Yoga postures or Asanas come in many different layers and each layer or posture can be more challenging than the other. While some Asanas are gentle and focus on inducing relaxation, other asanas are strong and direct and focus on building physical strength.
Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Chair pose or Utkatasana is a practice that involves the individual to balance and get into a position of being seated on an invisible chair. A pose that may seem simple to an outside observer, chair pose is anything but easy and will put your muscles to work.
By performing a deep squat, Utkatasana will immediately engage the muscles in your legs, back, and ankles.
Chair Pose Directions:
Follow these simple steps to help you master the chair pose technique:
Stand in Tadasana with your back straight and arms by your side. As you inhale, raise your arms until they are perpendicular to the floor. You have the option to keep your arms parallel with each other, palms facing inward, or bring the palms together to touch.
As you exhale, bend your knees, and lower your body to bring the knees as parallel to the floor as possible. As you slightly lean forward with your torso over your thighs, your knees should project out and over the feet.
The inner thighs should be parallel to each other and press the heads of the thigh bones down, toward the heels.
With your shoulder blades firm and drawn back, lower your tailbone towards the floor and keep your back long.
In order to know if you are performing Chair Pose with the correct posture, shift your gaze to your feet. You should be able to see all 10 toes.
Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds. to return back to your starting position, inhale to straighten your knees and inhale to release your arms to your sides.
Muscles Engaged: Abdominal muscles, pelvic muscles, quadriceps, glutes, biceps, calves, ankles.
Chair Pose Variations:
Half Chair Pose (Ardha Utkatasana)
The half-chair pose is similar to chair pose, however, this pose only requires you to squat halfway instead of the full squat.
Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
Instead of raising your arms above your head, bring them in front of your chest to perform the Anjali Mudra (Prayer Position). Without moving your lower body, twist your shoulders to the right and place your left elbow on the right knee.
Hold this pose for 15 seconds and release. Repeat this pose on the other side.
Benefits of Chair Pose:
Chair pose has proven to strengthen the muscles especially when it comes to the lower body. Squatting, in general, has tremendous benefits for the whole body and helps to improve overall fitness.
Added benefits of chair pose include:
- Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine
- Stretches shoulders and chest
- Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart muscles
- Reduces flat feet
Chair pose is especially recommended for individuals who suffer from:
- A weak immune system
- Excess body fat
- Joint pain
Chair Pose Precautions:
Like with any other forms of exercise, certain precautions must be taken in order to avoid further complications with your health and overall well-being.
It is best to avoid practicing chair pose under the following circumstances:
- Have damaged ligaments
- Suffer from headaches
- Suffer from insomnia
- Suffer from lower back pains
- Suffer from acute menstrual cramps
Chai Pose Follow-Up Poses:
Cool down from chair pose by performing a lighter asana such as Downward-Facing Dog. Down Dog would be the perfect pose to help you stretch and relax the muscles as you complete your workout.
Chair Pose Recap:
Some things to keep in mind:
- The secret to a comfortable Utkatasana is to release the heads of the thigh bones and bring them toward the heels.
- Once in Chair Pose, bring your hands to the top of your thighs.
- Lift your upper thigh bones up and into the pelvis.
1. How can you perform chair pose correctly?
The steps mentioned above in this article will help you perform chair pose with the correct posture. Variations are an option to help you switch up the posture in order to ensure performing the pose more comfortably.
Updated by Siya Rajan on 05/24/2018