How to do a seated yoga flow

Grab a chair and try this seated yoga flow, to improve your mobility and flexibility

Seated yoga flow: Image shows woman practicing yoga on chair
(Image credit: Getty)

If you want to keep your joints mobile and muscles limber, a seated yoga flow could be what’s missing from your life.

A seated flow is a series of body movements that you can do from the comfort of your chair. It should stretch, release, mobilize and open up the key areas of your body including your spine, hips and legs. 

“A seated yoga flow is a great way to improve mobility and flexibility without placing too much stress on your musculoskeletal frame,” says body movement expert and Free Your Spine Pilates founder Nicola Geismar. “It also works well for those who may have limited mobility issues or back conditions.” 

The benefits of yoga are endless – it makes you stronger, lengthens your muscles and can help fight the effects of aging. It's also very adaptable. You can stay supple with some anti-aging yoga moves or try a wrist-free yoga flow, if you're struggling with joint pain.

New to this kind of exercise? Have a read through our guide to the best yoga mats 2022. Or simply read on to find out how to do a seated yoga flow.

How to do a seated flow

Geismar has created this six move seated yoga flow exclusively for Fit&Well.

“You can incorporate the following movement flow into your day to day routine and I recommend starting and finishing your day with these movements,” she says. 

“Hold each position for one breath in through your nose and one breath out through your mouth, with a focus on moving from one move to the next easily and smoothly. You may want to support your back by sliding a cushion between the small of your back and your chair.” 

Move 1: Seated happy cat

Nicola Geismar performing seated happy cat yoga in chair

(Image credit: Nicola Geismar)

Sitting with your legs double the width of your hips apart, lean into your thighs allowing your back to arch out and creating a capital U from your head to your hips. Have your hands lightly rested on your thighs. 

This position will stretch the front of your body (abdomen, ribs and chest) while strengthening your back-extending muscles. It’s great for those who are more rounded in their posture and tend to stoop forward when walking or sitting. 

Move 2: Seated moody cat

Nicola Geismar performing seated moody cat yoga in chair

(Image credit: Nicola Geismar)

Sitting with your legs double the width of your hips apart, round your back away from your legs, feeling your body weight slide off your buttocks. Think about creating a capital C from your head to your hips. 

This position will stretch the back of your body (upper, middle and lower back muscles) whilst bringing compression into your abdominals, therefore strengthening them.

It’s great for those who wake up feeling very stiff or generally experience a fair bit of back pain, as your back will gather a lovely stretch.

Move 3: Seated side stretch

Nicola Geismar performing seated side stretch yoga move in chair

(Image credit: Nicola Geismar)

Take one hand and rest it on the side of your chair. Take the other arm and reach it up to the sky. Sit firmly into either buttock then side bend over towards the hand that’s on the chair. 

Aim for length in the reaching arm so you can access a stretch all the way from the top little finger to the hip on that same side. 

This is a great stretch to open up your side ribs and will lengthen out your waist. It’s brilliant for those who want to build lung capacity, fortify their respiratory system and focus on toning their waistline. Make sure you do both sides.

Move 4: Seated buttock stretch

Nicola Geismar performing seated buttocks stretch in chair

(Image credit: Nicola Geismar)

Cross one leg over the other and lean your torso towards your top thigh. Pay attention to your back and make sure you are gently arching it out as you lean in towards your top leg. You will notice a stretch around the buttock of your top leg. Swap the crossing of the legs and do the other side. 

This move stretches out the big buttock muscle known as gluteus maximus. If you like to do a fair bit of walking and find your hips get tight afterwards, then this is a good stretch to do pre and post walk! 

Move 5: Seated chest expander

Nicola Geismar performing seated chest stretch yoga move in chair

(Image credit: Nicola Geismar)

Sitting upright in your chair, open your arms out to the side. Create a horizontal line from one little finger to the other. Palms should face forward to the front and your fingers are should reach to either side of the room. With the arms in this position you want to squeeze the shoulders gently in towards your upper spine. 

This is a wonderful movement to do to bring a stretch into the chest muscles whilst activating the upper back muscles. It’s a good postural exercise and specifically helps to combat the forward slouch, which creeps in more and more as we age. 

Move 6: Seated spinal stretch

Nicola Geismar performing seated spinal stretch yoga in chair

(Image credit: Nicola Geismar)

Reach your legs straight out in front of you, then round your back and let it fold over your legs. Allow the weight of your head to completely go. Let your arms hang heavy, either side of your legs. 

This move is a two for one! You are activating a wonderful stretch for the back of your legs alongside opening up all your spinal muscles. If you find yourself easily getting cramp in your legs or tight in your back, the seated spinal stretch is definitely one to include in your day-to-day regime. 

Maddy Biddulph

Maddy Biddulph is a freelance journalist specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. With 26 years in consumer media, she has worked as a writer and editor for some of the bestselling newspapers, magazines and websites in the US and UK. 

She is also a qualified L3 personal trainer and weight loss advisor, and helps women over 40 navigate menopause by improving their physical and mental strength. At Maddy Biddulph Personal Training, she runs one-to-one and small group training for menopausal women who want to get fit to ease symptoms and feel like themselves again.