Chair Pose, or Utkatasana, is a fairly challenging standing yoga pose which tests many different parts of your body at once. Chair pose requires you to balance while building strength in your entire lower half of your body. At the same time, this standing pose builds core strength by the nature of the balance position involved.
1. Begin in Mountain Pose.
2. Breathe. Begin to slowly bend your knees and lower your body into a squat as though you are sitting in a chair. Breathe out. Slowly bend your knees, aiming to lower your thighs so they are parallel to the floor, as if you were sitting on a chair.
3. Lift your arms simultaneously so they are parallel to one another and pointing at a diagonal to the ceiling.
4. Breathe smoothly in this pose for up to a minute. To exit the position, simply rise and lower your arms simultaneously.
Chair Pose builds great strength in the entire lower body region, from the thighs down through the calves and ankles. This standing pose benefits any types of activities which use the legs and which call for strength and endurance.
Chair Pose builds a strong core as well as stretching and lifting the shoulders, spine and chest. Chair Pose, like many standing yoga poses, provides a great help for improving overall posture. Practice Chair Pose several times a day to build those muscles.
Chair Pose is a great pose for building focus and concentration. The act of holding that precise set of angles while balancing can be very tricky. All focus needs to be on the alignments and on maintaining them to get through the pose. This regular practice can enhance memory, concentration and attentiveness.
When you are achieving Chair Pose, take a nearby yoga block or strong cardboard box and put it between your thighs, squeezing in while you also keep the balance. This will help build the strength of those thigh muscles. To increase the benefit of this modification, work your way through heavier and heavier blocks or even books.
To make this standing yoga pose even more difficult, instead of shifting your weight primarily toward the back of your heels, balance it forward so your weight is more toward the balls of your feet. Bring your arms to point forward. Aim to maintain the same alignment of your overall body without slouching or collapsing in on yourself.
Instead of looking forward, lift your gaze to look up through your hands. Reach with your hands. Hold the focus and keep your breath long, deep, and even.
Especially when you’re first getting started, Chair Pose can be tricky to maintain. If your ankles are too tight to balance smoothly, give your heels some support. Roll up a thin mat or towel and place it beneath your heels. That should help the ankles adjust to the position.
If managing this standing yoga pose is causing issues for your upper body, instead of keeping those arms straight out from you, draw your hands in to press together at your heart.