The Benefits of Chair Yoga with Karen Mitchell

As part of our commitment to making yoga accessible to more people, we are pleased to be starting a new Chair Yoga class this January at Islington.

If you aren't familiar with Chair Yoga, you may be surprised to hear that the benefits are broader than you might think, as teacher Karen Mitchell explains.


Chair yoga is a gentle, mainly seated class. Classes include similar components to other yoga classes – breath awareness/ pranayama, warm-ups, seated sun salutations, optional standing poses, seated poses, relaxation & meditation.

This type of class makes yoga accessible for Seniors and lots more people besides:

  • those who might struggle to get up and down from the mat – either because of a permanent disability or e.g. recovering from surgery*
  • those with balance issues (including those with MS), or have had a stroke
  • those who get tired easily e.g. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, those with cancer
  • those with dementia – these people usually come with a carer
  • or simply those looking for a gentle, mainly seated class.

The benefits of chair yoga are similar to the mind/ body benefits of general yoga, plus:

  • increased strength & flexibility – allowing people to be independent in their daily activities, enjoy hobbies, and have greater mobility to e.g. reach for things or bend down to tie their shoelaces
  • better co-ordination and body awareness – knowing where your body is in space and co-ordinating movements accurately can help prevent falls in older people and helps those with MS and balance issues
  • reducing stress and anxiety, better sleep – Seniors and those with health conditions suffer similar, if not increased, levels of stress compared to the general population. Introducing people to breath awareness & meditation can help, and can give them simple tools to help them cope with worries & stay calm.
  • Better pain management – the above is also true in terms of coping with chronic pain.
  • Improved mental clarity & general wellbeing – learning movements e.g. a seated sun salutation helps stimulate the brain & neural pathways. Coming to a class is an opportunity to meet people and socialise, have fun, feel happier and more confident.

*those recovering from surgery are usually advised to wait 6-8 weeks before doing yoga although this depends on the person & the surgery.

If you'd like to try Chair Yoga then join Karen every Friday, 14.30-15.30 at Islington. Classes are just £4 drop in and all are welcome.

Try Chair Yoga at Home with this 30 min class taught by Sherry Zak Morris