Utkatasana - Chair Pose

Chair Pose — Utkatasana

Utkatasana, the chair pose, is often also translated as the intense or fierce pose. The greater the intensity of any pose, the greater the need for surrender. Utkatasana can be a wonderful opportunity to practice surrender, and one of the primary benefits of the pose is the subtle encouragement of lower energies to rise upwards. So rise up, sit down, and surrender into Utkatasana… The fierce, intense, and beautiful surrender of the chair pose.

POSE TYPE
Standing pose

POSE CATEGORY
Extension
Strengthening
Core

ORIGIN
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

SANSKRIT
Utkatasana
उत्कटासन

PRONUNCIATION
OOT-kah-TAHS-anna

TRANSLATION
Intense, powerful, fierce (Utkata)
Pose (Asana)

Performance

STARTING
Standing at the front of the Yoga mat, with feet together and parallel, arms besides the body.

ENTERING
Bend the knees deeply to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible, without the heels lifting off the floor. In the final position the front torso forms approximately a right angle with the tops of the thighs, the knees are together, the pelvis maintains its neutral position, and the lower back remains in its natural curve.
Take your tailbone down toward the floor and in toward your pubis to keep the lower back long.
Draw your arms up high above the head, working them back toward the ears into the shoulder joints to keep the shoulder blades down and the neck free of excess tension.
Either keep the arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the palms above the head.
The gaze lifts upward beyond the hands.

RELEASING
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.

VARIATION
As you bend your knees, lift up onto the balls of your feet and sit your buttocks down on your highly raised heels. Place your elbows onto your knees and support your head with the palms of your hands on the jaw, directing the gaze towards the middle forehead.
To avoid hyperextending the low back, beginners are advised to build up gradually by first raising the arms straight out in front, parallel to the floor, then out to the side, and finally when sufficient strength has been developed the arms may be lifted overhead.

Effects

PHYSIOLOGICAL
– Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine.
– Stretches shoulders and chest.
– Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart.

ENERGETIC
– Activates the Third Eye and the Root Chakra. The crouching position induces sublimation, redirecting vital and sexual energy to the brain, especially the variation in which one sits down onto one’s heals.

PSYCHOLOGICAL
– Refreshes the brain, centers the mind, and increases endurance and grounding.

Contra-Indications

– Headache.
– Insomnia.
– Low blood pressure.

Chakra Correlation

Ajna chakra - The third eye

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