Monday, August 24, 2009

My Pose For The Month - Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

I have chosen Chair pose or Utkatasana to be my pose for the month of August. Chair pose strengthens the lower and upper back, abdominals, thighs buttock, calves and ankles and also help to increase the range of motion of the hip, knee and ankle. It stretches the shoulders and opens the chest. It also improves endurance and balance, helps poor posture and is beneficial for the heart and diaphragm.

1. Begin by standing in Mountain pose (Tadasana): Arms at your sides, sternum lifted.

2. Bend your knees deeply, shift your weight back into your heels (tip: lift your toes if that helps), and squeeze your inner thighs together.

3. Straighten your arms and raise them overhead, reaching your fingers up and bringing your palms together or keeping them shoulder-width apart if that's more comfortable for your shoulders.

4. Lengthen all four sides of your torso evenly, then accentuate the lift in your arms and chest by bringing your upper spine into a slight backbend.

5. Lift your hip bones away from your thighs as you let your sit bones drop closer to the floor with each exhale, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the floor. Stay here for at least 10 breaths.

Some points to note:

1. Tuck your tailbone in to prevent your lower back from arching. Your knees should not go past the toes and are hip width apart.

2. Your heels should remain on the floor. At any point of time, you should be able to see toes.

3. Keeping your hands on your thighs will relieve the strain in the lower back.

4. Beginners or people with tightness in the shoulders may need to keep the arms apart. When the palms can comfortably touch, bring them together and keep the shoulders relaxed.

5. Be careful with this pose if you have hip or knee problems.

Practising this pose dynamically, moving in time with your breathing from standing to the "chair" half squat and back, will help to build your strength and stamina. Holding the pose is even more demanding, it requires considerable strength in your thighs and back to stay in the pose without sinking downward.

The video below shows How To Do The Chair Pose.

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