Chair Pose, Utkatasana

By Yoga Lily 7 years ago
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Chair Pose, Utkatasana

How to do Chair Pose, Utkatasana

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Utkatasana – squatting is an intensely powerful, innate body position that reminds us of our connection to the Earth. Chair Pose works the muscles of the legs and arms and stimulates the heart and diaphragm. Strengthen your willpower by deciding in advance how many breaths you will hold in this pose–and keep to it.

Deep Fold Forward Pose, Uttanasana1. Stand in mountain pose with the feet hip width apart. Inhale, extend the arms over the head and lengthen the spine.

2. Exhale and fold forward into deep forward fold, bringing the chest towards the thighs and the hands to or near the floor.

3. Press down into the soles of the feet and lift the arms and chest forward, away from the thighs. Keep lifting the chest, extending through the fingers until the arms, like the thighs, are parallel to the floor. Gaze straight ahead. Continue to breathe smoothly and evenly for four breaths. Lift the sitting bones up toward the ceiling (giving your pelvis an anterior tilt) as you press down into the heels of the feet. You will feel the thighs working hard.

4. Exhale and bring arms overhead and the spine to a more vertical position. Now tilt the pelvis the opposite way–tuck the tailbone under so it feels as if the lower back flattens out. Draw the lower abdominal area in toward the spine.

Chair Pose, Utkatasana: Yoga Poses for strength

5. Lift your upper body out of your hips. Move the back, chest and arms more to vertical even as you sit down deeply. Move your body weight back slightly so that the knees are not too far forward of the ankles–this will further engage the powerful muscles of the upper thighs. If it doesn’t create too much tightness in the neck, press the palms together. Stay here for up to four breaths. Release as you inhale, allowing the arms to lift you back up to stand in Mountain Pose.

Gaze: Upward to infinity

Counter Poses: Deep Forward Fold, Restful Deep Forward Fold


  • Bend knees less especially if you have knee problems
  • Practice just the arm or leg action before combining them
  • Practice moving smoothly in and out of the pose before holding it for longer periods

Effect: Energising


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 Yoga Lily

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Lili has been studying and practising yoga in China & UK for 20 years, and teaching since 2007. She draws inspiration from her training within established, classical yoga systems that focus on alignment, hatha vinyasa in its gentler form, yin, yin/yang, and restorative yoga styles, pranayama and meditation; blending the roots of Chinese healing traditions into a more holistic practice. For her, practice covers not just the physical aspects of yoga but also aligning and unblocking the bodies meridian energy pathways to release Qi energy (prana) which flows through the bodies energy highway, bringing the mind, body and spirit back into balance. “I am continually humbled by my students and teachers, my aim is always to teach from the heart and from the idea that yoga is the art of living, listening and learning, to embody this deeply spiritual tradition” – Lili Chen.