend your forward leg into approximately a right angle.

    You can keep the back foot flat or pivot on the ball of the back foot. Don’t be tempted to force the angle.

  3. Stay in Step 2 for 4 to 6 breaths and then repeat with your left leg forward for 4 to 6 breaths.


Seated sage twist

Check out the following steps for the seated sage twist.

  1. Sit in your chair sideways with the back of the chair to your right and your feet flat on the floor.

  2. As you exhale, turn to your right and grasp the sides of the chair back with your hands.

  3. As you inhale, bring your back and head up nice and tall; as you exhale, twist deeper.

  4. Continue this sequence three times or until you reach your comfortable maximum and then stay for 4 to 6 breaths; repeat Steps 1 through 4 on the left side.


Seated forward bend

These steps help you achieve this bend.

  1. Start in the seated mountain posture.

  2. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips and slide your hands forward and down your legs.

  3. Let your head and arms hang down and relax in the folded position for 4 to 6 breaths.

  4. For a nice ending, use the seated mountain posture. Close your eyes and choose focus breathing or a relaxation technique for two to five minutes.