MAN ON THE MAT with Ravi Dixit
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Utkata in Sanskrit means powerful, fierce. Utkatasana brings together the strength of the body and the strength of the mind, creating unity and harmony.
- Strengthens leg muscles, knees, ankles and spine.
- Stretches the chest and shoulders.
- Stimulates the abdominal organs and diaphragm.
- Increases the heart rate, stimulating blood circulation.
- Builds stamina and endurance, and helps regulate the nervous system.
- Putting too much weight on the toes. It’s important to keep the weight in the heels or you may feel like you’re tipping forward. Try lifting the toes off the ground, this will help distribute the weight correctly and help improve balance.
- Tension in the shoulders and crunching them up toward the ears. Relax the shoulders down and away from the ears, elongate the neck and feel the stretch in the shoulders.
- Sticking out the buttocks too much. Keep a straight line between your spine and your buttocks rather than arching or rounding the back. Engage the abdominal muscles, drawing your navel inward.
- If keeping your balance is challenging, practice the action of the legs first with your hands on your hips or the back of a chair for support.
- To help with concentration and balance, keep your gaze to a steady point on the floor a few feet away, while keeping the head and neck in line with the rest of the spine.
- If your knees tend to fall open, try holding a block between the thighs. This will ensure correct alignment and protects the knees.
- This asana requires full body awareness, mental strength, and commitment.
- When you first start practicing Utkatasana, you may only be able to hold it for a short time.
- Once you feel more comfortable in this pose, try to hold it a few seconds longer every time you practice.
- Focus on your inner power and breathe deeply but calmly.
Ravi Dixit is an Indian yoga teacher living in London, passionate about making traditional yoga understandable for everyone. Visit: ravi.yoga or connect on Instagram @raviyoga_goa
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.