Gentle chair yoga routine

Hello and welcome to this 25 minute chair
yoga routine developed by the therapists in the LEAP Service at Toronto Rehab Rumsey Centre. In this video, we hope to show you that yoga
doesn’t have to be hard to be effective. These gentle postures can help improve your
breathing, range of motion, strength, and flexibility. Cara and Allison will be showing you different
levels of difficulty for each exercise so you can pick and choose what works for your
body. Remember to listen to yourself and stop if
you feel pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Before you start, you will need to find a
firm-backed chair without wheels, a towel or strap can be helpful for some, and make
sure that you’re well hydrated. Let’s begin by taking a few mindful, deep
breaths in and out, through the nose, if possible. As you breathe, feel your feet grounding down
through the floor, and feel the crown of your head reaching upwards towards the sky. Sitting in a tall, dignified position, drawing
the belly in slightly, and if you can, move your back away from the back of the chair
to engage more of the core muscles. Feel the rise and fall of the belly as you
breathe, and relax any obvious areas of tension throughout the body. If there are any exercises you would like
to skip over during this program, you can always come back to this position and breathe
deeply. We will call this position Tall Mountain Pose. So starting in Tall Mountain Pose, begin to
inhale, sit tall, and gently look up. Arch your back as much as is comfortable for
you, then exhale and curl into a C shape. Look down to your belly. Good! We’ll do this 5 times at your own pace. Inhale, look up, draw your shoulders back,
and then exhale, curl and round forward. Feel the spine moving and flexing. Notice where the movement comes easily and
where the movement is more challenging. Feel the stretch through the spine. Last one. Now moving into seated or standing Sun Salutations. Inhale, and lift your arms forward and up
as high as you can, then exhale, bring your palms together, lower the arms to your chest,
inhale, open the arms wide, exhale, lower the arms down. 4 more times. Inhale, reach the arms up, looking to the
fingers, exhale, palms together and down. Big breath in, bring the arms out to a T shape,
exhale, lower and release. Inhale, looking up, exhale, palms together
and down. Inhale, reach and open arms wide, exhale,
lower the arms. Inhale, arms reach up as high as you can,
palms come together as you exhale and lower arms down to chest. Inhale, open, and exhale release. Last one, inhale, arms up, exhale palms draw
together and down. Inhale arms to a T shape, and exhale, release. Great! Now moving into a seated spinal twist. Sitting in Tall Mountain, inhale, when you’re
ready, exhale, begin to look over the right shoulder. You can hook your right elbow behind the back
of the chair if you like. Exhale and come back to Tall Mountain. Same thing on the left side. Inhale, and exhale looking over the left shoulder. Hook the left arm around the back of the chair
if you like. One breath, then exhale and release. Let’s do that again on each side. Inhale, exhale, twisting to the right. For more challenge, you can reach the right
arm out behind you. Exhale come back to Tall Mountain. Inhale, turn to the left, reach the left arm
straight back if you like, gazing at the fingers, take a breath, then exhale, come back to Tall
Mountain. Next we’ll to seated Half Moon Pose. Inhale, and bring your arms up into a T shape. Relax the shoulders away from the ears, turn
the right palm up, and reach to the right. Good. Now come back to center, turn the left palm
up, and reach to the left. Breathe. Come back to center. Release the arms. Take a breath here. We’ll do that one more time. Reach the arms up, right palm turns up, and
reach over to the right side. Exhale back to center. Inhale, reach to the left. Breathe. Exhale back to center. Lower the arms. Let’s do seated Child’s Pose next. On an exhale, round your spine, and let your
torso drop over your knees. Your knees can be together like Cara’s or
wide apart, like Allison’s. Dangle the arms. Relax the head and shoulders. Breathe deeply in and out. Slowly coming back up to seated Tall Mountain
Pose. Roll the shoulders. Now place your right forearm across both thighs. Reach your left arm to the ground beside your
foot. Inhale, reach the left arm up as you gaze
to the fingers. Seated Angle Pose. Hold for a breath, and then exhale, drop the
arm down, and sit back up into Tall Mountain Pose. Now take your left forearm to the thighs,
dangle the right arm down, gaze to the fingers, inhale, reach up, exhale, reach the arm down. Sitting up into Tall Mountain. One more time on each side. Starting with the right forearm on the thighs,
and dangling the left arm down beside your foot. On an inhale, reach the arm up, and look to
the fingers. Hold for a breath. As you exhale, lower the arm down. Sit back up. Roll shoulders. Now place your left forearm on your thighs,
reach the right arm down, inhale, looking up. Exhale, lower back down. Sitting tall, roll the shoulders if you like. Bring your palms and elbows together like
