by Anthony DiTomaso
“Chair,” also known as “Utkatasana,” is a posture that helps to strengthen the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and shoulders. Chair pose is often used as a transitional pose in vinyasa that leads to other postures.
Moving into the pose
- Starting from a standing position (Tadasana) with your feet together.
- Inhale as you stretch your hands above your head toward the ceiling, keeping your spine straight and chin even.
- Exhale as you bend at your knees and squat into a seated position.
- Bring your gaze to your hands above your head.
Scan your body from head to toe
Both feet are together, flat on the ground; you should feel your body weight equally in both legs, while making sure your knees are even with each other. Back is straight and shoulders relaxed away from your ears. By keeping your knees over your feet and reaching your hands outward, you will have an easier time keeping your balance.
Breathe deeply and with control for five to 15 seconds, focusing on relaxing any tense areas; the goal being to keep your muscles firm but not strained. Ideally you want to have your back straight as though against a wall, and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Practice with a stool or chair until you are able to build the strength in your glutes and legs. To move out of the posture, straighten your legs and bring your arms to your sides.
Tip: If you are new to yoga, be sure to take it slow and not overexert yourself. Practice transitioning in and out of the postures with fluidity and control.
Anthony DiTomaso is an NCBTMB-certified massage therapist, Yoga Alliance-certified instructor, anatomy and physiology instructor, as well as professional fitness model. He is also an experienced instructor in personal training, nutrition education, energetic healing and Five Element and traditional Chinese medicine theory. DiTomaso has taught introductory massage courses and continuing education seminars for massage therapists and yogis throughout the U.S. He is the owner of Empowerment Unlimited Body Works Inc. and offers the DVD Yoga For Massage Therapists (www.yogaformassagetherapists.com).