YogaAndBackCare - Utkatasana


Utkatasana .. utkata.. the wild .. the gigantic.. the out of the ordinary .. so this is a pose that does something out of the ordinary for you! Some people refer to it as the chair pose.It tones your legs ( upper and lower) and your ankles. The variations will also improve your balance and the very last one will work on improving flat feet.

Flat feet may not seem a problem but if any of you run, you will have discovered that flat feet can cause knock on problems into your lower leg and your knee if you are not very careful with your running shoe. So there is a lot to be said for improving the arch in your foot's instep.

There are several variations.

Iyengar teaches one where the arms are held up above the head. He also doesn't go down as deeply, this version catches the shins and the ankles.

Start by standing in Tadasana.

On an out breath lift up your arms so they are straight up and close to your eyes. At the same time bend your knees forward as far as you can.

Concentrate on keeping your back into neutral spine shape.

The arms need to be further back ideally and straighter than in this Utkatasana

I learnt the following variation from a book on yoga by Bikram who went on to develop Hot Yoga.

The first step is to stand in Tadasana and then lower yourself down as if you are going to sit on a chair. Bring your arms up parallel to the floor.

Now the hard bit, try and get your back straight as if you are leaning it against the back of that imaginary chair.

If you need to, you can take your legs further apart but make sure the feet are parallel to each other and that the knees do not go over the toes.

I always loved the imagery in Bikram's book. He tells you to imagine you are balancing a budgerigar's cage on your thighs. My poor budgie would have fallen off every time I've practised this, has your cage stayed in place?

The higher the foot is held the harder the pose becomes, however it strengthens the arch in the instep of the foot

The last stage of the sequence of three poses under a heading of Utkatasana demonstrated in Cardiff

We'll be adding to this posture next. More to come :- )

This balance seems easy. Try to lift the foot up higher

This balance for a student with flat feet is very demanding