Allison, or wind your forearms around one another like Cara. Start with the right arm underneath the left
arm if you’re winding the forearms. Breathe into the shoulder blades. Sitting tall, and pressing the palms together. Lift the elbows a little higher. Release, and roll the shoulders. We’ll repeat that again. This time if you’re crossing the arms like
Cara, cross the right arm on top of the left arm. Press the palms together. Inhale, and exhale. Lift the elbows. Breathe between the shoulder blades. Release. Shake it out. Well done. Roll the shoulders forwards and backwards
a few times. Now grab a towel or strap if you like. We are going to do some single knee circles. Reach under the right thigh with both hands
or a towel/strap. Circle the knee 3 times in one direction,
then change directions. Now cross the right ankle on top of the left
knee for a hip stretch. Reach the arms up if you like, as you inhale,
and then exhale, lean as far forward over the legs as you can, until you feel a stretch. Hold and breathe here. Inhale, release out of the pose and shake
your legs out. We’ll start with single knee circles on the
left leg. Grab your towel/strap, or reach your hands
behind your knee. Circle 3 times one direction, and 3 times
the other direction. Now cross your ankle on top of the thigh,
or cross your legs at the knee like Allison. Exhale and lean forward until you feel a stretch. Good. Focus on deep breaths in and out. Inhale, and release. Shake the legs out. Sitting forward in your chair, straighten
the right leg and keep the left knee bent. Inhale the arms up, and exhale lean forward,
keep both hands resting on the left thigh. Feeling a stretch in the right hamstring and
calf. If you like you can reach for your right toes. Hold for a few breaths. Relax through the shoulders and face. Breathing deeply. Inhale sitting back up and changing sides. Stretch out the left leg, inhale, reach the
arms up, and exhale, lean forward. Place the hands on the right thigh. Reach for the left toes if you like. Breathe deeply. Try to keep the spine long, and the shoulders
relaxed. Breathing in and breathing out. Feeling the stretch in the left hamstring
and calf. Inhale, sitting back up. Now it’s time to stand up. We’ll do some poses to work on balance and
strength, using the chair for stability. Hold onto the chair with your left hand. Slowly lift the right heel, ball, then toes
off the ground, and bicycle the legs 3 times forward, and then 3 times backwards. You can try circling the wrist at the same
time. Now for Tree Pose. Place the right foot on the inner calf or
thigh (avoiding the knee area). Open the right knee to the side, reach the
right arm up if you can. Hold for 3 breaths. Exhale, and release. Let’s repeat this on the left side. Holding onto the chair with your right hand. Begin by lifting the foot and bicycling the
knee 3 times forward, and then 3 times backwards. Now for Tree Pose. If you can, bring the foot to the inner calf
or thigh (avoid the knee area). You can try to reach one arm up, or bring
the palms together at your chest. Ground down through
the standing leg. Exhale, release. Now for chair assisted Downward Dog Pose. Face the chair. Place the hands on the back of the chair,
shoulder distance apart, and feet are hip distance apart. Walk the legs back. Lower the chest downwards until the head comes
between the upper arms. Hold here for 5 breaths. Inhale, walk slowly back towards the chair. Chair assisted Warrior Pose. Step the right foot back. Right heel angled in and right toes pointing
out. Try to straighten the right leg, and bend
the left knee. Place the hands on the hips if you can. Hold here. Press down through the back heel to feel a
stretch in the calf muscle. Lift the chest up, shoulder blades draw together
and down. Release, and step forward. When you’re ready, step the left foot back. Bend the right knee. Feel free to choose any hand position you
like. Holding onto the chair, or bringing your hands
to the hips, or palms together. Press through the back heel. Lift the chest. Draw the shoulders back. Most importantly, breathing deeply. Good, now stepping forward again. We’ll come back to the chair. Sitting down in Tall Mountain. Stretching through the neck. Inhale, and exhale, drop the right ear to the
right shoulder. Take a few breaths. Relaxing through the left side of the neck. Inhale, up, now exhale over to the left. Left ear towards the left shoulder. Stretch the right side of the neck. Breathing steadily and gently. Inhale to come up. Tuck your chin in, and exhale gaze down to
your chest. Stretching through the back of the neck. Keep the shoulders relaxing down, away from
the ears. Breathe. Inhale, release. Congratulations! You’ve completed all the exercises in this
routine. We will close now with a quick breathing relaxation. Find a comfortable position in your chair. Settle your body into the supports beneath
you. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, release any obvious areas of
tension from the body. Let your breathing be effortless and relaxed. Inviting a sense of stillness into the body. Notice any feelings, thoughts, or sensations
that are present. Breathing in, feel your body rising. Breathing out, feel your body releasing. Thank you for joining us.


