Utkatasana or Chair Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

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”

Introduction

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 lift the diaphragm up, giving a gentle massage to the heart.

According to various research based on Hatha Yoga indicates that Hatha Yoga is an ancient practice that has been found to promote overall well-being. Yoga postures seem to help people feel better when they’re suffering from stress and anxiety. Because it helps them release tension throughout their body and helps to stretch and activate various muscles at the same time.

Muscle Focus

Deep Squat Pose focuses on several muscles such as

  • Quadricep
  • Back muscles
  • Core
  • Hamstring
  • Glutes
  • Calf muscles

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Mobilizes Hip Joint.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Improves reproductive system.

Benefits of Utkatasana or Chair Pose

1. Strengthens Quadriceps Muscles

Utkatasana requires you to stretch your quadriceps muscles. These are the large muscles in the front of your thighs that are responsible for extending your knees.

2. Strengthens Back Muscles

The position of Utkatasana also strengthens the erector spinae muscle group, which runs along either side of your spine. This muscle is responsible for keeping your spine straight and erect.

3. Stretches Shoulders

The arms are stretched up in Utkatasana, which opens up the chest and stretches the shoulder muscles.

4. Massages Heart

As the spine is lengthened in Utkatasana, it also lifts the diaphragm upwards. This gives a gentle massage to the heart.

5. Activates Muscles that Support the Arch of the Foot

The arches of your feet are activated and strengthened when you practice Utkatasana. This is because it activates the muscles that support the arch of your feet.

6. Improves Blood Circulation to the Knees

The position of Utkatasana also improves blood circulation to the knees. This is beneficial as it helps to keep the knee joints healthy and functioning properly.

7. Generates Heat in the Body

Utkatasana is a standing pose, which means that it generates heat in the body. This is beneficial as it helps to improve circulation and metabolism.

8. Burns Calories

As Utkatasana is a strenuous pose, it also helps to burn calories stored in the body. This means it can help with weight loss.

9. It Grounds Mind and Body

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

Variations

  • Parivrtta Utkatasana  (Revolved Chair Pose)

Preparatory Pose

  • Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
  • Agnistambhasana (Double Pigeon Pose)
  • Malasana (Deep Squat Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you are a beginner, it is best to start with your feet hip-width apart and then move them closer together as you get more comfortable with the pose.
  • If you have any knee problems, it is best to practice Utkatasana with your back against a wall. This will support your knees and help you to avoid any pain.
  • If keeping your thighs parallel to the floor is not suitable for you, then you may adjust your hip level according to your suitability.

How to do Deep Squat Pose

  • Stand with legs hip-distance apart and parallel to each other.
  • Bend your knees and lower your hips so that they are in line with your knees. Your thigh should be parallel to the floor.
  • Keep your spine straight as you raise your arms up above your head.
  • Hold the pose for a few seconds and then release.

Mental Benefits of Deep Squat Pose

  • Focuses the mind
  • Calms the mind
  • Removes distractions

Bottom Line

Utkatasana or Chair Pose is an excellent pose to strengthen the legs, back muscles, and 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 lift the diaphragm up, giving a gentle massage to the heart. As Utkatasana is a strenuous pose, it also helps to burn calories stored in the body. So, if you are looking for a pose that will help to strengthen and tone your whole body, Utkatasana is a great option.

1 sources
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4475706/
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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