Utkatasana or the Chair Pose comes from the Sanskrit words Utkata meaning fierce or intense and asana meaning a pose. Utkatasana is a yogic pose which resembles sitting on a chair (without a chair, of course), and hence popularly called the Chair Pose. Utkatasana is relatively simple to perform, at the same time needs steady legs and arms. Utkatasana is aimed at increasing strength, balance and stability. It is also known as the awkward pose or the standing squat pose.
How to do Utkatasana (The Chair Pose)?
- Stand erect with both the feet spaced apart.
- Take your hands forwards with palms facing downwards, till it is horizontal to the floor.
- Now imagine that you are going to sit on an imaginary chair. Bend your knees and try to sit down on the imaginary chair.
- Once you have reached this position, the thighs will make a 45 degrees angle with the lower legs.
- Raise the hands up and bring them alongside your ears.
- The gaze can be forward or slightly raised.
- Stay in this final pose as long as you are comfortable. Try to breathe normally in the pose and relax your mind. Try to increase the duration of the final pose with practice.
- You may try to go up and down the seat, as if trying to slightly get up with from the chair and then sitting in it again. This will strengthen your leg and thigh muscles.
- To release the pose, come back to the standing position with hands back to the sides.
- Lie down in Shavasana to relax for few minutes. You may even sit in a chair (a real one!) to relax.
Benefits of Utkatasana (The Chair Pose)
- Utkatasana strengthens the hips and lower back muscles.
- It gives balance and stability to the body.
- It strengthens the arms, legs and thigh muscles.
- It tones the knees and ankles.
Those who suffer from knee pain and excessive arthritis should avoid this pose.
Variations: Utkatasana can be performed with the arms horizontal to the ground or with arms raised above along the ears. Those who have difficulty raising the arms, may even place the arms on the knees.