Pose of the Week: Utkatasana (Chair Pose or Standing Squat)

Utkatasana (pronounced oot-kah-tahs-anna), also known commonly as Chair Pose, has many benefits.  This pose develops concentration, balance, strength and groundedness.  Chair pose strengthens feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, back and neck. This pose also firms calves, thighs, hips, arms and the abdominal area.  While chair pose provides many muscular benefits, it also increases blood circulation in the knees, hips and ankle joints, stimulates digestions and helps relieve constipation and regulate kidney functioning.  Utkatasana is a healing pose that helps to alleviate rheumatism, arthritis and gout in the legs and can also aid in relieving slipped disc discomfort in the lower spine.

While chair pose has many benefits, it should be avoided if one has recent or chronic injury or inflammation in the knees, hips or legs.

How to perform Utkatasana:

1. Stand in Mountain Pose. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Keep the arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the palms.

2. Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible. The knees will project out over the feet, and the torso will lean slightly forward over the thighs until the front torso forms approximately a right angle with the tops of the thighs. Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the tops of the thigh bones down toward the heels.

3. Firm your shoulder blades against the back. Take your tailbone down toward the floor and in toward your pubic bone to keep the lower back long.

4. Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of this pose straighten your knees with an inhalation, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to your sides into Mountain Pose.

Note:  This pose can also be done squeezing a block in between your thighs.

For a complete listing of all the classes at Wilmington Yoga Center, please visit us at https://wilmingtonyogacenter.com/classes/yoga-class-schedule/.