Chair yoga is a wonderful alternative for individuals who aren't able to do mat yoga. Whether you're trying yoga for the first time, dealing with arthritis, recovering from an injury or illness, or looking for ways to increase your range of motion, this style can get you back in the game. You, a DVD player, and your favorite hard chair -- perfect set-up for some pranayama and poses.
Great and Groovy Chair Yoga DVDs
Chair yoga involves either sitting on a chair or leaning against a chair as a prop. These six DVDs will help increase your strength and flexibility as you use the chair for help with stability, weight bearing, and balance.
Gentle Chair Yoga With Sarah Starr
Sarah Starr has a popular chair-based yoga series -- Happy Chair Yoga With Sarah Starr. This DVD in the series, Gentle Chair Yoga, is accessible to almost everyone. The relaxing, scenic background and slow, easy moves eliminate any stress involved in attempting yoga with a disability or mobility limitations. Poses start with stretches for your neck and shoulders, progress to hip openers and hamstring stretches, move into chest openers and forward bends, and wrap up with very gentle twists. If you have back problems, you can just eliminate the twists and go right to the 12-minute guided meditation that completes the DVD.
Reviewers on Amazon praise this DVD for its accessibility, especially for those who are a bit older. Purchase the DVD on Amazon for about $13.00. If you buy more than one Happy Chair Yoga DVD, you can get free shipping.
Stronger Seniors Chair Yoga Program
The Stronger Seniors Chair Yoga Program focuses on breathing and relaxation while helping to stretch and strengthen the body. The DVD proceeds slowly with lots of adaptations and modifications for those with more limited mobility. The program is long (52 minutes) but allows generous time for each pose, so there is no overexertion or straining to keep up with the instructors or the pace.
Consumers rate it highly for the modifications, slow pace and the improved flexibility and well-being they feel it brings. Reviewers applauded the sequences as very accessible for extremely elderly participants, some of whom were limited to walkers and wheelchairs, as well as its adaptability for those using oxygen machines. There are several DVDs in the series, most retailing for about $18.
Ageless Yoga Vol. 1
Ageless Yoga Vol. 1 Chair and Standing Routines uses both seated chair poses and standing poses using the chair as a prop for balance and stability. Taught by RYT John Schlorholtz, the DVD is broken into sequences ranging from five to 90 minutes in length so you can customize your workout to your ability and time constraints. The DVD is also divided by type of sequence, with sequences for gentle looseners, joint mobility and stamina.
Users rate it highly for the modifications, strengthening it provides and the gentle, stress-free method of instruction. It's listed in Best Choices for Seniors as one of the Top 10 Yoga DVDs for Seniors. Each DVD in the series retails for under $20.
Senior Chair Yoga DVD with Paula Montalvo, 80+yrs Young
Here's one to inspire you to an exuberant old age. Octogenarian Paula Montalvo rocks her Senior Chair Yoga and puts you to shame. Three 30-minute segments deliver slow sequences to build confidence and more challenging poses to move you out of your comfort zone. Montalvo, a longtime yoga teacher, aims her program at developing independence for seniors, and some of her models are from her classes at her neighborhood yoga studio. You'll find seated and standing poses almost anyone can do.
YouTube comments range from "Very inspiring" to "I was hooked! I purchased two..." to "I just used some of your tips [for my] 87-year-old private student." The DVD retails for about $20.
Chair Yoga Dance
Feel the beat in your seat with a 50-minute, nine-dance DVD that improves coordination, sharpens your mind and lifts your spirits. Led by certified chair yoga teacher Olga Danilevich, Chair Yoga Dance mixes movement, breath work, and lots of music. There are eight dances that include breathing exercises, rhythmic warm-up moves, and stretching and strengthening for flexibility and increased range of motion. There's also an encore featuring a yoga studio full of seniors rocking two of the most popular dances.
This one got high marks on YouTube from 80- and 90-year-olds! Some of the music is religious-themed, fairly generic but with a Christian cast. The DVD is $24.95 plus shipping from Yoga Journey Productions.
Sitting Fit Anytime: Easy & Effective Chair Yoga
Sitting Fit Anytime: Easy & Effective Chair Yoga is a completely seated chair yoga routine that focuses on stretching and strengthening the body. There are nine separate three- to five-minute segments that each focus on a different part of the body, allowing you to customize your workout or avoid areas that are injured. The introduction in the beginning of the DVD does showcase the instructor using the chair as a prop for more advanced yoga poses, but the majority of the DVD focuses more on poses that can be modified for those with limited mobility -- you can even adapt the poses if you are confined to bed.
Yoga Journal highly recommends this program, especially for those who need to maintain or regain their strength while injured. It retails for about $10.
Yoga for Seniors With Jane Adams
Yoga for Seniors With Jane Adams is a graduated series of three practices that take you from strictly chair-based yoga to a mix of standing and seated yoga. Level 1 (26 minutes) is performed seated on a chair and is designed to improve strength, range-of-motion, joint health, and posture. Level 2 (40 minutes) features seated poses and those you do while holding the chair for balance. There are simple exercises to strengthen feet, ankles and legs. By level 3 (55 minutes), you're also alternating between sitting and standing, using the chair. But there is more work on standing balance, with six short segments to work on flexibility.
This program has more than 200 reviews and 4.5 stars on Amazon.com, where the the 3-part DVD is $14.95. Use it to get back on your feet or share it with yogis of varying abilities.
Chair Workout for Meditation
Chair yoga is useful to anyone, limited mobility or not, as a means to prepare a strong meditation seat. Popular instructor Rodney Yee demonstrates how to use chair poses for better flexibility and balance, and greater stillness while seated. You can do a number of these in your office, or take a chair yoga break from your desk at home.
Yoga for Everyone
Chair yoga DVDs are a great way to get the benefits of yoga, even for those with limited mobility, chronic pain, or injuries. Whether you are new to yoga or need to modify your practice, consider the low-risk effort of working through safe stretches and strength builders with your favorite sturdy chair and a helpful DVD.