The sanskrit name for chair pose is utkatasana, which means powerful or fierce pose. It’s not a particularly exciting-looking pose… but it definitely is hard work and that’s how it awakens our power! I consider it to be one of the most functional poses, because it brings us benefits in everyday walking, standing and sitting, so I include it in every single sun salutation round!
From mountain pose (tadasana) flex the knees and the hips as if you were going to sit down, leaning forward with your trunk just enough to counterbalance the weight of your pelvis going back. Press the feet down through the base of the big toe, little toe and the heel. Slide the sitbones back to take pressure away from knees and ankles. We don’t want to let the belly pour forwards and the lower back to come into a backbend, so engage your pelvic floor (mula bandha), pull the hip points at the front of the pelvis towards each other and the sides of the waste towards each other (uddiyana bandha). Use this core action to also lengthen between ribcage and hips. Regardless of the arm variation you use, kiss the shoulderblades together at the back to open the chest to the breath.
A quick anywhere-will-do power recharge to activate manipura chakra, which is connected to digestion and our capacity to turn energy into action: from tadasana exhale actively engaging your core strength into utkatasana. Take a breath there, using the final exhalation to gather in the core ready to press down the feet even more as you inhale to come back into tadasana. Repeat several times. I absolutely love this when I need to feel my feet on the earth and my energy ready for action!
Thanks to all my students at Yoga Hub Berlin, who inspire me with their practice.
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