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The delights of a chair pose

Hello and happy February!

By Kim White

Saturday 7 February 2015, 10:00AM

This month we are looking at a very simple asana that is sneakily also very powerful. You have heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Our asana this month is a prime example! This yoga pose is known in the west as chair pose or utkatasana. Utkata means powerful or fierce in Sanskrit, so someone knew this simple yoga pose was a powerhouse from the beginning.

It looks deceptively easy and straightforward; yet, when you try it, you’ll find it demands a great deal of flexibility in the shoulders as well as stability in the core and strength in the legs.

Lets get back to this idea of not judging a book by its cover for a second. Thailand is a land of contradictions and contrasts and in order to experience the best of life here, it is always best to keep an open mind, open heart and presumptions at the door!

You really cant judge a book by its cover!

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Who would have thought this simple little imaginary yoga chair could whip your butt back into shape but it does just that:

  • Strengthens the hip flexor muscles, the front of your thighs, the abductor muscles of your inner thighs and the gluteus muscles of your hips, lower back, pelvis.
  • Strengthens and stretches your calf muscles.
  • Improves the range of motion in your ankles.
  • Increases proprioception (or the sense of position in space) in your feet.
  • Reduces flat feet.
  • Stabilises the knee joints.
  • Opens and stretches the abdomen, diaphragm and heart.
  • Stretches shoulders and chest.
  • Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine.
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart.

Follow the steps below and you will be on your way to creating your own yogi chair!

  • Stand tall and upright, inhale as you lift your arms up, palms facing each other, keep your arms next to your ears so you can see them through peripheral eye sight, keep the neck long and shoulders down the back.
  • Exhale as you bend the knees as if you’re about to sit down on a chair, bringing your thighs as close to parallel to the floor, as possible. Most weight is in the front of the heels. Keep the knees in line with the toes.
  • Your back stays straight, but it leans forward over the thighs a bit, you're looking to form a right angle between the thighs and the torso. Do not stoop forward, keep your chest as far back as possible.
  • If you are having great difficulty holding your back upright, practise this pose close to a wall, have your tail bone just slightly touch the wall as you hold the pose.
  • Pull your abdomen slightly in and up, this helps to extend the lower back.
  • Sitting bones point down.
  • Slide your shoulder blades down along your spine and firm them in to the back.
  • Hold this asana and breathe steady for 30 seconds.
  • To come out of this pose, exhale, and press into the four corners of your feet, straighten the legs, lengthening through the crown of your head to come back into upright standing.

Happy stretching!
Kim oxo



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