  1. This is the most excelent piece of music ever made:

  2. Great video. Thank you!

  3. I am a morbidly obese, 380 lb individual. I never thought I could do yoga, but I LOVE this video. I find myself looking forward to doing it on my lunch break. It is challenging enough to be of use, but not overbearingly difficult.

  4. **THANK YOU**!!! I'm almost moved after I found this video and just did the seated routine… Many years ago I did therapeutic yoga in Vancouver,(I'm a Can. Citizen, but born in South America where I had to come back for family reasons) – I'm a Senior, over 70, with major depression and severely out of shape and with pains and impairments of all kinds, away from any resources other than internet – so I rely very much on videos and podcasts. I've found some good gentle exercises, but never a full modified yoga routine with familiar instructions – which brought me right back to my beloved Canada, hearing the accent, the gentleness and consideration of the instructor — brought me back to the voice of my Iyengar teachers of years back, who wisely reminded people to work at our own pace and limitations. I made myself a promise to do this every day – and I think it's going to help me recover a bit and get on — you're giving me hope. Thank you so much, bless you!!!

  5. Hi again well I have done this for a week now and it is really helping in the am to loosen up and relieve morning back pain and I am good for the entire day.

  6. excellent presentation, thank you

  7. HII'm new student of chair yoga well-done class as well the music so match can you please advice what is the name of this music .. keep up the great work .thank you …Laila from Kuwait

  8. I have progressive MS and have very little use of my lower body. I love this video and use it frequently. I started practicing yoga in the early '90's and miss my more active days of practicing on a mat, however, this gentle sequence is perfect for my abilities today! Thank you.

  9. Thank you very much! I am obese and wanted to start practising easy yoga, most of other routines are too difficult for me and even if they have the word "gentle" in the description they are not gentle or easy at all, but this one is really easy and ENJOYABLE, meaning I do not feel like I'm suffering doing this and I have no pain during or after I finish. I will be waiting for more gentle yoga/ chair yoga videos from you!

  10. Thank you for this. As of my last weigh yesterday, I'm 498lb. I have a T12 compression fracture and have lost the ability to arch my back, as well as PFPS in my right knee, and rheumatoid arthritis. I've decided i've had enough of this, and last three days I've been working on seated exercise and yoga stretches. I found one video but it was slightly…lifeless.

    This one's a bit more of a challenge, but it also feels good. Is this the only seated video you guys have? Cheers!

  11. This video is a great video if you need a gentle start to moving again.

  12. I have been practicing your yoga exercises for about 40 days now and I am so grateful. I spend my days now walking tall, with confidence and feel strong. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  13. Does your organization have a dvd or video available for purchase? Your youtube video is so GREAT! Not a lot of talking———-just a soothing moderator, giving explicit directions with great calming music in the background. I also like the length of time you place of holding the pose rather than rushing on to another one. So I would like to purchase something that may even be a little longer. Thank you

  14. Thank you everyone for your feedback on this gentle yoga video. We really appreciate your comments and have been motivated by you and our clients to create another video. If you are interested in a gentle Tai Chi and Qi Gong sequence with lots of adaptations and variations, you can check it out here:

  15. I love the music, is it possible to get it somewhere?

  16. This looks amazing for my clients

  17. Exactly what I was looking for Cara Kircher. Thank you so much!

  18. hoping to offer this at church

  19. subscribed! just what I am looking for!

