Parivrtta Utkatasana: Revolved Chair Pose
Parivrtta Utkatasana (par-ee-vrit-tah OOT-kah-TAHS-anna), or Revolved Chair pose, lives up to the Sanskrit translation of power and ferocity. A great way to strengthen and lengthen the leg muscles, this challenging posture also lengthens and improves mobility in the spine. Practicing Parivrtta Utkatasana will give a feeling of groundedness in the lower half of the body and open spaciousness in the upper. It’s a great pose to practice before a busy or trying day.
Philosophy + Origin
Parivrtta Utkatasana is an opportunity to practice the concept of “rooting to rise.” In order to deepen the posture, you must find strength in the legs and lightness in the spine and upper body. While it’s easy to only focus on deepening the twist, the best results come from first setting up your foundation. This philosophy of building a strong foundation through rooting and grounding is helpful in life. While your goals and aspirations, even your daily to-dos, can constantly demand your attention, get strong through your roots before you try to spread your wings.
- Use a folded blanket or rolled yoga mat beneath your heels if you’re unable to keep your feet firmly planted when practicing this posture.
- Keep your spine as neutral as possible to avoid stressing the discs between the vertebrae.
- Keep your knees stay together to help stabilize your pelvis and protect your lower back.
- Keep your knees behind your toes to protect the joints.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:
- Low Blood Pressure
- Lower Back Injury
To correctly activate your inner thighs to stabilize the pelvis and lower back, practice with a block between your upper legs. Focus on squeezing the block as you twist. This also helps keep your knees together and aligned.
- Begin in Mountain pose at the top end of your mat. As you inhale, raise your arms overhead with palms facing each other. Your biceps should be at your ears. Bring your weight back into your heels and exhale as you lean back into Chair Pose, Utkatasana. Check your knees to be sure they are lining up over your ankles, not over your toes or beyond.
- Bring your hands together into a prayer position at the center of your heart. Bring your weight even further back into your heels to find more length through your spine. Keeping your spine long, imaging energy reaching out through the crown of your head. Exhale as you stretch your left elbow outside your right thigh. Push your palms together more, pressing into your top hand to create more space between your collarbones. This will also help you twist a bit deeper.
- To keep your knees even as you twist, transfer more weight into your left heel, focusing your attention on rooting the thigh bone of the left leg back into the socket. Find weight and strength in the legs for more space and ease in the spine.
- Hold the pose for several breaths before exhaling and releasing. Come back to Mountain pose and repeat on the other side.
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- Adho Mukha Svanasana
- Eka Pada Koundinyasana I
- Parivrtta Trikonasana
- Parsva Bakasana
- Parivrtta = revolved
- Utkata = powerful, fierce
- Asana = pose
- Strengthens hip flexor muscles, front of thighs, adductors and gluteus muscles
- Strengthens and stretches your calves
- Opens your chest, shoulders and upper back
- Teaches “root to rise”
- Ignites and stimulates “agni” in your belly
Reciting “Lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu” can help bring wholeness into your life. It’s a great mantra for reconciling opposites, like the rooting and rising experienced in this pose.
MUDRA: Prana Mudra
Said to activate energy by invigorating prana, the vital life force, the Prana mudra is made by bringing the ring and pinky fingers to the tip of your thumb. Allow the other two fingers to extend straight.
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