How to perform Chair Pose
Plant your feet firmly into the floor and sit your buttocks back as if sitting into a chair. Keep your knees pointing forward. Make sure your back stays straight as you open up your chest and lift your arms up over your head.
What is Utkatasana?
Also known as Chair Pose or Fierce Pose, this is arguably one of the best postures for strengthening the glutes and leg muscles.
Press evenly through the four corners of your feet and sit your buttocks back as if you’re sitting into a chair. As you do this, you will immediately feel the muscles in your legs activate as your thighs resist gravity and your ankles and shins work extra hard to support your shifted weight. Your core muscles also get involved as they keep your upper body from collapsing forward. Focus on opening up your chest and extending through the crown of your head.
One thing to keep an eye on is that your shins, knees, and thighs stay parallel to each other and don’t cave in. This will make the practice more effective and will help you feel the benefits of this pose almost instantly.
When to use Utkatasana?
Utkatasana is a great stamina-building exercise and is also good for toning your whole body, especially the legs and abdomen.
There are various ways of applying this pose. It can be performed in a sun salutation sequence as a transition between Uttanasana and Tadasana. In this case, the pose is typically only held for one or two breaths.
You can also stay in this pose for longer periods of time and/or combine it with a twist in which you take your hands to prayer and hook your elbow to the opposing knee. This way you’ll be able to work on building resilience in your leg muscles and on preparing yourself for more strenuous standing or leg-balancing postures. Incorporating a twist will allow you to work on developing multiple parts of the body simultaneously (not just the legs but also the spinal and abdominal muscles) and will improve your sense of balance and concentration as you focus on keeping your legs and hips aligned despite the shift in your body.