Utkatasana: Maybe not the most comfortable Chair!

Utkatasana – ( pronounciation: OOT-kah-TAHS-anna)
Utkatasana is commonly referred to as “chair pose” since it resembles a person seating in an invisible chair ; however, to understand the depth of this pose, is important to understand the meaning behind the name.  “Utkatasana” is derived from the Sanskrit words: “Utkata” which means “fierce”, “powerful”, “uneven” and “Asana“, which mean “posture”. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that many people struggle to get into this pose.
To get into the pose, follow these steps:

  1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
  2. Inhale and extend the arms over the head.  Joint the palms together and make sure elbows are straight.
  3. Exhale and squad down until the thighs are parallel to the floor (the lower the squad, the harder the pose). Make sure the spine is straight.
  4. Look at your “thumbs” and hold the pose for 30 seconds.  To come out of the pose, straighten the legs and return to Tadasana.

Don’t give up:
As the Sanskrit name implies, this pose can be “fierce” for some of us, but the trick is to practice, practice, practice.
Beginners can prepare for the pose by standing with the back few inches away from a wall.  The weight of the body should be transferred to the heels and buttocks should be pushed back and down.  To straighten the spine, tuck the tailbone in. The spine should be straight at times to keep the energy flowing upwards.
Practicing this pose not only will increase the strength in the leg muscles (i.e., thights, calves, ankles) and gluts, Utkatasana will also strengthen the core area.  In addition, it also provides a good stretch to the shoulders and the chest, and as an added bonus, the heart also receive a gentle massage (diaphragm is lifted).