Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pose of the Month: Utkatasana

By Rebecca Merritt

This March, explore your inner power with Utkatasana.  Many of you will recognize this as “chair pose” or even “awkward chair pose” because of the shape the yogi makes while practicing it.  However, Utkata translates to powerful or fierce in Sanskrit, so let’s experiment and approach the pose with this gaze. 

Instead of sitting back into the tiny imaginary chair behind you, root down into the feet, feel the power of the pelvis, and open the heart as you lengthen the spine.  Let Utkatasana be an expression of energy and strength, share your unique fierceness.  Who knows, maybe your March will be a little bolder for it.
*Bonus pose:  if you are ready to start some spring cleaning in those organs, you can take Parivritta Utkatasana or Ukatasana with a twist!
How to:
1. Come to stand at the top of your mat in Tadasana. Inhale, reach the arms high by the ears, palms either facing each other or touching.

2. Exhale, bend the knees and squat to find a low seat. Thighs will come as parallel to the floor as you can get them.  Heels stay grounded.

3. Inhale as you roll the shoulder blades down the back.

4. Exhale as you sit a little lower, drawing your tailbone toward the floor and in toward your pubis as you hug in the belly to keep the lower back long.

5. Hold and breathe. To come out of this pose straighten your knees, reach through the fingertips and then exhale and release your arms to your sides into Tadasana.

*To take the twist, you will draw the palms to meet in front of the heart in prayer position, Anjali Mudra. Next twist the torso to your right and hook the left elbow or back of the arm outside the right thigh. Inhale, lengthen through the crown. Exhale, twist to the right.  Make sure you keep the thighs parallel here – perhaps drawing slightly back through the left hip. Return to center and repeat on the left side.
·         Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine
·         Stretches shoulders and chest
·         Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart
·         Reduces flat feet


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