Chair Pose - Utkatasana
Chair Pose, also known as Utkatasana in Sanskrit, is a standing yoga posture that challenges the strength and stability of the lower body.
Though Utkatasana is also called Chair Pose, one should not think that the meaning of ‘utkata’ in Sanskrit means ‘chair’. This pose is mainly referred to as the Fierce Pose where ‘Utkata’ means ‘violent’, ‘fierce’, or ‘severe’. This pose is also called the Chair Pose just because the posture resembles one sitting on an invisible chair.
This pose is one of the first poses in the Sun Salutation B series. It needs ample strength with the quadricep muscles to help your hips get the right support and give the knees comfort to hold the pose for long. Working on the alignment of the hips along with the knees and the pelvic region is very essential to get comfortable in this pose.
Chair Pose is considered a base pose as chair pose variations can be derived from this pose. Chair Pose helps boost energy in the body and hence can be included in different yoga sequences.
- Difficulty: Beginners
- By Type: Pregnancy Yoga Poses, Shoulder Opening Yoga Poses, Strengthening Yoga Poses
- Body Position: Standing Yoga Poses
Benefits and Contraindications
Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine
Reduces flat feet
Stretches shoulders and chest
Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart
Low blood pressure
Photo poses in different angles
Modifications and Props
As with all yoga poses, it’s important to listen to your body and modify the pose as needed to suit your level of flexibility and strength. For example, you can place a block under your hips to reduce the depth of the bend in your knees, or keep your arms by your sides instead of raising them overhead if that feels more comfortable. Here are a few more examples of how you can use props to make the Chair Pose comfortable for you.
- Chair Pose with a block: If you have trouble keeping your balance in Chair Pose or find that your thighs or lower back are strained, try placing a block between your thighs. This can help to engage your inner thigh muscles and provide additional support. Hold the block firmly between your thighs as you lower your hips into the pose, and then release the block when you come back up to standing.
- Chair Pose with a wall: If you have difficulty maintaining proper alignment in Chair Pose or tend to lean forward or backward, try practicing the pose with your back against a wall. Stand with your back to the wall and then lower your hips into the pose as you normally would, pressing your lower back against the wall for support. This can help you to maintain proper alignment and prevent you from leaning too far forward or back.
- Chair Pose with a strap: If you have tight shoulders or find it difficult to raise your arms overhead in Chair Pose, try using a strap to help extend your reach. Hold the strap in both hands and extend your arms above your head, keeping them shoulder-width apart. As you lower your hips into the pose, use the strap to guide your arms back behind your ears. This can help to open up your chest and shoulders and deepen the stretch.
- Think about squeezing your legs together as if they are one to make them stronger. You can use a block or rolled up towel to practice this – imagine you are squeezing it and also trying to shoot it out behind you as you internally rotate the thighs
- However, you can also bring your feet wider apart to make your base a little more stable if you need to
- Press firmly through the feet to create more lift in the upper body. Keep the weight evenly distributed between the heels and the balls of the feet
- Practice the action in the legs first with your hands on your hips or the back of a (stable) chair for support.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chair Pose can be safe during pregnancy if modified appropriately and if cleared by a doctor or healthcare provider. Modifications may include using a chair for support, keeping the knees bent less deeply, or avoiding the pose altogether in the later stages of pregnancy.
Chair Pose can be held for several breaths or for a few seconds at a time, depending on your level of strength and endurance. It’s important to work within your own limits and avoid holding the pose for too long if it causes strain or discomfort.
Utkatasana is similar to other squatting poses in yoga, such as Malasana or Garland Pose, but with a more active and engaged posture. In Utkatasana, the legs are actively pressing together and the arms are lifted overhead, whereas in other squatting poses the arms may be resting on the floor or the hands may be clasped at the chest.
- Revolved Chair Pose On Chair
- Revolved Chair Pose One Hand On Knee
- Chair Pose Prayer Hands
- Half Chair Pose
- Chair Pose On Tiptoes Variation Prayer Hands
- Revolved Chair Pose
- Chair Pose Variation Eagle Arms
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