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Yoga Basics: your guide to the practice of yoga
Backbending Poses arrow Chair
utkatasana
Level of Difficutly: Beginner
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Instructions

1. In Mountain pose with the feet together or hip width apart, inhale the arms forward parallel to the floor with the palms facing down.

2. Exhale and bend the knees, squatting down. Reach the hips down and back as if you were going to sit on the edge of a chair, bringing your weight to the heels of the feet. Do not bring the hips lower than the level of the knees.  Make sure that the knees are pointing straight ahead.

3. Press the shoulders down and back trying to arch the spine. Relax the shoulders down and back and reach out through the finger tips. Stare at a point on the wall or floor in front of you for balance.

4. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.

5. To release: inhale and press down into the feet straightening the legs and inhale the arms up toward the ceiling. Exhale release the arms down.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Chair pose strongly strengthens the lower body while stretching the upper back. This posture invigorates and energizes the whole body.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, back or shoulders.

Modifications + Variations

Modifications: If the feet are hip width apart you can place a yoga block between the thighs to help keep the knees pointing forward.

Variations: A) To make this pose less challenging, place the hands on the knees.  B) To make this pose more challenging, reach the arms and gaze up to the ceiling.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Mountain, Crescent Moon.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Mountain, Standing Forward Fold, Standing Yoga Mudra, Half Forward Fold, Crescent Moon.

Other Names

This pose is also known as Awkward, Powerful, Fierce, or Standing Squat pose.