  20. Appreciate the girl on the left who gives a good idea of still exercising even if at a lesser level. Thank you for her beside the girl who is doing more extensive stretches.

  21. Loved it my first time

  22. Thank you. I look forward to being present, to following a practice appropriate for me. I started with the gentle chair yoga and now I am adding the chi gong.

  23. Thank you for this. Please do more videos!

  24. Was really disappointed that the whole routine was not seated as the title implies.

  25. Putting my feet on yoga blocks to lift my knees reduces any pull on my back.

  26. After trying out several chair yoga videos, I keep going back to this one. I Love the music, it keeps me wanting to do more. I have been doing this first thing in the morning daily for a month now and find I have improved immensley in this short time. After being out of shape for a few years this is the perfect practice for me to get me going again!! I also do the mat video after for extra stretch. Thank you Cara and Alison!!!

  27. Hi IM 58 with some disabilities i started a seniors class on a mat but found it to painful on my knees hips and feet so i found your video started it on wednesday and im finding it much more helpful without the discomfort Thank You for helping find what works for me

  28. Never knew what chair yoga was! This helped me get started on the right track

  29. Excellent gentle and calming yoga video for beginners and intermediates and seniors. Love it.

  30. I am 71 and had polio as a child. As I age the polio symptoms return – not the disease, but just the symptoms (Post-Polio Syndrome) and I never thought I could do yoga, but after just my first session with this video I am encouraged, as well as feeling better in my breathing already and more peaceful/cheerful. Thank you for a dignified, realistic video. I will be back every day, and hope to get my husband to join me – he is 72, still works full time with Mentally Delayed adults and is quite fit, but I think this will help him too. Thank you again.

  31. Nice and easy. I like it.

  32. This is one of my favourite videos, been doing it for over a year. I also started doing the new Qi gong video

  33. ty for putting this.. I'm just recovering from long term hurt and illness I cant do much yet my heart balance and asthma aren't good lol legs either but that's y I'm here to work on it .. I have to hold on to the wheel chair side for some of this and I poop out easy .. any tips? (cant bend down to the floor either just yet dizzy)…. ah nope break time made it to that point at least

  34. love this yoga relaxing

  35. thank you so much !!!!!!!

  36. Excellent! Thank you so much!

  37. I have RA this was so wonderful! Namaste

  38. Good work ladies, this is needed by many!

  39. is this all nose breathing? or inhale nose and exhale mouth?

  40. Thank you so much!!! I feel so much better! With my disability I didn't think I could do anything.

  41. Love this…
    I had to pause a few times to urinate but I know Im detoxing.
    I will make it A DAILY practice. THANK YOU

  42. plz say how to breathe when holding poses for newbies like me

  43. Holy shit . I really feel good . First time ever trying yoga

  44. This greatly relieved my neck pain in just two weeks. Amazing!

  45. LOVE LOVE LOVE this YOGA and The Meditation at the end. I tore my meniscus at did NOT think I would be able to do my beloved YOGA routine. Thanks again for this and my name is Also Cara so that's another Plus. Namaste

  46. Cara & Allison…… I love "our" chair yoga ❤️ Thank You Judy

  47. Thank you for this video! I have auto immune diseases one of which is rheamatoid arthritis. So proud to have completed this video. Please keep them coming for people who are disabled.. Even thou I have pain everyday I know excercise is very important. I also follow a clean eating plan.🤗❤️

  48. Thanks a bunch, I really enjoyed this

  49. Just sharing….I just got finished with my 11 year old grandson, he loves it too.

  50. I do not have cancer. I have sciatica through both legs. This video is a huge help for me.

  51. This was a wonderful chair routine for my physicial limits, of back , hips and legs. It was very gentle and very easy to follow, and appreciated the two people as models, so I could follow the one that would work for me. Thank you so very much for your help, I will tune in regularly. Namaste.

