One-Legged Chair Pose helps to stretch and strengthen the entire lower body, reduce risk of injury, and calm the mind. Here’s how to do it…
One-Legged Chair Pose (Eka Pada Utkatasana) – also known as Standing Figure-Four Pose, Half Chair Pose, Single Leg Chair Pose, or Whooping Crane Pose – is an intermediate-level standing yoga pose that helps to stretch and strengthen the hips, legs, and thighs. It’s a hip-opener and a balance pose in one, creating strength and stability in the core, hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps muscles. This is a good pose to do regularly if you spend a lot of time sitting, which can cause tightness in the hips and hamstrings that often leads to back pain or other injuries. It is also thought to calm and clear the mind, and relieve stress.
Be careful to keep your back straight and abdominals engaged in this pose, and keep your knees behind your toes at all times.
To modify the pose, you can practice with your back against a wall, or rest your hands on the wall or the back of a chair for balance.
Those who have knee or ankle injuries, or who are pregnant, should avoid this pose.
How to Do One-Legged Chair Pose:
- Begin by coming into Chair Pose (Utkatasana). Take several breaths here with both feet grounded into the floor. Make sure your thighs are low and your weight is back in your heels.
- Bring your hands to Anjali Mudra at your heart. Feel all four corners of your left foot on the floor as you start to peel your right foot off the ground. Keep your left knee bent as you cross your right ankle over to rest on your left thigh just above your knee.
- Flex your right foot strongly. If you look down, you should see a triangle shape formed by your legs.
- Stay in this position for three to five breaths. For balance postures, it’s useful to find a place to look on the floor just in front of you.
- If you want to go further, begin to bring your chest lower until your hands (still in prayer position) rest on your right calf. If this feels OK, you can continue to forward bend until your fingers touch the floor. Keep the bend in your right leg or straighten it, depending on which feels better.
- If you have bent forward, come out the way you came in, returning to an upright position slowly.
- Release the right leg to the floor and take a few breaths in Chair Pose before doing the pose on the other leg.
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