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10 Powerful Yoga Poses You Can Practice in a Chair

Discover the benefits of seated yoga and try supported poses to build strength and increase your energy.

Did you know that many standing yoga poses can be done while sitting in a chair? I first discovered chair yoga when I started a corporate job and began incorporating yoga at my desk to relieve stiffness throughout the day. I found other ways to incorporate chair yoga at the airport or even in an airplane while traveling. Throughout the years, chair yoga has also helped me recover from ankle, toe and foot injuries by decreasing the amount of pressure on my joints and lower body.

Chair yoga can be beneficial for all ages and experience levels. It provides a steady foundation to get active, while staying grounded.

What are the benefits of chair yoga?

  • Engages and stretches stiff muscles

  • Improves blood flow

  • Realigns posture

  • Reduces weight and impact on joints to allow injuries to heal

  • Decreases stress and anxiety

  • Makes poses more accessible by providing stability and support

Here are some ways you can maximize the benefits:

  • Choose a seat that is stable (not wobbly or on wheels)

  • Having a back on the seat can be helpful for twists

  • Ensure your feet can touch the ground

  • Make sure you have space around you to move your arms and legs to the side

Now that you are all set up, it’s time to integrate some poses into your day. When you are ready, press play on the video below to release tension and grow stronger. Make sure you are cleared by a doctor before exercising.

You can also choose any of the poses from the video to practice them individually.

1. Shoulder Rolls

  • Sit with your feet firmly planted on the ground

  • Begin rolling your shoulders up, back and around 5-10 times

  • Then switch directions and repeat

2. Cat/Cow (Marjariasana/Bitilasana)

  • Sit with your hands gently resting on your thighs

  • As you inhale, open up through your chest and reach the crown of your head up to extend your spine for cow pose (bitilasana)

  • As you exhale, round your spine and gently let your chin come toward your chest for cat pose (marjariasana)

  • Repeat a few more times

3. Half Sun Salutation (Ardha Surya Namaskar)

  • Inhale and reach your arms up over your head

  • Exhale and fold forward, allowing your hands to gently rest near your feet

  • Inhale and slide your hands up your shins as you extend your spine

  • Exhale and fold forward

  • Inhale and lift back up into a seat, reaching your arms up over your head

  • Exhale and bring your hands to your heart

  • Repeat the process 2-4 more times

4. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)

  • Sit to the side of your chair with your front thigh resting on the chair and your knee bent over your front ankle

  • Rest your front foot on the ground with your toes facing forward

  • Straighten your back leg and ground your back heel down

  • Position your front foot inline with the arch of your back foot

  • Reach your arms to the front and back and gaze over your front fingertips

  • Stay in the pose 3-5 breaths

  • Then switch legs and repeat on the second side

5. Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

  • From warrior 2 pose (virabhadrasana II), rest your front forearm on your front thigh

  • Rotate open from the mid-part of your spine

  • Lift your back arm toward the ceiling

  • Stay in the pose 3-5 breaths

  • Return to warrior 2 and repeat on the second side

6. Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)

  • From warrior 2 (virabhadrasana II), flip your front palm up

  • Reach forward and then reach your front arm up and back. Your palm will face the floor

  • Let your back arm slide down your back leg

  • Gaze up toward your top hand for a deeper stretch

  • Feel the space between your ribs opening

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Return to warrior 2 and repeat on the second side

7. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

  • Sit facing forward on your chair and bring your legs wide with your toes facing outward at an angle

  • Align your knees over your ankles and rest your feet on the ground

  • Reach your arms out to the sides with your elbows bent like you are holding platters

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

8. Figure 4 (Upavishati Kapotasana)

  • Sit facing forward with your feet hip distance apart and your feet resting on the ground

  • Cross your right leg over your left leg

  • Flex your right foot to protect your knee

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Uncross your legs and repeat on the other side

9. Twist (Parivrtta Sukhasana)

  • Sit up tall

  • Place your right hand on your left knee

  • Take an inhale and reach your left arm up

  • As you exhale, begin twisting to the left from the mid-part of the spine. Avoid twisting from the lower back

  • You can rest your left arm on the back of the chair

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Come back to center and repeat on the other side

10. Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)

  • Sit with your feet a little wider than hip distance apart with your toes facing slightly outward

  • Exhale and fold forward, hinging from the hips

  • Gently hold the outsides of your ankles to open the hips

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

Remember to take slow, steady breaths throughout the practice. Now that you’ve moved your body and gotten the blood flowing, how do you feel? Leave me a comment below!

If you have any questions or want to practice with me individually, send me a message in the contact form on the home page and we can set up a private Zoom or in-person session.

With gratitude,


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