HOW TO: Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Yoga Chair Pose to strengthen and tone the legs, core, and glutes

Chair Pose is one of those poses that is harder than it looks.  This is a strong, powerful pose that challenges the body and mind and will seriously work the legs and core.  If you don’t believe me, start by holding the pose for 1 minute and let me know how it feels on your legs. If that’s easy, hold it for another minute and then another.  Eventually you will start to feel the shaking in your leg muscles.  Chair Pose will give you the benefits of squats, without the constant up and down motion that can be hard on your knee joints.  I love this pose and have noticed some serious toning in my quads, hamstrings, and glutes since beginning to regularly practice it.  If you feel as if you have mastered the pose, there is always room to continue to challenge yourself; lift your chest higher, bend the knees deeper, and/or lift the toes completely off the mat. Remember with this pose and any yoga pose that it is not only a physical challenge, but also a mental challenge, and often it is more mental than physical.  Your body is capable of this pose, but you need to believe that in order to give yourself the ability to maintain the pose for an extended period of time.

Begin in Mountain Pose with your feet hip distance apart.

Lift your arms up overhead with your palms facing each other

Bend your knees like you are sitting back in an imaginary chair.

Allow your upper body to lean forward slightly as your hips reach back.

Draw your navel in towards your spine to keep your low back from arching.

Look forward or up between your hands.

Press your weight into the backs of your feet so that if you were to lift your toes off of the mat you would still maintain balance.

Strengthens the ankles, calves, knees, feet, hamstrings, quads, and glutes.

Tones and strengthens the core muscles, arms, and shoulders

Improves balance and focus

Stretches the arms and shoulders.

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