What are the Benefits of Utkatasana ?

by Sreeparna Ganguly
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What is it? The name ‘ Utkatasana ‘ sources from two Sanskrit words ‘utkata’ and ‘asana’. Utkata is synonymous to haughty and asana means pose. Though the pose is of beginner level but holding it for the required time can be a challenge to many. Perhaps it is one of the reasons behind this such a name. This pose looks like a chair or throne so in English it is referred to as the Chair Pose. It is also named as Fierce pose or Awkward pose.

Utkatasana is quite simple yet it is powerful and effective for strengthening arms, torso and legs. That is the reason it is a very popular asana in modern vinyasa yoga practices. Ardha-utkatasana or half-chair pose is a variety of this pose.

 Utkatasana Steps

To perform this pose correctly several steps are to be followed.

Step-1. Stand straight with a few inches of gap between the feet. The gap between the feet should be slightly more than the width of the waist ideally.

Step-2. Take a deep breath and lift both arms up. The arms should be straight and in line with the upper body.

Step-3. Breathe out while bending the knees keeping the upper body vertical to the floor.

Step-4. Keep the thighs parallel to the floor.

Step-5. Hold the pose for 20-30 seconds as per your fitness level and health of the knee joints.

Step-6. To release, first bring back the knees to the original position and then lower the arms to come back to the initial standing pose.

Utkatasana Benefits

Image Credit: Stylecraze

Since this pose builds pressure on the knee and ankle, reps should not be done one after another. Between every two reps do some floor poses.

Utkatasana Benefits :
  1. Relieves back pain that results from sitting in one posture for a long time
  2. Strengthens thigh and shin muscles: Those who are looking for cellulite-free toned legs would love Utkatasana as it tones thigh and lower leg muscles.
  3. Corrects upper body posture: We often find ourselves sitting in stooping posture. This is harmful to the spine and causes back pain. Regular practice of Utkatasana helps in posture correction.
  4. Strengthens heart, diaphragm, and abdominal organs
  5. Tones shoulder and upper arm muscles: Though this asana is not a hardcore arm toning exercise, it is a good warmup for the strength training.
  6. Cures flat feet: Flat feet is often the cause of leg joint pain. Those who are looking for a natural remedy for flat feet may find it very useful.
  7. Increases strength of knee and ankle joints
  8. Creates a good balance between body and mind
  9. Relieves stress and increases mental strength
Best Time to Practice Utkatasana:

Utkatasana needs both upper and lower body strength. Plus, it builds tension over several muscles. So, it might result in higher attentiveness and lack of sleep. It is not a good pose to try just before bed or as the first pose in the morning. Always do a little warmup before practicing Utkatasana.

Modifications For Beginners:

It might not be possible for an absolute beginner to hold the chair pose for 20-30 seconds. In this case, either of the two ways needs to be followed. Firstly, perform the pose touching a wall so that the upper body gets enough support to hold the back straight. Secondly, insert a yoga brick between the knees for holding the position without hurting the knee joints.

Who Should not Do Utkatasana:

1.Someone who has injuries or chronic pains in shoulder, knee, ankle or anywhere in the lower body

  1. People with blood pressure related problems

If you fall into one of these categories avoid doing this pose.

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