Punk Rock Yoga–Chair Pose

Chair (Utkatasana)

By Kimberlee Jensen Stedl

This pose is really named “intense pose” but we Westerners call it chair so as not to scare off our yoga students. This is a must-do pose for anyone who needs strong leg muscles, such as climbers, bicyclists, dancers, scuba divers, you name it. It strengthens all the muscles of the legs, the back and the abdominal muscles.


  • Strengthens the quadriceps and hamstrings
  • Strengthens the gluteus muscles
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles (as you draw your belly inward)
  • Strengthens your lower trapezius muscles (as you pull your shoulders down strongly)

Getting into the pose

  1. Enter from standing, feet either hip width apart or toes and heels touching.
  2. Keep your knees lining up with your second toe, and the weight mostly in your heels.
  3. Bend from the knees and the waist, sitting your hips way back, as if you were sitting down in a chair.
  4. Squeeze your inner thighs so the knees stay lined up behind the second toe.
  5. Point your tailbone down towards the floor (so the lower back does not arch).
  6. Draw your lower belly in strongly, as if your sucking your belly button through your spine.
  7. Lift your ribs away from your hips, as your hips reach down, your ribs reach up.
  8. Lift up through the chest and draw your arms either straight out in front of your or overhead. You can also keep your hands on your thighs.
  9. Drop your shoulders away from your ears, using the muscles of the lower shoulder to pull the shoulders down.

Subtle points

Ideally, in your twist, your spine stays straight, and your body revolves around a straight spine. So, if you’re at home, ask a friend to look at you and make sure that your head is in line with your tail. Usually your tail slides to one side, so have a friend check out the scene and tell you if you’re crooked. It also helps to have a friend look at your arms and make sure they are aligned.


You can also add a twist into chair, twisting your upper body as you keep the lower body straight. To add the twist, make sure your knees both point straight ahead. Reach your left hand to your right knee and your right arm around your lower back twisting as far to the right with your chest as you can (and without twisting the knees). Repeat on the left. You can also press your hands together at your heart and hook your left elbow around the outside of your right knee, provided that your heart stays above your hips.

Happy posing, Namaste



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