How to Perform the Yoga Chair Pose
The Chair Pose or Utkatasana is an energizing pose that can make your body temperature and energy level soar. It is one of the standing yoga poses for improving balance and muscle tone of legs and back muscles. It is also called the half chair posture or awkward pose.
The Sanskrit word 'Utkatasana' means:
utkata = powerful, fierce, extraordinary
asana = pose or posture
The chair pose can be done with different variations suitable for beginners and advanced students of hatha yoga. It is a good pose to perform to increase the heat of the body in the first part of yoga asana practice.
Benefits of Chair Pose or Utkatasana
There are many benefits to performing the chair yoga pose similar to the other standing yoga poses. The main benefits are:
- strengthens thighs and calf muscles.
- strengthens the ankles and Achilles tendons
- strengthens back, shoulders and arms
- builds overall stamina and energy
- increases body temperature and energy level
- improves balance, focus and concentration
- stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart
- reduces flat feet
- tones the arches of your feet when done by rising on the balls of the feet
- strengthens the lower back and trunk
- improves the range of motion in your ankles
- strengthens the hip flexor muscles and the front of your thighs
Caution: Do not perform this pose if you have problem knees or hips.
Chair Pose - Arms Forward/Feet Flat and Heels Raised
Did you know that the Chair Pose could be done in three different ways?See results without voting
How to Perform the Chair Pose or Utkatasana
There are three ways of doing the Chair yoga pose:
Chair pose – Arms at shoulder height/feet flat on floor
- Start in Mountain Pose or tadasana: feet hip-width apart.
- Arms and hands held straight out in front at shoulder level, palms parallel to the floor
- keep shoulders relaxed, back and down
- On exhalation, slowly begin lowering your body into a squat position as though your were about to sit in an imaginary chair.
- Do not go beyond 90 degrees at the knees
- Keep your feet flat on the floor, with your knees over your ankles
- Breathe slowly as you gaze beyond your arms for 6-8 breaths
- Keep your neck relaxed and extended
- return to a standing position with arms at shoulder level
- repeat 3-5 times
Chair Pose – Arms at Overhead/feet flat on floor
- Start in Mountain Pose or Tadasana
- As you Inhale and raise your arms forwards and up overhead, palms facing each other.
- As you Exhale, bend your knees and squat halfway to the floor
- Soften your arms but keep them overhead
- Look straight ahead, stay in position for 6-8 breaths
- Repeat 1-3 times
Advanced Chair Pose – Arms at Shoulder Level/Heels off the floor
- Start from Mountain Pose
- arms and hands held straight out in front at shoulder level, palms parallel to the floor
- inhale lift your heels off the floor and onto the balls of your feet (toes)
- As you exhale, slowly begin lowering your body into a squat position, again sitting in an imaginary chair.
- Do not go beyond 90 degrees at the knees
- breathe deeply and hold for a count of 5
- inhale and raise back up to a standing position.
- Lower your arms and return to Mountain pose or tadasana
- Feel the energy course through the body
- repeat 3-5 times
It is important to keep the muscles of the legs and hips strong and well-toned since they support the whole weight of the body and help in maintaining good posture.
Yoga Chair Pose/Arms Overhead
Resources for Further Practice
Note: Traditionally, in the Chair Pose or Utkatasana, the feet are together and the arms are straight, with the fingers interlocked and the palms turned upwards. The chin rests on the chest.
There are many other yoga poses that can be done for improving the overall muscle tone, balance and strength of the legs, hips, spine and shoulders. Check out the following articles and decide on the sequence that is suitable for you:
- Half Forward Bend, Ardha Uttanasana Yoga Pose
This pose helps to strengthen the back and relax the neck muscles which is the region of tension because it has to support the head in an upright position. Find out how to stretch and strengthen them.
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- Yoga Poses for the Spine
The spine is like the trunk of a tree, supporting the entire body structure. Taking care of it and maintaining its strength and flexibility is of primary importance. Find out some of the yoga poses that you can incorporate into your yoga practice.
- Yoga Poses for Shoulders
The challenges of our life can cause stress and tension in our shoulders and neck muscles. Find out how to relax and strengthen the shoulders through yoga poses.
- Yoga Poses for Legs
Our legs are the most important parts of the body. They support our body weight, help us walk, run, swim, stand and be active in our lives. Yoga is a great way to maintain muscle tone of the legs.
- How to Perform the Locust Pose in Yoga
The half locust and the full locust pose in yoga are both beneficial to strengthen the buttocks, legs and increase energy and circulation in the body. Learn how to perform both the variations.
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