How to Perform the Yoga Chair Pose

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Chair Pose or Utkatasana improves balance and tones the leg and back muscles.The Chair Pose or Utkatasana is good for strengthening the legs and back muscles.
Chair Pose or Utkatasana improves balance and tones the leg and back muscles.
Chair Pose or Utkatasana improves balance and tones the leg and back muscles. | Source
The Chair Pose or Utkatasana is good for strengthening the legs and back muscles.
The Chair Pose or Utkatasana is good for strengthening the legs and back muscles. | Source

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?

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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
  • Inhale.
  • 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:

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Comments 4 comments

jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

My love loves yoga. As for me, I have difficulty with some of the poses. Every detail has to be right.


Sushma Webber profile image

Sushma Webber 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

Hi jpcmc, yes our goal should be to achieve the full pose, however we can be gentle with ourselves and reach that goal in our own time.


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

I tried this last night. I need more practice. Small steps. :)


Sushma Webber profile image

Sushma Webber 3 years ago from New Zealand Author

I read in a magazine that you can do it while brushing your teeth! And I have tried it out. Good way to practice it and strengthen the leg muscles and the abs.

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