Chair Pose is an important foundational yoga pose that strengthens and tones your lower body and more. Here are a few tips for beginners…
Yoga newbies sometimes think of Chair Pose (Utkatasana) as “the torture pose,” but love it or hate it, there is no doubt that Chair Pose offers some unique benefits.
Not only does this pose build strength in the important large muscles of the lower body, it also strengthens the back and shoulders, straightens the spine, improves posture, stimulates the abdominal organs and the heart, and provides a great chest and shoulder stretch.
Just about anyone can benefit from this beginner-level pose, but if you suffer from frequent headaches or low blood pressure, you may wish to avoid this one.
If you have trouble staying in the pose, practice near a wall until you get comfortable. Stand with your back a few inches from the wall, so that when you move into the pose, your tailbone just touches the wall for a bit of support.
If your knees tend to drift outwards in the pose, you may wish to hold a block between your thighs (this will also help build inner thigh strength).
Here are instructions for performing Chair Pose, from YogaJournal.com:
Stand in Tadasana. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Either keep the arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the palms.
Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible. The knees will project out over the feet, and the torso will lean slightly forward over the thighs until the front torso forms approximately a right angle with the tops of the thighs. Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the heads of the thigh bones down toward the heels.
Firm your shoulder blades against the back. Take your tailbone down toward the floor and in toward your pubis to keep the lower back long.
Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of this pose straighten your knees with an inhalation, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to your sides into Tadasana.