Regardless of how long you have been practicing, coming back to the basic foundations should be something you do in every practice. Specifically Chair Pose, or Utkatasana, should be a pose you return to as much as possible.
Many people skip this pose or don’t hold it for very long because it often feels tedious, and let’s face it -- it is not the most glamorous of postures! However, maintaining the practice of Chair Pose is good for you, not only because of all of its physical benefits, but because it advances your practice physically and emotionally.
Here are a few of the reasons you should work this pose into every practice:
It disciplines your body to not listen to those impatient moments we call “Monkey Mind.”
Frustrations arise in many postures for all kinds of reasons. When things are challenging, or super easy, it is simple for us to give up out of impatience or frustration. Holding onto a posture that brings this up encourages a type of meditation that serves as a stress relieving tool in many areas of our lives.
2. Warm Up
Chair creates “tapas” or fire in your body and warms you up very quickly.
Regardless of what your next posture is, you will have warmed up enough muscles to come into it a little more deeply then you otherwise would have.
It can help you transition more smoothly into other postures.
Building the kind of strength listed below helps you move smoothly from one posture to another without interrupting your breath pattern. Remember what a wonderful feeling it is when things move smoothly?
4. Physical Benefits
Chair Pose has a ton of strength-building and physical benefits, especially to these areas:
Spine: It is a marvelous relief aid for your back when you pull your core in you can support your spine fully.
Thighs: Chair Pose helps you build into more stable balancing postures by strengthening your quadriceps.
Hips: It encourages healthy hip joints by strengthening the hip flexors.
Pelvis and Inversions: It helps you learn to control your pelvic tilt for all inversions, from Downward Dog through to Handstand.
Ankle Health: Held on your toes, it strengthens your ankles and helps prevent sprains and strains.
Calf Muscles: Held on your heels it stretches the Achilles tendon down the back of your ankle, and therefore loosens up tight calf muscles for runners.
Foot Health: This pose is great for people with plantar fasciitis or arch problems. It strengthens the feet and provides a stable place to play with foot variations that may help stretch out the area.
Upper back: Depending on the arm variation you choose, it can build strength and flexibility in your upper back and shoulders.
Lower Back: Chair Pose helps to stabilize the lumbar muscles.
And probably the most important reasons to practice Chair Pose daily:
5. Assists You As You Age
Chair Pose can help you get on and off the toilet by yourself well into later life. This is no joke. That chair-like sitting action dissipates quickly as your hips and spine get tired. You won’t always be able to touch your toes, so prepare your body for the long haul!
Grab ahold of your youthful yoga body by doing Chair Pose every time you practice. There are so many good reasons to practice Chair Pose regularly, regardless of how long you have been practicing.
Why do you practice Chair Pose, even as you advance in your yoga practice? Share the benefits you've found below!