  52. What a great gentle chair Yoga practice. Thank you for your effort. I should have know OT's were behind it. 😉


  54. Thank you for a starting point and a safe sequence of exercises that I can complete, I was looking all over the internet and finally landed here with gentle exercise in a chair on YouTube.

  55. I've been doing this sequence for well over a year, sometimes trying other videos on alternate days, but I always come back to this complete series of moves.  I have arthritis in many of my joints and I feel good about what I can do with this routine.  I, too, would like to see one of about the same length, just a bit harder.  I do feel so good after doing these gentle yoga exercises.

  56. I do this chair yoga at my wellnees house

  57. Awesome! I suffer from back, knee & joint pain. I can do this chair yog a Everyday! Thank You Kindly🙌

  58. Brilliant video which helps my Ataxia mobility. Thank you.

  59. Cara, thank you for this wonderful video! I have been overweight most of my life and I never thought I would be able to do any type of yoga. Your video has made yoga possible for me. I've been doing the routine for about 2 months and have noticed a significant increase in my flexibility and balance. I hope you'll be putting out more videos in the future. Thank you so much!

  60. Hi Cara, thank you for this video, anyway, is it safe for heart patient? If not, could you make or suggest one, especially for CAD patient? Thanks again!

  61. Thank you very much, I fell very much better now!!! 🙂

  62. I have osteoarthritis I started this at a specialist gym i love it.

  63. Finally, some yoga that truly takes into consideration achy and painful joints. Some days, I feel I can do almost anything and other high inflammation days, I need very gentle treatment. Sometimes, I can't get down on the floor. Thank you for this. Subscribed!!!

  64. What a great video! Loved the break for yoga.

  65. Thank you so much! I have osteoarthritis plus degenerative disk disease: 2 of the C's, 2 of the S's, and 3 of the L's. I'm also pre-osteoporosis and have developed scoliosis. And I have nerve damage in my knee which keeps me from being able to get on my knees. I love yoga but all the routines I used to do required getting on the knees part of the time. I love this routine! It gives me the workout and relaxation and energy I need. And I'm thrilled that it's created by professionals.

  66. First time for me and really enjoyed

  67. This is nice movie I think. However, You should take instructions from Unflexal if you want to learn more about workouts.

  68. I am 63 n have had lyme disease n chronic fatigue syndrome for 20 years, bedridden for 14 years. I can sit for about 15 min before my legs go numb. CFS is very tricky because if u do too much, u can actually digress for days, while doing too little doesnt improve ur situation. I had never heard of chair yoga until today n I was wondering if u had actually worked with anyone who was suffering from lyme or CFS? If so, was there any improvement with pain, strength n range of motion. After all these years, I have pretty much lost all hope. Thank u in advance for replying. I tried physical therapy n she pushed me so hard that my pain intensified beyond belief n I couldn't even hold a telephone for weeks. I was too exhausted. A chiropractor didnt realize how fragile I was n bruised 3 ribs. A massage therapist tried deep tissue n I screamed n left crying. Guess this looked appealing because no one was touching me. Sorry for the long post

  69. Malay

  70. My husband and I who are seniors do this chair yoga routine every morning. We tried many others, however this one is definitely the best. Really helps us stay limber and reduces the kinks in our bodies. So pleased we found this video. Thank you Cara & Allison.

  71. Thank you!

  72. The girl on the Left looks and acts like a total GOOF…….

  73. It is a very nice program. I too enjoy the soothing voice. Like to suggest that you use another musical backround… it is somewhat monotonous.

  74. i have suffered from chronic neck and lower back pain since a really bad accident 2 years ago – i had to relearn to stand and walk – with no help offered by the medical services – i am over 60 so i am invisible – this looks to be exactly what i am after rather than drugs – my lower back pain has even prevented me from the 1/2 marathon walks i used to so enjoy every week – i am now obese and my doctor is convinced all i do is stuff pies and cakes and creamed confectionery into my mouth – i dont – i am nearly vegetarian in fact and have never done the sweet food trail – so thanks in advance for providing these simple chair exercises and i look forward to being able to go on my 1/2 marathon walks again – p.s. i wont rush i will take my time and build my strength

  75. love this & love your chimes, so relaxing, thank you!

