Fine Tuning Makes Chair Pose Less Strenuous
A common pose in both beginner and more advanced yoga practices, “utkatasana” or chair pose activates both the thighs and the core. Entering the pose is relatively simple: begin in standing with the arms raised over the head and then “sit back” into an imaginary chair. At first, this pose can seem quite physical given the strength required by the thighs, but as you fine tune the movement and begin to sink deeper into the pose, it becomes less strenuous.
Start the fine-tuning process by focusing in on your feet. The majority of your weight should be in the heels; you can even try lifting your toes to help ensure that your weight is dispersed properly. Activate the muscles through the lower legs before concentrating on your thighs. They should be sinking down, but not so far that you begin to lean forward. As you progress in utkatasana, your thighs will be parallel to the ground and your torso will create a right angle at the hips, but it’s OK if you’re not to either point just yet!
When concentrating on the upper body, be sure that you activate your core. Lifting up through the core also helps relieve the stress on the thighs. Next, think about your back; the tailbone should be tucked to ensure lower-back health, and the spine should be lifting toward the sky. Finally, don’t create unnecessary tension in the shoulders; move the shoulder blades down the back into a relatively relaxed position. Beginners attempting this pose may find it useful to start by practicing it against a wall.