Yoga Pose: Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
By Kerrie Cason
Utkata = Powerful, fierce
Asana = Posture
Begin your pose in Tadasana. Place your feet together, inner heels and big toes touching, or hips distance apart. As you find your Tadasana, be sure the weight is evenly distributed to all four corners of your feet. Lift up with your inner and outer arches as well as your inner and outer ankles. This sounds complicated, but if you focus your attention on these areas, over time you will find that you can accomplish it. Yoga is something to practice without interruption over a long period of time. This is how we grow in our practice.
Lift your arms above your head, palms facing inward. Be sure to slide your shoulder blades down your back and away from your ears, moving them away from the spine while keeping the back wide. If you are experiencing any pain in the shoulders and raising the arms is difficult, then bring your hands to prayer in front of your heart. Your neck should remain long as you look up towards your hands. The upper inner arms are in line with your ears.
With a deep inhale, bend your knees and sink your hips. Move your shins back shifting the weight into your heels. Don’t let your heels lift up off the ground. Even though you’d like to find yourself sitting at a ninety-degree angle, only sit as low as is comfortable for you.
Understanding More About Yoga Poses: Utkatasana, Chair Pose
The knees touch, but do not squeeze together as your inner thighs rotate towards the floor, releasing your buttock flesh towards your heels. Keep your thighs firm. With each inhale, get long through all four sides of the waist, soften the front ribs down and lift your sternum up, broadening through your chest. Use your arms to extend up.
Then with each exhale, sit a little deeper, dropping the tail bone towards the heels, keeping the lower back flat. Use your stomach muscles to lift your frontal hipbones up off of the thighs and to sit down a little deeper. Remember, with each slight adjustment, use the breath. Inhaling lifts you up and exhaling brings you deeper into the posture.
When you are ready to come out of Utkatasana, using an inhale, straighten your legs; as you exhale, bring your hands into prayer in front of your heart. Because this pose can be intense, this might be a nice moment to close your eyes while coming back to your intention, finding your breath and feeling the effects of your yoga practice. Namaste.
Benefits of Utkatasana, or Chair Pose:
– Creates space and openness in shoulders and chest
– Strengthens the ankles
– Strengthens the legs
Risks of Utkatasana, or Chair Pose::
– Lower back
Yoga Pose Instruction for Easy Ways to Go Green, by Kerrie Cason
Uttanasana (Intense Standing Forward Fold)
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Virasana (Hero Pose)
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
Ardha Chaturanga Dandasana (Plank Pose)