utkata = powerful, fierce
Fun Fact: The inventor of the electric chair was a dentist. Chair pose, the common name for this asana, was most likely conceived by a yoga instructor. In both cases, a trusted professional known for their capacity to heal, created chair—widely feared as a device for intense torture.
Drishti: Broomadaya (third eye)
- You will always have somewhere to sit
- Strengthen and tone those legs, back, and hip flexors
- Open up chest and shoulder girdle
- Said to combat fallen arches / flat feet
- Helps you learn to deal with it. All of it, whatever it is. You’ll deal.
- Chronic knee pain? Going too deep or spending long periods of time in this pose will aggravate that.
- High Blood Pressure? When raising your arms, keep them arms open and lower than your heart.
- Strong Tendency to Whine? Keep it to yourself while in class. You got this.
From Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Start with feet parallel.
- EXHALE: Slowly bend knees while keeping thighs together, lowering hips toward heels with arms extended towards the floor (imagine a robot sitting down into a chair).
- INHALE: Raise your robot arms forward and up towards the ceiling. Keep your gaze forward and neck long.
- Keep weight spread throughout feet, with a strong awareness in the heels.
- Draw your robo-belly-button in towards the spine.
- Imagine your lower back as a downhill slope instead of a ski jump (angle tailbone towards heels).
- Move the muscles that move the bones.
- Lengthen from tailbone to the top of the head, drawing shoulders drawn down the back to elongate neck.
- Draw shoulder blades down the back and in towards the spine as the arms extend and palms turn in towards each other.
- Sit with it.
- Keep those thighbones parallel and those legs engaged the whole time.
- Focus on stability and grounding, and for goodness sakes just don’t rush through this.
- Wobbly legs? Hug something between the thighs, such as a yoga block or bag of cash, as a tangible reminder to keep the thighs engaged.
- Tight shoulders? You don’t have to touch the palms together. Try having arms shoulder-distance apart, or wider, to help keep neck long and back straight.
- Tight Hips / Calves? Widen your stance and take your feet hip distance apart.
- Neck hurts? Try keeping the neck neutral instead of lifting the chin.
If you are having trouble relaxing into this pose, stop trying to force yourself into a shape your body isn’t ready to make. Try one or more of the above modifications to help find the right chair for you.
Deepen the Pose: Sit deeper.
Image Credit: BeyondDrishti