Pull Up a Chair… Do Some Yoga

As an occasionally-designated senior citizen,  I wanted to share a little bit of Chair Yoga with you.  You don’t have to be a senior to enjoy the ease of yoga and meditation in a chair.  I love how yoga, and especially Kundalini yoga, can be accessible to everyone!

Tips:  When I’ve taught this to older folks, they super-love when I play some of the songs from the Cozy CD, especially Peace Like a River.  I create a simple yoga routine like the one below, and they love to sing right along.  I am often struck by how similar children and elders are in their “realness” and in their innocence, It makes sense how they both love the simplicity and spirit of Radiant Child Yoga music.

Also for more really great information about senior yoga, visit my friend, B.J. McNeillie from www.thepeoplesantuary.com.  She teaches senior yoga in the Radiant Child Family Yoga 200 hour teacher training!

Chair and Wall Yoga

All exercises done in chair, holding chair, or against the wall.

Sit straight in chair.  Make sure feet touch the floor.  Use a pillow under feet if they don’t. 

Breathing:  5- 10 times each exercise.  Eyes closed helps with inner concentration. 

Hands On breathing: One hand on belly, one on upper chest.  Fill belly to chest on inhale, chest to belly on exhale. 

5-5 Breath: Inhale to a count of 5, exhale to a count of 5.  Added in holding to a count of 5 also. With high blood pressure, may not want to hold breath. 

Left and Right Nostril breathing: Block off one side with index finger.  Inhale and exhale from one side only.

Left nostril breathing:  cools you out, relaxes

Right nostril breathing:  warms you up, energizes

Yoga Exercises:   5 to 10 times each exercise

Leg lifts:  Lift one leg at a time, Exhale as you lift, inhale down.

Alternate Arms and Leg touches: While lifting one leg touch with the opposite hand.  Inhale up , exhale down.

Wings: Arms dropped to sides.  inhale up overhead,  exhale down. 

Twists: Hands on shoulders, twist to each side.  Inhale one side, exhale other.

Shoulder rolls, forward and backwards:  Inhale as you lift up, exhale and you roll down.

Neck rolls:  Drop head forward, gently swing side to side.  Do not arch back

Waist rolls with hands on knees: Sit toward the front of the chair.  Circle one direction with coordinated breathing, then reverse.

Spine flex: Sitting forward on the chair, hands on knees, flex the spine forward with the inhale, and curl back with the exhale.

Wall Supported Yoga (Standing)

Forward bend: Bottom and back to wall, feet are about 6-8″ away from the wall.   Bend forward slowly to touch legs or feet.  Take 3 deep breaths.  Uncurl slowly, placing the back against the wall until you are standing.  Then slowly bend forward again, one vertebrae at a time.  Do it 3 times

Runner’s stretch: Hands to wall, one leg forward, stretch the back leg,  then the other, stretch feet as well.


Humming breath:  Inhale, exhale and say “hummmmmm” until there is no more breath.  Continue.  Add in the mental focus by imagining you are sending the sound out from the area right between your eyebrows, at your forehead.


Sip water throughout the day, and especially if you feel off balance during the yoga.

Golden Milk:   golden milk

This very tasty drink, from Shakta’s Kundalini Yoga book,  is wonderful for the spine, lubricates the joints, and helps to break up calcium deposits:

1/4 – 1/3 tsp. turmeric

1/3 cup water

8 oz. organic milk, dairy or non-dairy

1 tbsp. raw almond oil (optional)

honey to taste        

Boil turmeric in water for about 8 minutes.  If too much water boils away, add a little more.  Add milk and almond oil.  Remove from heat at the boiling point and add honey.

About the Author:

Shakta is an AMS certified Montessori teacher, and the author of five well-known Yoga books, CDs and DVDs. Her latest book, The Yoga Way to Radiance: How to Follow Your Inner Guidance and Nurture Children to do the Same, is scheduled for release in summer of 2016, (Llewellyn Worldwide)   Visit Shakta's Writing and Poetry Site


  1. Linda Lara October 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful article, Shakta – thank you so much.

  2. Donna Freeman October 11, 2011 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    I teach a really fun chair yoga class to teachers and in schools. The kids LOVE it. And everyone is always surprised at the great workout they can get without leaving a chair.

  3. Katherine Hamelin October 13, 2011 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    This is very interesting. I have the book “Dying into life” and there a lot of kriyas on chair which might be interesting to do with seniors.

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