Monday, May 10, 2010

Yoga Pose: Chair

I recently added a new pose to my morning yoga routine. Called "Chair" or Utkatasana, this pose, according to Essential Yoga: An Illustrated Guide, works "thigh and calf muscles while strengthening the ankles and Achilles tendons." This is a challenging exercise for thighs and butt that immediately started having results for me.

The first several days that I did it, I walked around with two deep spots of pain in my ass as a result, because it was working muscles like nothing else had. Eventually that faded and instead I started noticing a wicked, lovely burning sensation in my thighs and butt when doing my usual walking around everywhere, as if I'm burning more calories or something. Anyway, I'm always excited about sculpting my marvelous bum, and this is GREAT for that.

All the online sources I can find have a much simpler, modified version than the one Essential Yoga taught me, but I like theirs best so that's what I'm going to suggest. (Also, it's a really great resource in general, so if you like yoga, you should check it out).

Here's what you do:
  • Stand with your feet directly under your hips with your arms an hands straight out in front at shoulder level. Keep your shoulders relaxed, back and down.
  • Inhale. On exhalation, slowly begin lowering your body into a squat position as though you were about to sit in an imaginary chair. Do not go beyond 90 degrees at the knees.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, with your knees over your ankles.
  • Breathe slowly as you gaze beyond your arms. Keep your neck relaxed and extended.
  • Raise your toes off the floor, rocking back on your heels. Hold for a count of 5 breaths.
  • Return to a standing position with arms remaining at shoulder level.
  • From this standing position, in hale and life your heels off the floor.
  • On exhalation, slowly begin lowering your body into a squat position.
  • Breathe deeply and hold for a count of 5 breaths.
  • Inhale and raise back up to a standing position.
  • Repeat 3 more times.

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Jules Bowen said...

I've always appreciated this pose. Does wonders for hail damage. :)

May said...

Heheh.. excellent :)