- Strengthens the hip flexor msucles, the front of your thighs, you adductor musclces of your inner thighs and the gluteus mesucles of your hips.
- Strengthens and stretches your calf muscles.
- Opens your chest and shoulders.
- Improves the range of motion in your ankles.
- Increases proprioception (or the sense of position in space) in your feet.
- Traditionally thought to stimulate your abdominal organs and your heart.
- Low Back Pain - Only go as deep into the pose as you can while still maintaining your natural lumbar curve. Stop before your low back flattens or pops backwards. Continue to draw in the lower belly to support your spine.
- Shoulder Injury - If you are unable to raise your arms overhead without pain, or without compensating by puffing out your lower ribs, only move within your pain free range, stopping before your ribs jut forward, and keep the arms shoulder width apart.
- Neck Pain / Dizziness - Do not look up towards the hands but simply look straight forward.
- Stiffness or Pain in the Ankles – If you are unable to keep your heels firmly rooted on the ground, fold or roll your mat a little bit at a time until you are able to ground your entire foot into the earth.
- Avoid rounding the lumbar spine to avoid stress on the discs between the vertebrae.
- Use a block between your thighs to increase the activation of your inner thigh muscles. You can place a block between your thighs close to your groin. As you move into the pose, hold the block in place with your legs.
Article written by Dr. Robin Armstrong:Dr. Robin Armstrong is a Vancouver chiropractor and yoga instructor. Robin blends her western knowledge gained from her experience as a chiropractor, with the ancient eastern knowledge passed through generations of yoga teachers. Robin’s classes emphasize safety, breath, alignment, and movement, while teaching students ways to strengthen and lengthen their bodies to handle the stresses of our modern lifestyle. If you are coming to her as a patient, expect to be prescribed yoga! Learn more about Dr. Armstrong at www.stayactive.ca
(OOT-kah-TAHS-ana) utkata = fierce
- Come into Tadasana / Mountain pose.
- Standing with your big toes touching, your heels slightly apart, lift and spread your toes, feeling the four points of the foot rooting down - the big toe mound, the pinky toe mound, the inner heel and the outer heel. Lower your toes keeping this connection in your feet.
- Your lower belly draw in slightly to support your spine. Your shoulder blades move down your back helping keep your chest broad and open across your collar bones.
- Inhale and raise your arms overhead, with your palms facing each other.
- Keep your shoulder blades moving down your back, without any shrug or lifting. Arms should remain shoulder width apart or if you are able to bring your hands towards each other without shruggin, your palms may touch.
- Keep your arms in front of or at the same level as your ears.
- Draw your lower ribs towards your pelvis.
- Reestablish your connection with the four points of your feet, then exhale as you sit back as if your were about to sit into a chair. Keep the natural curve of your lower back, finding balance between drawing in your lower belly while sending your tailbone towards the earth.
- Lengthen out through the top of your head and turn your gaze up towards your hands or to where the ceiling meets the wall. Let your eyes guide the movement of your neck.
- Draw the inner thighs toward each other and with each breath feel the counter action of rooting down with your feet and hips as your rise up with your upper body.
- Breathe comfortably as you hold.
- To exit Chair Pose, root your feet, draw in your lower belly, and then inhale to straighten your legs.
- Exhale as your flow your hands to the side returning to Mountain Pose.