Chair Pose /Utkatasana
In Tadasana or Mountain pose, firmly root into the ground, finding equal weight on all corners of the feet. Inhale to bring the arms up overhead, moving the upper arm-bones up and back. Turn the palms to face each other, or place the palms in prayer. Exhale to bend the knees as though sitting in a chair. Track the knees over the toes and in line with the hips. Maintain a neutral spine by dropping the tailbone down and drawing the pubic bone towards the navel. Avoid both over arching or tucking the lumbar spine. The torso will be perpendicular to the thighs. Stay for 5 deep breaths. To come back to standing, inhale to straighten the legs and exhale to release the arms to the side of the body.
For many students this is one of the hardest postures. Utkatasana or Fierce pose is designed to stoke the agni fire in the belly, burning through both physical and energetic blockages. Though this posture demands a great deal of focus, remember to keep a sense of humor about your practice. Instead of gritting the teeth to get through this posture, ask your students to find an internal smile here and to breath through their discomfort. It won’t last forever and is a good reflection of their response to discomfort in their daily lives.
In order to activate the deeper stabilizer muscles, maintain a neutral spine, pressing the heels firmly into the ground, gently begin to squeeze between the calves, drawing energy into the inner thighs and up to the pelvic floor muscles at the base of the spine, lifting the hammock of pelvic muscles up into the body and engaging the abdominals.
To attain proper positioning for the shoulders, start with the arms stretched out in front of the chest, palms facing each other. Bring the upper arm bones back setting the shoulder blades onto the back and opening the chest, and then lift the arms overhead.
- Strengthens gluteal, thigh, abdominal and back muscles.
- Strengthens the ankles and feet, while stretching the calve muscles.
- Warms the body, stimulates the heart.
Watch Out For:
- Knee tracking, either knees knocking together or bowing out.
- Shoulders in the ears.
- Shortening the neck extensors by lifting the chin too high.
- Over arching the lower back.
- Tucking the bum.
- Ribs popping.
- Heels lifting.
- Knee or ankle problems.
- Migraines (keep the arms lower).
- Bring the thigh-bones parallel to the floor.
- Stay longer in the pose.
Yoga Counter Poses
Written By: Meghan Aris
Certified in several disciplines of yoga, a pilates teacher and teacher trainer, Meghan is continually widening her path of body/mind studies. At a young age she began her journey into body movement through dance. After being diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she shifted her practice to more rehabilitative yoga. In this discipline she found not only the resources to heal her body, but also a guide to living a life full of peace and joy. She can be found teaching on any given day at The Space Vancouver.