Pose Of The Week: Utkatasana – The Chair Pose
Sitting comfortably in a chair in our office throughout the day is as good as inviting back pain. Yoga blessed the mankind with a particular standing pose which allows us to sit in an imaginary chair. Although it’s quite challenging, the result of practicing this asana is quite opposite to the one you gain by sitting in the visible chair. If you can sit in the chair pose, Utkatasana, for few breaths regularly, you can build your strength and stamina without spending money in Gym. In Sanskrit, ‘Utkata’ means Fierce or Powerful or Intense and ‘Asana’ means Pose. It is pronounced as OOT-kah-TAHS-anna, Sanskrit- उत्कटासन. Utkatasana is used as a transitional pose in Sun Salutations.
The Benefits of a Chair Pose
- This pose helps to strengthen your torso, thighs, ankles and lower back.
- Engages core muscles and helps to reduce flat feet.
- Strengthens legs, ankles, and feet and builds stamina and endurance.
- Stretches the shoulders and opens up the chest
- Tones the abdominal muscles, nervous system and stimulates the heart.
- Helps to reduce weight from the buttocks if practiced
Precautions & Contradictions
Practitioners suffering from low blood pressure, insomnia, headaches, damaged ligaments, arthritis, ankle or knee pain should not practice this pose. Discuss with your doctor before practicing this yoga pose, if you have any recent or current medical concerns.
Steps for a perfect Chair Pose
- Stand at the front of your mat with feet slightly apart.
- Now, inhale and raise your arms above your head. Make sure your elbows are straight and fingers pointing straight up. Keep the shoulders down and shoulder plates moving towards each other.
- Gently bend your knees with the exhalation and try to bring your thighs parallel to the floor. Keep the heels touching the floor.
- Your knees will be projected slightly over your feet and your thighs will make a right angle with your torso.
- Now, it looks like you are seating on an imaginary chair.
- Keep the trunk erect and chest lifted
- Keep breathing deeply
- Hold for as long as you feel comfortable and then release this pose by coming into Samasthiti.
You can bring some variations after mastering this pose. Lift onto the toes of your feet with your knees bent and bring your butt lower towards your heels. Pregnant women should stand with their feet apart to maintain the balance and avoid falling down. If you are suffering from shoulder pain, then you can bring your palms into Anjali Mudra (Prayer Pose) and hold the pose. For beginners, bringing your weight into heels would be difficult. If so, then you can practice this pose near a wall for support. Don’t force your body at any moment to master this pose. Go slowly and steadily.
This pose helps to build stamina if practiced regularly. While bending your knees, try to maintain your thighs parallel to the floor. Ensure to keep your weight in your heels and don’t stress unnecessarily. This is body balancing pose and needs your attention. So, breathe deeply throughout the pose and maintain the balance. If you are practicing this pose during menstruation, then take special care and practice slowly and gently to avoid pain in the lower back.
The regular practice of this pose builds your stamina, endurance and makes you powerful, fierce and determined. Practice this pose slowly, maintain the correct alignment and balance and over the time you will surely get the flexibility to practice this pose without any constraints.