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Yoga Pose of the Day: Powerful Chair or Hunkering Pose (Utkat Asana)

Getting into Utkat Asana, to fire up the legs before a Grueling Half Marathon in New York City. Photo : Sheril

Today Yoga pose of the day is Utkat Asana – which is variously described as the Chair pose, Hunkering pose or the Powerful pose. There are two variations of the pose described – the first one being the classical description dating to the ancient text Gheranda Samhita which lists Utakat Asana as one of the 32 importnat poses. This variation called the Hunkering Pose requires one to as described by James Hewitt, author of the “Complete Yoga Book” (it is indeed very comprehensive) to “stand upright, rise on the toes and then hunker down, sitting on the heels, which are raised.” One should stay in this pose for 15 seconds and the pose is described as a preparatory pose for other cleansing yogic rituals.

The more familiar form of the pose (and as demonstrated by fellow yoga practitioner, Sheril) as expounded by BKS Iyengar, begins with standing upright but then you pull your sit bones down till the thighs are parallel to the floor. But the key is that you have to keep your chest lifted and the arms stretching outwards and towards the back (as if someone was holding them from the back) and making sure that the knees point back towards the heel as much with out lifting the toes. And you come up back to standing by contracting the Gluteus muscles and NOT by pushing and extending your knees.

Benefits of Utkat Asana:
1. Tones the thigh muscles
2. Keeps the knee joint strong

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3 Comments

  • Connie C. Khan

    1

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  • Sevenler

    2

    Yoga can definitely help you become more aware of your body's movement. Iyengar yoga is a type of yoga invented by yogi B.K.S Iyengar that uses a lot of props (blocks, straps, etc. The use of each prop will be explained in the class). It focuses on alignment through a series of asanas , which are yoga poses or postures.You will probably see a variety of people in your class: some younger, some older, some experienced yogis, and some beginners. Flexibility is not a major concern. Yoga can make you more flexible over time, but it's more important to focus on stability within the pose than pushing yourself to be flexible. Wear comfortable workout clothing, bring a yoga mat and towel, drink lots of water beforehand and make sure to bring a bottle of water for during the class. If you're nervous, introduce yourself to the instruction before class starts and mention that this is your first yoga class. I hope this helps answer some of your questions. Enjoy the class!

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