Utkatasana (pronounced OOT-kah-TAHS-ana) is the chair pose. The term “utkata” means powerful. The chair pose is entered from the mountain pose. Gravity will easily bring you into the pose, but you will need to use your muscles to “relax” into the final position. Thus, balance is called for. Achieving balance is the quest we all share in all aspects of life. It requires us to be aware in the present moment, not focused in the past or the future.

The breath will also be challenged due to the use of major muscles throughout the body, including the legs, torso, and arms. You will have to overcome a tendency to hold your breath in this pose. However, if you bend your body properly at the knees and the hips, while the spine remains straight, then the chest cavity will remain open and unconstricted.

How To Practice 

Begin the utkatasana (chair pose) by standing tall and erect in mountain pose, feet very slightly apart. Bring your arms straight overhead, shoulder width apart or together in prayer position. Begin to sit back as if taking a seat in an imaginary chair. Slowly assume the position such that you “relax” into the position rather than doing battle with gravity by over tensing the muscles. Remember, this is a balance pose that requires you to reach and maintain a balance point, while maintaining the breath. Stay in position for 20-40 seconds, then return to mountain pose.



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