Chair Pose (Utkatasana) Explained

The Utkatasana, best known as the chair pose, improves your ankles, calves, thighs, and spine to be strong while expanding your chest and shoulders a little bit more. This pose is beneficial for developing your grounding and can stimulate the heart, inner organs, and diaphragm.

In this guide, let’s get to know its meaning and importance, the benefits it holds, steps on how to do it, and some modifications of this yogic pose that is widely used today.

Chair Pose 101: Everything You Need to Know

Some yogic poses require flexibility and strength to perform, and other asanas will seem impossible to do even after years of practicing. Chair pose is no different: it feels it is easy to do, but when you try it yourself, it will require a lot of flexibility in the shoulder, endurance, and stability in the lower body. That is the challenge of this yogic pose.

This pose is challenging at first, but when you actually practice and master it, the chair pose will give you a feeling of gratifying fulfillment. It teaches you enough determination to reach a goal and the persistence to do it all over again repeatedly despite its difficulty.

The chair pose is derived from the Sanskrit word Ukata meaning “powerful,” and asana, meaning “pose.” It is one of the essential components of Surya Namaskar and is famous for being a transitional kind of pose. It can help to build strength and endurance throughout the body.

Fantastic Benefits It Gives

This pose is as easy as the standing poses without any further complexities. Although it may be challenging on the knee part, focusing on the alignment with exercises can lessen the tension or pressure on the knees.

Below are some fantastic mind-body benefits that you can get from practicing the chair pose (Utkatasana).

On the physical level, it can help open the chest and stretch the spine a little more. It can also improve the feet, calves, knees, ankles, thighs, and buttocks while enhancing the circulatory, digestive and reproductive organs. On the flip side, it reinforces the mind for mental benefits, improves focus, lessens stress symptoms, and boosts willpower.

5 Things to Consider

When practicing the chair pose (Utkatasana), there are some things to consider for you to have a better and safer practice. Keep reading to find out.

  • If you have existing chronic knee pain or any knee injury, doing the chair pose will make your situation more complicated, plus the posture itself will become more challenging to achieve. So it’s best to practice this once you are healed and that your knees are strong enough.
  • Practicing this pose can make your muscles ache if you suffer from lower back pains or injuries. The lower back serves as the base of the chair pose, so avoid doing this pose if you have lower back issues.
  • Toe, foot, and ankle injuries will worsen when you practice this pose as it requires pressure and tension on the heel and feet, making it super uncomfortable.
  • Doing this pose with arthritis problem is best done slowly with proper guidance as it can lead to more joint pains. Later on, mastering this pose will reduce arthritis symptoms.
  • Strictly avoid practicing this pose when having a headache and low blood pressure as it can spark giddiness.
  • Step-by-Step Guide

    1. From a mountain pose, stand straight while your legs are apart to make sure you will have a better grounding as you slowly equally distribute your weight to the base of your toes and each side of your heel.

    2. Breathe in and gently stretch your arms on each side. Ensure your arms are straight as you direct your arms up in the ceiling, and extend them as much as possible.

    Chair Pose or Utkatasana Step-by-step Guide

    3. At this point, breathe in again as you move your arms to each side. When your arms are already settled, move your arms upward and stretch them until straight.

    4. Breathe out and stretch your knees until your thighs are almost horizontal.

    To make this happen, make sure your chest settles at a right angle against your thighs while your heels are rooted firmly into the ground.

    5. Next, make your shoulder blades slightly tight, maintaining your lower spine straight as your tailbone rotates.

    Keep this position for about thirty to sixty seconds. Breathe in, and then move your arms up while you straighten your knees.

    Take note: Stretching both the upper and lower body can ease the tightness and help relax those muscle groups present in those areas.

    After doing any yogic pose, this pose can be a great way to rest the overall body. Another practice you can apply with the Utkatasana is breathing techniques or breathwork.

    Modifications & Variations

    Chair Pose for beginners

    If you are a first-timer doing Utkatasana, it’s best to place your hands on your knees or do it against the wall for additional support. As soon as you feel comfortable, you can try practicing it without the wall and separate your hands from your knees.

    Advanced Utkatasana

    For a more advanced chair pose, stretch your arms forward as you look up in the roof. As you settle with the pose, you can develop more muscle power in your thighs by using a yoga block between them.

    Chair pose fit for the back

    If you feel like you have a weak back, stop bending your knees over your ankles. Ensure that your core is settled to assist the lower back to improve your spinal function.

    Chair pose for improving the wrist

    If you want to improve your wrist, placing your hand near your heart as you complete the pose while pressing the heel of your hands altogether should do the trick.

    Chair pose for better shoulder blades

    Put your shoulders in a relaxed state in the pose by rooting your hands gently in your heart. Once you feel any discomfort in the posture, free yourself at once.

    A yogic pose like the chair pose or the Utkatasana is one of the many poses that can help and bring multiple mind-body benefits. It may not be easy to practice at first, but it will all be worth it with proper guidance and enough determination. Namaste.