Chair Pose Revolved Chair Pose – Akasha
Chair Pose or Utkatasana is a standing posture that tones numerous muscles throughout the body. Chair Pose is commonly recognized as a transition posture from Yoga’s Sun Salutations B series. However, Chair Pose is a posture in its own right. Chair Pose builds tremendous heat in the body and quickly! While it is a challenge on the leg muscles to hold Chair Pose through 5 slow deep breaths, practitioners soon become aware that the back muscles are activated in extension, the shoulders engaged, and abdominal muscles are compressed. Chair pose builds strength and endurance.
How to practice Chair Pose
Stand in Mountain Pose, feet together with hands at your side. On the exhalation bring the hands into prayer (Anjali mudra). Be familiar with hands in prayer for a few breaths, as the hands revisit prayer position again when practicing Revolved Chair Pose; only there will be a force of power present to press the hands together.
On an exhalation, slowly bend the knees as if you were going to sit on a chair until thighs are almost parallel with the floor. The chest comes close to the knees as the fingertips graze the side of the knees or calves. Knees stay together, they do no splay out. Inhaling lift the torso and extend the arms up, fingers spread. The elbows can be bent. Pull the shoulders down, away from the ears while powering the arms to extend up, tuck the tailbone under. The back is in slight extension, be mindful to keep the front ribs in; the feet grip the earth on all for corners of each foot. Look at the space in front of the eyebrows. The abdominal muscles are toned in Chair Pose while the tailbone tucked down and the front ribs stay down. A lifting force below the navel rises to the sternum of the chest. Hold the pose and feel the heart rate rise as well as the heat building in the body. Control the breath, take slow deep breaths, the body may shake and quiver. If breathing is jagged or irregular come out of the pose and try again. Begin with holding the pose 2-3 breaths and work up to 5-10. Be patient. To break the pose, exhale and sweep the arms down to your sides, inhale and straighten the legs, returning to Mountain Pose.
Revolved Chair Pose
After Chair Pose has been repeated a few times try Revolved Chair Pose. Begin in Chair Pose but bring the hands together, bend the elbows and lower the arms with hands together; twist to one side. The oblique muscles on the side of the torso closest to the mat contracts strongly. While rotating you will force out a deep exhalation and “wring out” any stagnant fluids and matter in the organs. The elbow closest to the mat is placed in front of the thigh by the knee and is used as leverage to twist more deeply into Revolved Chair Pose. The hips, knees and feet continue to face straight forward. Breathing will require more control, however the effort to slow the breath will open the back ribs, mobilize the upper back and improve vascular circulation to a very complex blood system feeding the spine. To Break the pose lift the torso and rotate center, inhale straighten the legs, separate the hands to rest at your side, stand in Mountain Pose. Take a few breaths in Mountain Pose, feel the new freedom in the rib cage and spine. The legs, hip and arms are energized and any tension in the abdomen is released. Rest in Corpse Pose if fatigued.
Benefits of Chair Pose & Revolved Chair Pose
Strengthens the thighs, calves ankles, feet and buttocks
Strengthens the back and improves spinal mobility
Strengthens the shoulder muscles
Oblique muscles and core abdominal muscles are tones
Improves neck mobility
Opens and strengthens the chest.
Massages the internal organs and improves bowel function
Reduces flat footedness with consistent practice
Activates the nervous system to send power to the entire body
Stimulates metabolism and heart rate
Precautions & Tips
Revolved Chair Pose in Sanskrit is Utkatasana meaning “fierce” or “powerful pose” it is a pose to be avoided by those with herniate or prolapsed vertebral discs, migraines or low blood pressure. Those with recent neck injuries, frozen shoulder or sciatica should not practice Chair pose until issues are resolved.
To increase the challenge in Chair pose, extend the back slightly and look up. If suffering with back stiffness, simply look forward; this helps minimize extension on the back.
Beginners can stand with feet hip distance apart to make the pose more comfortable. When the breath is regular and becomes more relaxed in the pose for 3-5 breaths, go ahead, step the feet together, big toe mounds touching and move into Chair Pose then revolved Chair Pose on each side.
To practice upper body alignment in preparation for Chair and Revolved Chair Pose sit on a chair and perform the upper portion of movements. Even without the involvement of the legs there are many of the same benefits to these exercises.
During pregnancy practice Chair Pose with feet apart and avoid Revolved Chair Pose until after birth.
Other poses to practice after Chair Pose. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana) is a good posture to stretch the front thighs and front shoulders and open the front body. Bow pose can be practiced lying on each side as well. Uttanasana or Intense Forward bend Pose is great for stretching the hamstrings and back while resting the neck and shoulders.
May beings be at peace and prosper, namaste.