A powerful pose, Utkatasana goes a long way in correcting modern posture imbalances, the natural consequence of slouching for hours at our desks. Adopt it this International Day of Yoga to not only does it increase balance and stability, strengthen the lower back, and fortify the ankles, but it also teaches you to squat on an imaginary chair!

While fairly basic, the Chair Pose (as it’s commonly called) can be quite challenging as well, especially for those of us who neglect our lower backs. Moreover, it is a killer routine for the thighs and glutes, a great way to stretch your calves, while its ankle-strengthening properties make it ideal for injury-prone runners.

Step-by-step:

  • Begin by standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Inhale on a count of two and raise your arms above your head perpendicular to the floor.
  • Exhale and bend your knees. Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor as much as possible, while also keeping your inner thighs parallel to each other.
  • Firm your shoulder blades against the back. To engage better in the pose, imagine reading a newspaper as you hold the pose.
  • Keep your lower back straight and lower your tailbone down towards the floor.
  • Stay in the pose for 15 to 30 seconds and before slowly rising back to Tadasana.

The deeper you squat, the more adept your body will be at resisting gravity. Your quadriceps works overtime in this pose, which calls for a lot of strength not just from your lower body but from your arms and shoulders and core muscles as well. Those who face knee aches will find this asana beneficial in particular as regular practice fortifies the muscles in the surrounding areas of the knees.

Pro-tips:

– Beginners might find Utkatasana easier with some wall support. Stand with your back a few inches away from the wall. Adjust your position so that when you bend into the position, your tailbone just touches and is supported by the wall.

– If you find it difficult to keep your heels rooted firmly to the ground, fold your mat a little until you can get your entire foot to touch the ground.

– You can strengthen your thighs further by squeezing a thick book or block between them while performing the pose.

– Avoid this pose if you’re currently suffering from low blood pressure or any kind of headache.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens your spine, calves, thighs and ankles
  • Engages the heart, diaphragm, and abdominal organs
  • Helps burn fat, especially in your glutes and thighs
  • Helpful alleviate arthritic and joint pain
  • Improves functioning of the immune system

 

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