Yoga is as Simple as Taking A Seat: Chair Pose
There are many yoga poses that you can practice that stimulate and benefit many parts of the body all at once. One of those poses is Chair Pose. In Sanskrit, the language of yoga, the pose is called Utkatasana (OOT-kah-TAH-sah-nah), but it does not translate to mean "chair pose." It actually means "fierce pose." But there is no need to be afraid of this yoga posture. It is quite approachable and anyone can do it. Here's how.....
Start by standing nice and tall with your feet about hip distance apart and toes pointing forward. This helps to align your legs and hips as you begin the pose. Inhale and extend your arms straight up into the air. Feel the lengthening quality down the arms and along the sides of your body. As you exhale, draw your navel inward toward your spine to engage your abdominal muscles, then sit back as if you're sitting into an imaginary chair behind you. The engaged belly supports your body as you move into the posture. As you sit back, simply bend your knees and push your hips toward the wall behind you. Your upper body will be at a 45 degree angle with your arms extending alongside your ears. Hold the posture for 5-10 breaths.
Here's what you can gain from this yoga posture:
1. Leg Strength: because you are sitting in mid-air, your leg muscles will engage to hold you in place.
2. Arm & Shoulder Mobility: With your arms extending upward, you will experience greater mobility and range of motion through your arms and shoulders.
3. Side Body Stretch: Another advantage to extending your arms in the air is to feel a lengthening and stretch quality down the sides of your body to help gain more flexibility.
4. Core Strength: With your abdominal muscles engaged in this posture, not only will it hold you in place, but you'll be gaining core strength.
5. Balance: This posture is essentially a balancing yoga pose. With your hips sitting back, your arms extending forward, and your core muscles engaged, you will be balancing your body in this chair-like pose. To challenge the balance a bit, feel free to shift the weight of your body into your heels and lift your toes.
6. Focus: Along with balance comes the practice of focus when you're in this posture. Direct your eyes forward as you hold the posture and take your deep breaths. When you hold yoga postures like this, it helps you be more focused on the inner workings of your body.
Although the posture is called "fierce pose," it doesn't have to be too challenging. You can modify the posture (as with any yoga pose) to fit your body and yoga level. If it feels like you might lose your balance and fall out of this pose while sitting back, try bending your knees less. Also, there is no need to sit back too far; only move into a range that suits you the best. Another thing to be aware of is your knees. To protect your knee joints, make sure that your knees stay aligned with your ankle bones or heels rather that stacked over your toes. This will reduce any pressure to the knee joints.
Practicing a yoga pose like this one is multifaceted. That is, one single pose can have a direct and positive effect on multiple parts of the body. Try this posture to experience those benefits, and attempt some other yoga postures to continue your self-development and growth.