How to Do Chair Pose in Yoga (Guide to Utkatasana)

Chair Pose is popular in many yoga classes as a challenging pose to activate your core and strengthen your glutes.

But in reality, this pose is so much more.

Chair Pose provides us with a chance to access our determination and build willpower, two vital qualities when we face any challenges in our daily lives.

“Chair Pose is an opportunity to challenge yourself and experience the gift of discovering your edge and settling into it with awareness and acceptance,” says Yoga Answered contributor Isabella Koepf. “This pose requires great strength, but it also requires access to peace of mind and inner centering, teaching us how to persevere in the face of difficulties and find our inner ferocity.”

Chair Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Utkatasana
Pose Type: Core Yoga Poses, Standing Yoga Poses, Strengthening Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: abdomen, thighs, ankles, hips, pelvis, glutes, shoulders, chest, and spine
Benefits: Strengthens the thighs, calves, and ankles, opens the chest and shoulders, stabilizes the knees, increases circulation, builds endurance and stamina, improves lung capacity, builds balance and inner strength, enhances cardiovascular health
Preparatory Poses: Mountain Pose, Eagle Pose, Standing Forward Bend Pose, Upward Salute Pose, Cobra Pose

How to Do Chair Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Begin by standing in Mountain Pose with either your big toes touching or keeping your feet in line with your hips, depending on which is more comfortable for you.
  2. Ground into the four corners of your feet, creating a solid foundation in your body.
  3. With an inhale, raise your arms above your head with your palms facing each other and bring your upper arms slightly in front of your ears.
  4. With an exhale, bend your knees to bring your thighs closer to the floor. If you can, you can try to bring your thighs parallel to the floor but avoid going deeper and losing stability.
  5. Lean your upper body slightly forward over your thighs to create an approximate right-angle shape with your upper and lower body.
  6. Activate your thighs and rotate them inwards, using the stability in your legs and the strength in your core to hold this pose.
  7. Make sure not to jut your tailbone outwards and try to gently tuck your tailbone in to lengthen your lower back.
  8. Gaze a few feet ahead of your feet, keeping your neck straight and lengthened.
  9. To exit the pose, slowly straighten your knees and release your arms by your sides to return to Mountain Pose.

Beginner’s Tip

If you feel imbalanced in this pose, try to keep your feet in line with your hips. You can also try placing a block between your thighs to engage your inner thighs and build more stability in your legs.

Keep your spine straight and long in this pose and avoid collapsing in your chest. To broaden your shoulders more, you can also bring your arms down into a cactus shape by placing your upper arms in line with your shoulders and forming a ninety-degree angle in your arms with your palms facing forwards.

Yogaanswered.com is reader-supported. Buying through links on our site may earn us an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.