(Utkatasana): Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Level – Beginner

Chair Pose

(Utkatasana)

Chair Pose Prep & Practice

1

Beginning in Mountain pose (Tadasana) at the top of the mat, big toes touch or feet hip hip width apart. Arms and palms externally rotate, palms face away from body. Spread fingers, energize hands and arms.

2

On an inhalation, arms sweep slightly forward and up toward the ceiling. Ankles, knees and hips aligned vertically. Low abs firm in and up, ribcage lengthens away from hips.

3

On an exhalation, bend knees, hips shift back in space, thigh bones drawing into sockets and weight into heels.

4

Hip points yearn toward chin, low back neutral, abs firm in and up, knitting front ribs finding length in the front, sides and back of the torso.

5

Breath is steady, legs, abdominals and arms energized and engaged, soften tops of shoulders away from ears, chin dips slightly, muscles of the jaw and face relax.

6

To come out of the pose, on an inhalation lengthen legs, exhale arms by your sides, rest in Mountain pose (Tadasana).

Variations/Modifications

  • Practice with back to a wall (balance issues & pregnancy)
  • Bring hands onto hips or goal post arms (shoulder injury)
  • Lessen angle of seat, don’t go to deepest point (knee injury)

Physical, Mental and Emotional Benefits

  • Improves balance
  • Increases strength and stamina
  • Strengthens legs and core and creates heat
  • Builds energy and focus
  • Stimulates reproductive and digestive system 
  • Grounding

Contraindications

  • Difficulty Standing 
  • Balance Issues (see modifications)
  • Shoulder Injury (see modifications)
  • Knee Injury (see modifications)

Thoughtful Sequencing

Mountain (Tadasana), Extended Standing Pose (Urdhva Hastasana), Chair (Utkatasana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana), Mountain (Tadasana).

Want more yoga pose tutorials? See more in my Yoga Pose Directory.

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