Teaching Chair Yoga Online

Teaching Chair Yoga Online

The 5 essentials to teaching chair yoga you online can't do without! - By Maria Jones

Reading time: 4 minutes

Teaching Chair Yoga

Back in April 2020 I took my very first steps teaching online. Like many, due to extraordinary circumstances, I had to teach online.
The local MS Society and Aberdeen Independent MS, for whom I have been working for since 2017, realised quite quickly how isolated some of their members would get. In a way, that applied to me also! Like the many MS patients and others chronically awesome and immunosuppressed individuals,

I had received a letter from the government asking me to "take cover". I therefore knew the importance of facilitating classes online in order to bring people together, as well as continuing to enjoy the benefits chair yoga.

I didn't really need a lockdown to tell me that people who are older and chronically ill are frequently faced with loneliness and isolation. These chair based yoga sessions, whether face-to-face or online, give people the chance to chat and share experiences.  In the heart of what many charities do is support for the members and the challenging times in 2020 demanded that service even more.

The online chair based yoga classes continue to the day. As the barriers to practising yoga online have been removed it means there are many more yoga teachers who have yet to teach online, maybe even unsure on how to get started. So was I back in April 2020 and, in all honesty, there has been a lot of trial and error.

I have taught classes using just my smartphone, classes using my laptop and a set of headphones. I have taught indoors and outdoors. At home and during my holidays. This of course means flexibility, but it also means different challenges in providing engaging and effective chair based yoga classes for my students. After 3+ years though I can share my most effective set up with you.

Teaching Chair Yoga


1. COMPUTER: for full functionality you need to stream classes using your laptop or desktop computer. High processing capabilities and a gaming standard graphics card is recommended for a better streaming quality of image and sound. In addition it means full compatibility amongst other equipment needed to be seen and heard by your students at the other end of the screen.

2. MONITORING YOUR STUDENTS: Through the last 3 years, I have seen my fair share of ceilings lights and knees, but also of beautiful smiling faces. So for all those smiles, I have a big 32 inch computer monitor that connects with my laptop through a USB-c cable. Having a big screen allows me to monitor the safety of my students in Zoom gallery view, to teach at their pace and to offer modifications that make asana accessible.
3. THE WEBCAM: Being an iOS and MacOS means that I can use iPhone's Continuity camera as a webcam. Its HD capabilities, wide angle lense, and seamless connectivity are a bonus. If you do not have a MacBook/iPhone set up, epoccam (app) installed on your laptop and phone can also get the laptop and smartphone seamlessly working together… but don't forget the tripod!
 4. LIGHTS: Teaching indoors, most certainly would mean you needs additional lighting to be seen clearly.  Popular LED ring-lights only work close up, so a big Softbox, or 2, are needed. Medium size LED panels are also great and more cost effective.
5 MICROPHONE: A set of good quality wireless headphones can be a great start.  Headphones also block out noise in the house. The two I have used so far are, Jabra elite sport and AirPods Pro. Alternatively, a great quality USB mic also works well.  The Yeti, Snowball ice, has been amazing, until we got a second dog in 2022... it catches your cues clearly as well as every "woof" from the corners of my home...
There are many other challenges that I needed to overcome over the years, from playing music online to producing good quality replays. I won't pretend I have the answers, but I do insist that you give teaching yoga online a go. Many chair based yoga students are faced with limited mobility and some have lost the privilege of driving themselves, relying heavily on others to get out and about. For the charities I work for, it doesn't only save money on providing transport and a safe and clean space to practice yoga, but it also means engaging with people who live in isolated areas where chair yoga is not available, a win for everyone!

maria jones

Health Professional (BSc)
Yoga Teacher & Therapist (ERYT500)
Chair Yoga specialist
Author of The Chair Yoga Handbook