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Chair yoga: a 5-minute gentle home workout

Emma Mitchell
Physiotherapist at Bupa UK
11 August 2021

When working from home do you find yourself sitting for long periods of time without moving? Chair yoga is another fantastic way to fit exercise into your day – and one that you can even do while sat at your computer. Why not take five minutes to give it a go?

Get started by following along to this video or the written steps below. Bupa Health Advisor, Tom Galliano, will guide you through the movements.


Part one – sat at your chair

To start, sit in your chair with your feet hip-width apart and your knees in line with your hips. Place your hands on your knees and practise some deep-breathing. This will help to activate your abdominal muscles.

chair yoga - sitting position

Position 1 - Thoracic rotations

Place your hands on either side of your head and then twist your upper body to face the side. Hold for a few moments and then twist to face the other side.

chair yoga - thoracic rotations

Position 2 - Cat and cow

Contract inwards from your tummy letting your chin drop down towards your chest. Hold and then sit up straight – eye line lifted and back slightly arched.

chair yoga - cat and cow position

chair yoga - cat and cow position

Position 3 - Rag doll

Move your feet apart, opening your legs as wide as possible.

chair yoga - rag doll

Slowly fold down through your spine until your head is suspended between your legs. As you do this, bring your arms into position. Then swing gently from one side to the other feeling the stretch in your lower back.

chair yoga - rag doll

When you're done, come back to the centre, roll up and relax your arms.

Position 4 - Side flexes

Slide your hand down the inside of your calf, lean to one side and bring your other arm up and over your head. Feel the stretch and then come back to the centre.

chair yoga - side flexes

Position 5 - Circular arms

Now circle your arms lifting them forward, up and round.

chair yoga - circular arms

chair yoga - circular arms

Position 6 - Pigeon pose

Bring your feet back together, lift one foot up, and with your knee out towards the side, rest it on your opposite thigh and feel the stretch. If you want to, lean forward to deepen the stretch.

chair yoga - pigeon pose

Part two – standing next to your chair

For this next part, you'll need to stand by the side of your chair. Move any obstacles out of the way and adjust the position of your chair if you need to.

Position 7 - Tree pose

Draw your foot up along the inside of your calf and then open and close your leg.

Make sure that you're rotating your leg from your hip joint and not twisting your whole body. Use the chair for support if you need to.

chair yoga - tree pose

Position 8 - Squats

Stand so that your fingertips are just in reach of your chair. Squat planting the pressure through your heels and pushing back up through your glutes.

chair yoga - squats

Final position - Back stretch

Using the back of your chair for support, lean forward and stretch out your back.

As you stretch, transfer the weight through your left arm and then through your right to get a deeper stretch. Drop down to the floor and then slowly roll up through your spine.

chair yoga - back stretch

chair yoga - back stretch

Other short home workouts

Looking for a quick yoga routine? Try our Morning yoga – this relaxing video routine only takes 12 minutes to do, and will help get your day off to a flying start.

Or if you’re back and neck are feeling a bit stiff from sitting at your desk you might want to give these four easy back and neck stretches a go.


Are you interested in learning more about your health? Discover more about our range of health assessments.

Emma Mitchell
Emma Mitchell
Physiotherapist at Bupa UK

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