Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

English Name(s)
Chair Pose, Fierce Pose, Hazardous Pose, Lightning Bolt Pose, Wild Pose, Awkward Pose
Sanskrit
उत्कटासन / Utkaṭāsana
Pronunciation
oot-kah-tah-sah-nah
Meaning
utkaṭa: “wild, frightening, above the usual, intense, gigantic, furious, or heavy”
āsana: “posture”

Physical Benefits

Utkatasana (oot-kah-tah-sah-nah) is an excellent pose to strengthen the legs. It also strengthens the back muscles and removes stiffness in the shoulders. It may seem like a simple enough pose but if done correctly, it develops the overall endurance and strength of the whole body. The lengthening and lifting of the spine lifts the diaphragm up, giving a gentle massage to the heart.

Energetic Benefits

The mind moves like a pendulum, past and future. Yogis practice bringing the mind to the present moment. A moving mind cannot reflect on the higher self. The mind needs to be trained to be seated in one place along with the body. This pose gives a burst of energy to the system, while grounding the mind.

Contraindications

Those with high blood pressure should refrain from lifting the arms and keep their palms holding the hips. Those with knee conditions should not bend their knees too much. One can take the pose with their back leaning against the wall. Those who are flat footed should curl their toes.

Women with prolapsed uterus or who are in the first trimester of pregnancy should avoid this pose.

Getting into the Pose

Meera Watts
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes, and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa, and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali), and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).

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