  76. thank you, thank you thank you from someone with fybromyalgia!!

  77. great morning stretch !!

  78. This video has a lot going for it. 25 minutes is doable, I feel stretched out and my muscles feel warmed up for the day. Chronic pain and nerve damage as well as arthritis in knees and other areas keep me from regular yoga. This video also gets right to the point, Not a lot of chatter and just enough direction.

  79. Thank you for this video. I'm a Canadian, now a resident of Costa Rica. Do this practice every day without have pain the next day. Have watched the chi gong vid and will definitely be adding it also. Hope you will do other videos in the future – 25-30 minutes is perfect. I can always fit it i to my day. ❤

  80. I really appreciate this video. Thank you!

  81. I love chair yoga! I have lots of inflammatory issues and can’t do standing or laying on my back poses. This is perfect! Thank you! I love how soothing this is!

  82. I am enjoying this Yoga Routine with others s3 days a week..

  83. I have FINALLY found a yoga routine that actually benefits me and I love everything about it. I can focus on this. I try to meditate all the time but this yoga video is perfect for me to meditate AND do yoga at the same time. Being mindful in the now moment is great for my soul THANK YOU ‼‼ THANK YOU ‼‼ 💜

  84. My Routine is to just sit at the table with spoon in hand… oh, wait… You said Yoga not Yogurt. Sorry. My bad…

  85. Thank You and Blessings!❤️😇

  86. Awesome video❣️

  87. I did "Best knee exercise ever" this morning, and "Help with Sciatica, Achilles pain, stiff calves and feet" now, and my knee ( ) no longer hurts! This is fantastic! I really want to find your exercise for pain that radiates from lowest cervical/top thoracic vertebrae to back.

  88. Wonderful and relaxing yoga routine. Perfect for me at this time. Thank you👍🏻😍

  89. Hi I've been practicing this yoga video for about 5 months at 3 times per week and I've noticed a big difference in all areas of my body. I love it. Thank you Thank you. I'll be doing this more often now. 💗

  90. I’ve just discovered this and Cara’s other yoga video! And I’m so glad – both gentle, adaptable, easy and you can feel the stretch!!! Thanks Cara!!!

  91. a sexy blonde in the right

  92. I was just introduced to this 25 minute video today. Ha ing had 9 surgeries on my back, exercising is difficult and a bit scary too. It's hard to know how to excercise. This video is easy for me to do and it is easy to do. I'm so grateful for it to be available

  93. Nice routine. My ankle is broken, so I did weights in my chair while you were doing the standing exercises.

  94. I love this video and suggest it to anyone who will listen. It really helps me feel better physically and mentally. And for some reason my body feels cooler after doing routine.

  95. Hi, I have trouble with my knees I have spurs in them.
    I still active an walk alot, butt still not helping with tone an strength. I will try this the chair is beneficial
    For me. I was in a car accident an my arms ,just dont reach like they did,I got a lump were my back starts. An now at 58, I been diagnosed with Avib.

  96. Thank you so much
    I never knew what chair yoga was un till now
    But I could only 10 minutes
    I get bored Easley
    So I entend to do 10minutes of daily
    Once again thank you so much

  97. I sit all day and this is perfect!!! Thank you so much!! Much appreciated!

  98. Love this. Thanks so much. I have fibromyalgia, arthritis, type 1 diabetes and chronic pain. This is so easy there are no excuses not to get going and it feels so good!

  99. Thank you, Cara and Allison, this has really helped my neck. When I started I could not turn my neck 90 degrees and it made a grinding noise. Now I can turn it fine, with much less pain, and can hardly notice any noise in my neck. Thank you.

  100. This is a great video, has seated and standing poses/stretches, and balance! Very important! I love this video, very easy to do, and very refreshed when done!

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