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Yoga Wednesday: Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

February 10, 2010

If you think squats are easy, try holding the chair pose for an extended length of time – preferably 30 seconds to a minute. Your quads will be burning and your upper body will be fatigued as well! Whether you are looking for a new exercise to add to your routine or are a practicing yogi/yogini, chair pose (aka Utkatasana in Sanskrit) is a challenging and powerful move to throw into any workout. And the best part is, like all of these exercises, you can do it anytime, anywhere!

  • Begin with your feet side by side, with a small space between the knees. Inhale as you extend your arms up overhead with the palms facing one another or bringing them together. Keep the arms strong as you roll your shoulders down and press the shoulder blades firmly into the back.
  • Exhale as you bend your knees, sinking the weight into the heels. Our goal is to make the thighs come as parallel to the ground as possible.   While keeping a small space between the knees, imagine zipping your legs together to engage the inner thighs as you work on rolling the shoulders back to open up your chest.
  • We want to make sure that we are not hyper-extending the lower back (which is often a common tendency in this pose). Instead, tuck your tailbone under toward the floor to keep the back long.
  • To get out of the pose, inhale as we straighten our legs and return to standing and exhale as lower the arms down.

And if we’d like to modify?!

No problem! Extend your arms out in front of you rather than overhead to work the shoulders and back a little less intensely.

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