Cat Pose
March 31, 2015
Child’s Pose
March 31, 2015

Chair Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Utkatasana
(Oot-kah-TAHS-anah)
utkata = awkward

BENEFITS

  • Opens the chest cavity for a deeper breath
  • Strengthens the core
  • Improves balance and stability
  • Strengthens the entire spine; ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder joints; gluteals; lower extremity musculature

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Respiratory complications, as this posture requires increased oxygen consumption
  • Low back pathologies
  • Ankle, knee, hip, or shoulder injury

HOW TO

  1. Grounding down through your feet, inhale and draw your arms up to frame your ears.
  2. Exhale and begin to break at the hips, feeling the weight transfer into the heels. Sit the hips back as you bend your knees and move into a high-squat position.
  3. Keep the torso lifted and the crown reaching upward. Do not allow the knees to drift over the toes.
  4. Slightly tuck the tail and draw the abdominals in toward your spine.
  5. Keep your head in a neutral position and gaze forward.
  6. Hold this pose for 5-10 slow breaths.
  7. To exit: Inhale and press through your feet to extend your legs and return to Tadasana (Mountain pose). Exhale and release your arms to your sides.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

  • Rise to standing on an inhale and sink back into the posture on an exhale.
  • Keep your arms extended in front of you.
  • Place your hands at the hips or heart center.
  • Release and hinge forward into Uttanasana at any time.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Lift your chest and draw your shoulders together to open the chest.
  • Keep your knees and thighs parallel.
  • Hinge first at the hips and keep the abdominals drawn up and in toward the spine.
  • On each inhale, feel your chest expand and your spine lengthen.
  • On each exhale, deepen your posture by squatting further.

VARIATIONS

  • Revolved Chair pose (Pavritta Utkatasana)

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Knee strain or pain
  • Shoulder strain or pain
  • Knees drifting over the toes