Learning the Language of Yoga: The Chair Pose #MovementMondays
Even after years of practicing yoga, I still feel a burn in my thighs when I perform chair pose – Utkatasana.
This pose is a great workout for the muscles in the arms and legs, and there are a few ways to make the pose more accessible if you find it challenging. Chair pose is also the starting pose in a traditional sun salutation B sequence. If you practice yoga regularly, you likely “sink into your chair” during class.
Getting into it:
Standing in Tadasana (mountain pose), sit back as through there was an imaginary chair behind you. Try to get your thighs parallel to the mat – it might happen someday! Stay grounded in your feet and strong in your legs. Your quads and thighs will begin to fire up by this point. When you’re ready, raise your arms up along your ears and look towards your fingers (if your neck is comfortable). Look down to make sure you can still see your toes. Try to keep the weight towards the back of your feet so that you can lift and spread your toes for more grounding.
Tips and tricks:
- Bring your hands together overhead or keep them apart if your shoulders are tight.
- Draw your tailbone down to keep your spine long and avoid an arch in your lower back.
- Explore different variations like coming onto your tip toes or twisting so that the left elbow comes outside your right thigh (or right elbow to left thigh).
- Try this pose against a wall first if you find it tricky to hold
- Tones your thighs, calve and most leg muscles.
- Strengthens your ankles, lower back and torso.
- Stimulates your abdominal organs, diaphragm and circulation.
- Helps improve your stamina and determination.
I really enjoy teaching different variations of this pose. Sometimes I ask the class to come on to their toes, take a twist, sway or even balance on one leg. I think that keeping the sequencing fresh can make a challenging pose seem more interesting.
Natalie Anthony, BA, RYT-200 Yoga Instructor
After a serious accident, Natalie was revived by discovering the physical and emotional benefits of yoga. Her yoga journey began as a client at Balance, and evolved into a passion for teaching the practice to others. Natalie is registered with the International Yoga Alliance as an instructor. Her creative sequencing inspires students to develop strength, flexibility and joy – both on and off the mat. Natalie instructs group classes and facilitates private one-on-one Yoga sessions at Balance, a Toronto boutique fitness and wellness centre. balancefit.com