Ibiza yoga: How to do Utkatasana

Yoga pose: Utkatasana

Ibiza yoga instructor Susie Howell of Ibiza Retreats continues her series of ‘how-to’ yoga posture explanations.

POSE: Utkatasana

MEANING: Utkat means chair in Sanskrit, so this is logically the chair pose!

BENEFITS: This pose creates energy and heat in the body immediately, so great if you are feeling a little chilly. Physically, it strengthens the hip flexor muscles, the front of the thighs, the adductors of the inner thigh as well as the hips, gluteus muscles and the calf muscles. It opens your chest and shoulders and stimulates your heart – enjoy the sensation of your heart pumping and working hard for you.

HOW TO DO IT:

  • From Tadasana, inhale and raise your arms over your head. Keep arms parallel and palms facing inward.
  • Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible. Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the tops of the thighbones down toward the heels.
  • Melt your shoulder blades down your back. Extend your tailbone down toward the floor and slightly tilt it under to keep the lower back nice and long.
  • Stay for 30 seconds to one minute – test yourself. To come out of this pose, inhale as you straighten your knees, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to your sides back into Tadasana.

HELPFUL HINT: According to some very credible yoga sources, the secret to a comfortable stay in Utkatasana (or chair pose) is the notion of ‘the release of the heads of the thigh bones toward the heels’.  Ahem. It may feel like a form of torture… and that burn in your thighs is so, well, burny! But already we are learning a little about our stamina and regularly practising this pose can help you to monitor your progression every week – why don’t you see how long you can extend your stay each time?

PREVIOUS POSE: Vrkasana
NEXT POSE: ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (downward facing dog)