Everyday Yoga Call for Submissions: Utkatasana

Despite it being a classic Pose I Love to Hate, utkatasana — chair pose — is one I’ve found myself taking rather frequently recently. Mostly, I’ve been looking for a quickish way to heat up my glutes, hamstrings, and quads. (Verdict: This works.) Currently, I’m curious as to how different people might take and/or embody the pose differently.

Reasonably good video instructions on the basic pose:

[Esther Ekhart instructing for yogatic/Ekhart Yoga. Video via YouTube.]

Some modifications with which I’m familiar:


  • Keeping the arms extended forward, in prayer at the heart, or on the hips.
  • Keeping the hands pressing into the thighs.

The first set of options tends to be useful accommodating varying degrees of shoulder tightness (including me!). The last one works with shoulder tightness as well as people who may need to support part of their torso and/or upper body.


  • Experiment with the stance. Feet might be all the way together; they might be hip width apart.
  • If you prefer the wider stance but also like the support from the legs-pressing-together feeling, it can help to use a block. To do it, take a block just above your knees and set it to whatever width comfortably fits, get down into chair pose, and squeeze the block evenly with your thighs (i.e., don’t just pinch with your knees). This should create some resistance, which can give some more stability to the pose. If no block widths work, another option is to roll up a small blanket or towel for some softer — but more adjustable — resistance.
  • If bending deeply into the pose doesn’t work for the knees or the low back, it’s totally okay to just not sink as far down.

If anyone knows of additional modifications to share, please feel free to post them here.

As for picture contributions, the deadline for this round will be Saturday, December 15, 2012. You can leave a comment here with links to your pics, or you can email them to anytimeyoga@gmail.com. Thanks!


I'm here. I like stuff. Some other stuff, I like less.

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Posted in asana, core
2 comments on “Everyday Yoga Call for Submissions: Utkatasana
  1. I love incorporating a twist either with hands in namaste or one arm stretched towards the ceiling and the other one down by the opposite foot, and then bend the knees even more and lift up into side crow, so that not only your thighs are burning, but your arms too!:)

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