Chair Pose / Powerful Pose – Utkatasana


How to get into chair pose – step by step

  1. From Mountain pose / Tadasana
  2. Exhale as you bend your knees and move your hips back as if you were sitting down on a chair. Draw your lower abdomen in and up to support your lower back
  3. Send your hips back rather than your knees forward, so that you can still see your toes
  4. Inhale as you raise your arms up around your ears and soften your shoulders
  5. Keep reaching higher, while sitting lower for 5 to 10 breaths
  6. To come back into in Tadasana, exhale, as you press your feet down to straighten your legs and then bring your arms down to your sides.

Tips for beginners

  • Think about squeezing your legs together as if they are one to make them stronger. You can use a block or rolled up towel to practice this – imagine you are squeezing it and also trying to shoot it out behind you as you internally rotate the thighs
  • However, you can also bring your feet wider apart to make your base a little more stable if you need to
  • Press firmly through the feet to create more lift in the upper body. Keep the weight evenly distributed between the heels and the balls of the feet
  • Practice the action in the legs first with your hands on your hips or the back of a (stable) chair for support.

Benefits of the chair pose / powerful pose

  • Strengthens and stabilises the legs, ankles and feet
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles and lower back
  • Opens and stretches the chest and shoulders
  • Improves confidence and focus
  • Utkatasana is a great pose in which to practise Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha which will create lightness and also tone the pelvic floor muscles and lower abdomen.

Pay attention to:

  • Protect your knees: Double check that they don’t come forward over the line of the toes. You should be able to see the toes.
  • If you have discomfort in your shoulders or neck, bring your arms wider apart and/or lower. They can be pointing straight out in front of you or down to the floor. Alternatively you could bend the elbows and point the fingertips upwards.
  • Make sure your lower belly is drawn back to the spine to protect your lower back. Try not to overarch the lumbar spine.

Text by: Esther Ekhart, Ekhart Yoga
Photography: Studio Zelden

Our model Tanisha is wearing our Shaktified Urban Roots in Off Black.