What is chair yoga?

This week’s teacher spotlight glows on Cyndi, our chair yoga teacher here at Modern Yoga.

Not surprisingly, there is a lot of depth about what chair yoga is, its purpose, and what populations can benefit from it. Cyndi addressed all the questions to demystify yoga on a chair.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Last week’s Teacher Spotlight: 

Jamie Pantea

Sarah Canitia

chair yoga modern yoga cleveland

How would you define chair yoga?

Cyndi: Chair yoga is a yoga practice done primarily with a chair. It is our primary prop: We sit on it, we stand behind it, use the seat to support our arms, and, if able, lie below it. We end up using a chair in ways you would have never imagined!  

What kind of chair should I use?

C – The chairs we use in class are sturdy and without arms, so we can twist freely on both sides. If the chair is not padded, adding a blanket to the seat makes it more comfortable. The back of the chair needs to be high enough so that the spine is straight while the hands are supported.

What does a class look like? 

C – Most chair yoga classes are 1-hour long. Class begins with a short relaxing breath focus, followed by a sequence of modified yoga poses targeting all body areas. Resistance bands and yoga blocks are used throughout practice to build up both large and small muscle groups of the body. Along with the chair, the walls in the room are utilized for both balance and strength exercises. Class ends with a relaxing savasana complete with acupressure, warm stones, and cool washcloths.

Who can participate in a chair yoga class?

C – Chair yoga strives to be an inclusive practice: it is especially suitable for seniors, people with disabilities, and anyone who struggles to go up and down from the mat. Also, people who need help with essential mobility but still want to partake in class are welcome to join with their partners to assist them.
Chair yoga can be an excellent introduction to yoga practice because we focus on individual strength training, balance, and coordination. As a participant, it is crucial to communicate your activity limitations with the teacher so she can provide modifications for any poses that would not be suitable for your condition.

modern yoga chair yoga class

What are the benefits of practicing chair yoga?

C – There are multiple benefits of chair yoga. Participants will see their muscle strength improve, their balance becomes better, and most importantly, focusing on a deeper breath practice will be beneficial long-term.
Chair yoga classes can provide a safe and welcoming space for people with similar needs, where they can share their stories, laugh together and create a community!

When do you teach at Modern Yoga? 

You can find me at Modern Yoga every Tuesday at 11 AM

Cyndi teaches 

Chair Yoga – Tuesdays & Thursdays at 11 AM