The Chair Pose (Utkatasana) makes your calves, ankles, thighs and spine strong while stretching your chest and shoulders. It is great for treating flat feet and can activate your heart, abdominal organs, and diaphragm.
With a little struggle in flexibility or strength, some yoga postures can come to you quickly and easily. Other poses can feel almost impossible, even after years of practice. Chair Pose falls into a category of its own: it seems deceptively easy and straightforward; Nevertheless, when you try it, you will find that it demands a lot of flexibility in the shoulders as well as stability in the core and firmness in the legs.
That is the challenge of Utkatasana. Its simple form promises glory. For all the effort required for this, you will not end up with your feet wrapped behind your head or in some other fancy position. When I teach a chair, at first it produces more frown and even moan than almost any other pose. Yet when I ask my students to stand firm, they are always happy about what they did. When you join, it is difficult, but in the end this pose gives a feeling of satisfying achievement. It teaches you the determination to meet a challenge and the persistence to return to it repeatedly over time despite your difficulty.
- Utkata + Asana:
- “Utkata” = “powerful or fierce”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
It is an essential component of Surya Namaskar and is often used as a transitional posture. It can also be practiced to build strength and stamina throughout the body.
|Also known as:||Chair Pose, Utkatasana, Awkward Pose, Fierce Pose, Wild pose, Hazardous pose, Lightning bolt pose|
|Total time:||30-60 seconds|
|Chakra:||Root Chakra (Muladhara), Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana), Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura), Heart Chakra (Anahata), Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)|
|Counterposes:||Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Tree Pose (Vrksasana)|
|Preparatory Poses:||Virasana (Hero Pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose, or Downward-facing Dog Pose)|
|Follow-up poses:||Tadasana (Mountain Pose, or Samasthiti), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)|
|Indications:||Flat feet; Energize heart, diaphragm, intestines|
|Contraindications:||Low blood pressure, Insomnia, Recent injury to knees, hip, back, shoulders|
Benefits of Chair Pose
This pose is considered easy as it is a simple standing pose with no twist and no bond. Although it is hard on the knees for a start, working on alignment with the exercises will put less pressure on the knees. Given below are some of the important physical and mental benefits from the practice of Utkatasana.
- Physical Benefits:
- Opens the chest
- Lengthens the spine
- Strengthens the feet, ankles, calves, knees, buttocks and thighs
- Stimulates the digestive, circulatory and reproductive systems
- Mental Benefits:
- Stimulates the mind
- Builds focus
- Reduces stress
- Develops willpower
Step-by-step Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
- Start by standing in a mountain pose. Stand tall and upright with your legs apart enough to feel stable. Establish a solid relationship with the ground by shifting your weight distribution so that it is evenly divided between the base of your big toes, the base of your small toes, and both the left and right sides of your heel.
- Inhale and extend your arms to your sides. When your arms are straight, move your palms upward and raise your arms until they are straight.
- Exhale and bend your knees until your thighs are close to the horizontal. This will happen when your chest makes a right angle to your thighs while pressing your heel firmly into the ground.
- Keep your shoulder blades slightly stiff, and lower your backbone upward while rotating your tailbone. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Inhale, raise your arms and straighten your knees.
- Exhale and return to the mountain posture. Stand tall and upright with your legs apart enough to feel stable. Establish a solid relationship with the ground by shifting your weight distribution so that it is evenly divided between the base of your big toes, the base of your small toes, and both the left and right sides of your heel.
Note: Extensive stretching of the entire upper torso and lower body tightness in hoisting demands a great way to relax these muscles. Immediately after uttakasana, one can rest in this yoga pose to relax the knees and hips. Another way to relax with uttakasana is body and breath awareness.
While practicing Utkatasana there are some circumstances which should be avoided, which are explained below.
- Chronic knee pain or knee injury due to pressure in the knee and knee will make the practice of this posture difficult. So best once healed completely or once the knees are strong enough.
- The lower back acts as a base for this posture and helps the body balance gracefully, so with a slight back pain or injury, this posture makes the muscles more rigid and therefore best to avoid. is.
- Injuries to the feet or ankles can be best avoided, as pressure on the heel and feet can make it uncomfortable.
- Severe arthritis will cause more joint pain, and so practicing this posture is best done slowly with simple guidance or mastering to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
- This pose can initially cause giddiness, and is therefore best to avoid suffering from headaches and low blood pressure.
Modifications and variations of Utkatasana
1. Parental Chair Pose
If you are in the third trimester of your pregnancy, revise the Chair Pose by bringing your arms in front of you and resting lightly on a chair or table. Do not rely on a chair or object for stability as it may shift, but use it as a guide. If you feel unsteady in the pose, bend only slightly in your knees.
2. Utkatasana for Beginners
If you are trying a Chair Pose for the first time, you may want to put your hands on your knees or practice against the wall for extra support. As you feel more comfortable, go to the center of the room and free your hands from your knees.
3. Advanced Utkatasana
For a more challenging Utkatasana, extend your arms forward and gaze toward the ceiling. As you hold the pose, you can build more strength in your thighs by squeezing a block between them.
4. Utkatasana for Tight Ankles
If you have tight ankles, place a rolled mat under your heel to make the position more comfortable.
5. Utkatasana for weak back
If you have weakness in your lower back, do not bend your knees above your ankles. Make sure that your core is fixed to support your lower back and strengthen your spine.
6. Chair Pose (Utkatasana) for weak wrist
If you have a weak wrist, try to place your hand on your heart as soon as you come into the posture. Press the heel of your hands together.
7. Utkatasana for weak shoulders
Keep your shoulders more relaxed in the Utkatasana by pressing your hands firmly in your heart. If you feel any discomfort, then free yourself from the pose.