Each month, we highlight one fundamental yoga pose that can help improve your overall practice and understanding. We will break down each pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer some pro tips!
The yoga pose for April is Chair Pose.
Let’s learn the basics:
Chair pose, or Utkatasana, strengthens the muscles in front and back of your thighs, strengthens hip flexors, ankles, calves, and back muscles. It tones your core muscles and increases ankle mobility and reduces symptoms of flat feet. It is said to stimulate the heart, diaphragm and abdominal organs.
Let’s get into the pose:
- Stand at the front of your mat. The feet should be parallel. You can choose whether to bring your feet to touch or to keep them hips’ distance apart. If your feet are touching, your knees will be touching in the final pose and if your feet are apart, your knees should also stay apart.
- Bend both your knees, taking your butt/hips back, as if you were reaching back for an imaginary chair. As your hips are moving back and downward, draw your straight arms with palms facing toward each other, straight up above the shoulders. Root down through your heels and keep your toes down for balance.
- Deepen your “seat” to a point where you can hold this position for several breaths. For most people, that’s going to be with the thighs at roughly a 45-degree angle to the floor, but you can go deeper. If your feet are separated, make sure that your knees stay over your ankles.
- With your butt is sticking out, draw your sit bones inward towards each other. The pelvis should be at an angle but stay aligned with the spine.
- Draw your belly button gently toward your spine to engage the core and support your lower back. If your rib cage is sticking out make sure to draw it back in.
- Keep your arms parallel to each other with the palms facing or bring the palms to touch without your shoulders creeping up towards your ears. Slide your shoulder blades down your back.
- To come out of the pose, either press through the feet to come to standing, or bed forward into a forward fold.
If you choose to keep your legs together it will feel steadier but moving them apart gives you a more stable base. Try both ways to see which one you prefer!
To deepen in chair pose, roll your shoulders back to open your chest while in your “seat.”
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