The Chair pose, known as “Utkatasana” in Sanskrit, is a foundational pose in many yoga practices. This pose can be quite energizing and is often used to build strength in the legs and back while simultaneously stretching the shoulders and chest.
Here’s a concise step-by-step breakdown of The Chair pose:
The Chair (Utkatasana)
- Starting Position: Begin in the Mountain pose. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Ground yourself by balancing the weight equally on the base of your big and little toes and both sides of your heels.
- Raise Arms: Inhale and extend your arms straight in front of you at shoulder level, palms facing each other.
- Move Into Chair Pose: As you exhale, bend your knees, lowering your hips as if sitting in an invisible chair. At the same time, lift your arms overhead. Your thighs should get close to parallel with the floor. Ensure your knees don’t go past your toes.
- Maintain Alignment: Tilt your torso slightly forward, but keep the spine straight. Push down through the tops of your thighs and elongate your tailbone towards the ground.
- Engage the Upper Body: Draw your shoulder blades towards each other and press the arms actively overhead.
- Hold: Stay in this pose for 30 to 60 seconds, taking steady breaths.
- Release: Inhale as you straighten your knees, reaching up through your arms. Exhale and bring your arms down by your side, returning to the Mountain pose.
- Strengthens legs and back
- Stretches the chest and shoulders
- Promotes a strong heart and diaphragm
- Those with low blood pressure, chronic insomnia, or frequent headaches should avoid this pose or practice with caution.
Adding The Chair pose to your yoga practice can offer both strength-building and stretching benefits. As with any exercise, always be mindful of your body’s limitations and consult with a yoga instructor or healthcare professional if unsure.