Utkatasana powerfully strengthens the muscles of the arms and legs, but it also stimulates the diaphragm and heart.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose) is sometimes translated from Sanskrit to English as “Fierce Seat” or “Powerful Pose.” It is a strengthening and heat-building asana that brings all parts of your body together into a cohesive and powerful whole.
This asana is a meditation on determination and perseverance, as well as commitment. To successfully perform Chair Pose, you must seamlessly unite the strength of the legs, arms, and torso as you lift your core muscles and lengthen your spine.
Utkatasana can look simple—like a yogi sitting in an imaginary chair. “When you do the pose, however, it is definitely not a cushy, passive ride,” “A deep squat, Utkatasana immediately engages the strength of your legs, back, and ankles. Here, power is not about domination or control over someone else so much as it is about aligning with the life energy within and around you. At the core level, Utkatasana teaches you how to find your seat of power within your pelvis, at the center of your body.”
Chair Pose demands strength and stamina in the body, but also focuses in the breath and mind. When you are centered and aligned in the posture, you’ll feel like you’re accessing a great well of energy. Utkatasana offers a powerful lesson and a key concept in yoga: Steady practice over time is better than occasional, intense spurts. Consistency in yoga, and in Utkatasana, yields deep and lasting results.
Sanskrit: Utkatasana (OOT-kah-TAHS-ah-nah)
Pose type: Standing Balance
Target area: Lower Body
Why we love it: “I’ve written poems about Chair Pose, that’s how much I love it,” “I am moved by how Utkatasana is not just about holding the heat-building chair posture. By ending with a bow of refreshing relief and standing back up again stronger than you had before, Chair is a whole circle of physical strengthening, warmth, and self-esteem. To me, it’s an immediate boost of confidence and joy!”
Chair Pose improves balance and can build cardiovascular health and resilience. It primarily strengthens your core, thighs, and ankles.
Practicing with your feet together will help awaken your inner-thigh muscles, but if you’re feeling unsteady, try stepping your feet hip-width apart. You can also squeeze a block between the thighs to engage the adductors.
These tips will help protect your students from injury and help them have the best experience of the pose:
Try with a block between your thighs to further activate your inner thigh muscles (adductors).