Are you looking for a standing balance pose to help build strength in the legs, length in the back, openness in the shoulders, and stability in the core? Do you like to pretend to sit in a chair without having a chair to actually sit in? Look no further! Utkatasana has everything you are looking for and more!
Utkata = powerful, fierce
- Strengthens legs, back, and hips
- Helps to open chest and shoulder girdle (based on arm variations)
- Activates and strengthens feet (particularly arches)
- You’ll always have a place to sit!
- Chronic knee pain can be aggravated when going too deep or spending long periods of time here.
- High Blood Pressure may be challenged in certain variations when raising the arms overhead.
- When held for long periods of time, this pose tends to bring up anger and frustration in certain people.
Setting Up the Pose
You’ve got three basic foot positions to choose from:
- Feet parallel, hip distance apart
- Ball of the foot touching, heels apart (outside edge of feet parallel)
- Inside edges of feet touching / parallel
EXHALE: From standing, begin to bend your knees and lower you hips slowly as if sitting into a chair. If your feet are hip distance apart, your thighs don’t have to be touching. Keep you arms extended down towards the ground.
INHALE: Slowly raise your arms out and upwards in line with your torso. Your hands do not have to touch, nor do you need to lock out your elbows. Just make sure to keep the shoulder blades low as the arms reach up.
Imagine that the shape your body makes looks like someone who is super excited about the act of sitting down– whoo hoo!
- Make sure your knees and toes are pointing in the same direction.
- Instead of moving knees forward when bending, try lowering your hips back.
- Start with weight more in the heels, spreading toes to create an arch.
- Think more downhill slope (round) than ski-jump (arch) in your tailbone ((angle tailbone towards heels).
- Keep thighbones parallel and legs engaged
- Core active and toned (navel drawing inward and up)
Using the FeetUp® Trainer in Utkatasana
Try standing with your heels touching the front of the trainer. As you begin to sit down, focus on keeping the heels grounded as you test the range of motion in your knees. Visualize the cushion as a soft landing pad in the event you feel wobbly.
Alternatively, you can begin in a seated position facing the same direction. Explore using a forward fold and/or gentle rocking motions in your torso and arms to smoothly stand up into chair pose. Think about how you pour weight through your feet as this happens.
Want to Deepen the Pose?
Sit deeper. Try lifting one or both heels. Explore different arm variations. Add a twist or two. For an extra added super secret bonus, try closing your eyes. Enjoy the ride!
We’d love to knowhow this all works for you. Did you come up with any helpful tips, tricks, or insight that would help others? Share in the comments below!