Skip to content

Chair Yoga Is the New All-Ages Fitness Trend That Can Make You Look and Feel Younger

Experts share everything you need to know to get started.

It seems like every few months, social media delivers a new fitness trend—things like walking pads, rucking, and pilates, to name a few. Sometimes, these trends last for years and have the potential to change people's lives for the better; other times, they disappear as fads, more short-lived than Furbies and wedge sneakers (in the fitness realm, think hula hooping and jazzercise). So when the concept of chair yoga came across our for-you page on TikTok, it caught our attention. Keep reading to learn how this all-ages fitness trend can help you look and feel younger.

RELATED: Walking Pads Are the Latest Wellness Trend Everyone's Talking About.

Chair yoga is exactly what it sounds like: a form of yoga that modifies traditional poses so they can be done while sitting on a chair or using one for support.

"It can be both gentle or rigorous, depending on how the chairs are used," says Patrick Franco, co-founder and instructor at YogaRenew in New Jersey. "It involves gentle stretches or enhancing more challenging postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques."

Although the practice is currently trending, it isn't anything new. Chair yoga, which is also called adaptive yoga, was invented in 1982 by Lakshmi Voelker, a certified Kripalu yoga instructor and member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. According to Google Trends, searches for the practice reached peak popularity in the winter of 2024, but there's been rising interest in the topic since around 2020. More than 2,500 teachers around the world are certified to teach this method.

The key draw to chair yoga is its accessibility. "It is super beneficial because it adapts the practice of yoga to suit the needs of a wider range of individuals," says Amine Rahal, founder of Gymless. "By bringing the practice into a seated or supported format, it opens up the world of yoga to those who might otherwise be excluded due to physical limitations or discomfort with traditional yoga mats and poses."

There's essentially no barrier to entry. Everyone can participate no matter their age, mobility, or fitness level—it's also a great exercise for those who are recovering from illness or injury, suffer from chronic fatigue, aren't able to or don't wish to get on the floor, or simply sit for long periods each day and need to get some movement into their schedules.

A woman doing a revolved chair pose while practicing chair yoga in her home
Koldunov / iStock

Experts say chair yoga has similar benefits as the traditional practice. "That includes calming the central nervous system, building strength, increased proprioception, improved neuroplasticity, as well as improved cognition, mobility, and stability," says Amy Zellmer, editor-in-chief of Midwest Yoga + Life.

Most experts agree there aren't many downsides to chair yoga, but there are some limitations. Franco says the practice may not provide the same level of cardiovascular, strength-building, and stability benefits as more vigorous forms of exercise: "While it can still improve flexibility, strength, and overall well-being, individuals seeking high-intensity workouts may find chair yoga insufficient."

Supplementing the practice with other forms of exercise as needed allows you to get the best of both worlds. "I have seen folks frown down upon chair yoga claiming it is making folks lazy, while in reality, it is making yoga accessible to those who can't do traditional asana—and let's not forget that asana is just one limb of yoga," says Zellmer.

RELATED: 7 Easy Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk Chair.

Of course, before you begin the practice, or any new fitness routine for that matter, you'll want to check with your doctor, especially if you have health concerns or limitations.

Once you're given the green light, getting started is easy. You could enroll in a class at a yoga studio or fitness center, or give it a try at home. Zellmer suggests finding a sturdy chair without armrests or wheels; if you're seated in a wheelchair, lock the brakes first.

Then, queue up an online video to walk you through your first few poses. As you develop a consistent practice, you'll start reaping all the benefits.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
Filed Under