skip to main content

Yoga Pose of the Month: Chair Pose

Every month, our resident Yoga Bear takes us step by step through a pose. Today we're looking at the benefits of Chair Pose.
Every month, our resident Yoga Bear takes us step by step through a pose. Today we're looking at the benefits of Chair Pose.

Trying to listen to alignment cues in a yoga class and understanding the right positioning can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re a complete beginner and simply trying to just keep up! That’s why every month I will break down a pose, show you how to get into it safely, highlight its benefits and offer one or two top tips.

Continuing our series of standing poses, let’s take a look at Chair Pose, also referred to as Utkatasana in Sanskrit.


Establishing the Foundation of the Pose

Mountain Pose

  • To begin, you can stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and establish a firm foundation.
  • Also known as a drishti, find an unmoving point to focus on with your eyes and soften your gaze.
  • As you inhale, raise your arms above your head, palms facing each other, bringing your upper arms in line with your ears.

Moving into the Pose

  • As you exhale, bend your knees and begin to move as though sitting back into an invisible chair
  • Aiming to bring the thighs parallel towards the floor, try to bring the knees back over the ankles
  • The torso naturally begins to lean forward over the thighs in this position
  • Picture the shape of a lightning bolt and work towards that shape

Maintaining the Pose

Chair Pose

  • Bring weight into the heels
  • Try to keep the knees in line with each other with the inner thighs parallel and strong
  • Aim to keep the upper arms in line with the ears
  • Lengthen the tailbone down towards the floor 
  • Relax the shoulders down, away from the ears and firm the shoulder blades against the back
  • Stay here for a couple of breaths


Completing the Pose 

  • On the inhalation, press into the feet to straighten the knees and lift up through the arms
  • As you exhale, release the arms by your sides and return to Tadasana.

Benefits of the Pose

  • Improves sense of balance
  • Strengthens the ankles, calves, thighs and spine
  • Stretches the shoulders and the chest
  • Calms the mind

Note
This can be a challenging pose if you have tight shoulders.  A nice modification is to widen the arms and free up the space in the shoulders.  In the beginning, it also helps to squeeze a block between the thighs to increase strength and improve alignment.

tester