What is Utkatasana or chair pose and its Benefits? Utkatasana or Chair Pose is a strengthening yoga asana that activates all your body muscles. The Chair Pose improves balance, cardiovascular health, and resilience by strengthening your core, thighs, and ankles. As easy and comfortable as sitting in a chair may seem, sitting in an imaginary chair may prove a little challenging! And this is exactly what we do in Utkatasana, or Chair Pose. The literal meaning of Utkatasana is a strong posture. When you are centered and aligned in Chair Pose, it feels like you are accessing a great well of energy. The Utkatasana requires strength and stamina in the body, as well as focus on the breath and mind.
What is Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Utkatasana’s English name is chair pose. The word Utkatasana is driven by Sanskrit words: utkat + asana, which means as follows:
- Utkat – Intense or Powerful
- Asana – Posture or Pose
Utkatasana is pronounced as oot-kuh-taa-ash-ana.
Practicing Utkatasana over time teaches an important lesson in yoga: Consistent practice is more effective than sudden, intense efforts. Itkatasana is more than just holding the posture of a chair. By ending with a bow full of relief and rising to your feet stronger than you were before, the Chair is a complete circle of physical strength, heat, and self-esteem. Practicing yoga consistently, as in Utkatasana, provides deep and lasting results. Utkatasana strengthens the arms and legs as well as the diaphragm and heart.
Benefits of Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Utkatasana or chair pose has numerous health benefits some of them are listed below as follows:
- Increase Breathing Capacity
- Strengthening of Hips
- Improves Posture
- Stretches Upper Body
- Strengthen Abdominal Muscles
- Strengthen Legs
- Builds Stamina
- Improves Balance
Let’s discuss in detail how we get these benefits by practicing the Utkatasana as follows:
· Increase Breathing Capacity
Your breathing capacity will increase as you stretch the muscles between your ribs and reach your arms up during Chair Pose.
- Strengthening of Hips
While practicing the Utkatasana your upper body gains strength, and the muscles around the hips get stronger giving the hips a stronger look.
· Improves Posture
Practicing Utkatasana can also improve your body posture. Holding the Utkatasana engages all your core muscles, raising your pelvis into a more upright alignment and preventing your back from arching as you reach up and back with your arms.
· Stretches Upper Body
Practicing the Utkatasana stretches every part of the upper body, including the shoulders, chest, spine, neck, middle back, and upper back.
· Strengthen Abdominal Muscles
While holding the Utkatasana strengthens the abdominal muscles by pulling the stomach in and bringing the navel closer to the spine.
· Strengthen Legs
Practicing Utkatasana bends from the knees adds slight stress to the quadriceps and hamstrings, helping to strengthen the entire leg.
· Builds Stamina
Holding the Utkatasana expands the chest, and the breathing improves, building endurance and stamina as well. Hence the body overall gets toned and builds stamina.
· Improves Balance
Holding the Utkatasana needs strength, which improves the balance of the body.
Doing Utkatasana correctly can help build strength and stamina in many parts of the body. Now, discuss in detail how we get the above benefits by practicing the Utkatasana or chair pose are as follows.
How To Do Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
How to do Utkatasana or chair pose includes the beginner’s tips, preparatory poses, the stepwise procedure to do it correctly, duration, release from it, follow-up poses, variations, precautions, and contraindications for asana. So, let’s start with beginner tips.
Beginners Tips for Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Here are some of the beginner’s tips for Utkatasana or chair pose should keep in mind while performing the asana are as follows:
- If needed, you can also widen your feet a little to make your base more stable.
- Keep your gaze on the fingers, not moving your neck completely.
- Your thighs should be as close as possible together.
- Grasp your lower abdomen to support your lower back.
- Keep your lower back long by pointing your tailbone downward and in toward your pubis in the final position.
Preparatory Poses for Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Here are some preparatory poses for Utkatasana or chair pose are as follows:
- Tadasana – Mountain Pose
- Urdhva Hastasana – Upward Salute
- Ardha Uttanasana – Standing Half Forward Bend
Steps for Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Below is the step-by-step procedure for Utkatasana or chair pose to do it correctly are as follows:
- Stand in Tadasana with feet keep together.
- Ensure toe touch and arms relax by your side.
- Now, Inhale: raise your arms overhead.
- Ensure to keep your arms parallel with palms facing inwards.
- Now, Exhale: bend your knees and move your hips back as you are sitting in an imaginary chair. This is a Chair Pose.
DURATION: Hold the Chair Pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
Release from Utkatasana or Chair Pose
After holding pose of Utkatasana now its time to release from Utkatasana or chair pose follows the following steps:
- Inhale: raise and straighten your knees.
- Exhale: release your arms to your sides.
- Come back to Tadasana(as in step1).
Follow-Up Poses of Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Below are some of the follow-up poses or counterposes for Utkatasana or chair pose are as follows:
- Tadasana – Mountain Pose
- Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – Bridge Pose
- Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
Precautions and Contraindications for Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Here are some of the precautions and contraindications for Utkatasana or chair pose you should know before performing the asana. You should not practice Utkatasana if you suffer from any of the following:
- chronic knee pain,
- sprained ankles,
- damaged ligaments,
- pain in the lower back.
Advance Poses or Variations of Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Here we are discussing some of the variations or advanced poses of Utkatasana or chair pose is as follows:
- Variation 1 (Chair Pose Airplane Arms) – In this variation, pull your shoulder blades together by putting your arms behind you and all steps remain the same as Chair Pose(as shown in the below pic).
- Variation 2 (Chair Pose Arms Forward) – In this variation, just stretch the arms in front of you and all steps remain the same as Chair Pose(as shown in the below pic).
- Variation 3 (Chair Pose On Tiptoes) – In this variation, all steps remain the same as Chair Pose, at the end just come high to your toes(as shown in the below pic).
Utkatasana Titles in English and Sanskrit
Some yoga asanas have multiples names, Utkatasana one of them. So, here are some other titles or names of Utkatasana in English, Hindi, and Sanskrit are as follows:
- Chair Pose
- Fierce Pose
- Awkward Pose
What is Chair Pose good for?
Chair Pose is good for strengthening your thighs and knees while also improving flexibility and strength in your ankles, arms, and shoulders. It also increases your breathing capacity.
What is the meaning of Chair Pose?
The chair pose is a standing yoga posture that strengthens the core and lower body. In the chair pose, the arms extend upward alongside the ears, while the knees bend as if sitting on an imaginary chair.
Is Chair Pose good for knees?
This standing yoga pose strengthens the core and lower body by extending the arms upward and bending the knees down as if you were seated on an imaginary chair.
Which muscles do work in the chair pose?
The muscles do work in the chair pose are as follows:
- lower body muscles,
- abdominal area,
- pelvic region,
- inner and outer thigh,
Utkatasana or Chair Pose is an essential feature of Sun Salutations and is often used as a transitional pose. Utkatasana can also be used to build strength and stamina throughout the body on its own. Utkatasana strengthens the nervous system and builds endurance. Keep the right alignment, and find a variation or advanced pose that is right for you, and you will enjoy the benefits of Utkatasana or Chair Pose.
Have the questions? Let me know in the comment session below. I will try my best to answer all of them. Thank you. Be Healthy. Be yogic.
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