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.
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.
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.