Chair Pose | Utkatasana

What’s up, everyone? Welcome to Yoga with
Adriene. I am Adriene. And welcome to the Foundations of Yoga. Today we’re going to
learn chair pose, or utkatasana, or they also call it the fierce pose. It’s a fiery pose.
We’re going to check in with the lower body, stay nice, open, and graceful in the upper
body. And learn the foundations of chair pose. So let’s hop to it. We’re going to begin today standing in mountain
pose. Go ahead and bring your feet flush together, and stand up nice and tall. Take a deep breath
in, and exhale. Drop your gaze, drop your chin to your chest, and take your eyeballs
down towards your feet. So we’re going to start at the feet here. So lifting the toes,
perhaps pressing into the ball joint of the big toe, the ball joint of the pinkie toe,
and the back two corners of the heels. Then release your toes down. And then we’re
going to create just a little bit of space between the heels. So keep the front part
of your foot where it is. Soft knees here as we slide the heels open, maybe just about
a thumb print’s worth. So the tops of the thighs spiral in. We take a deep breath in,
bring the hands to the waist line. And on an exhale, bend your knees generously. This is foundations of yoga, so we’re breaking
it down. What tends to happen here is the pelvis sticks out, the lower back sways, and
the ribcage just kind of pushes up. This looks awkward, because it is. And it’s uncomfortable.
We’re going to take care of this. The tops of the thighs are going to spiral in. Very
important. Go ahead and bring one palm to your belly and one palm to your lower back. The lower back is going to lengthen, and the
way we’re going to do that is we’re going to draw the tailbone down. Now, keep your
knees bent, my friends, and again a little bit of space between your two heels. If this
is hurting your knees, and you still want to practice the foundations of utkatasan,
go ahead and practice this with the feet hip width apart, big toes turned in just slightly.
So we have an option to be here or here. But I want to teach this with the feet flush together
to start just because I feel like that’ll help those of you who have been practicing
and asking me about this posture. It’ll help you in your practice. Okay. So tailbone is lengthening down. Use
your hands here to draw the lower belly in, lengthen the tailbone down. Great. The hands
can come back to the waistline here, and we draw the chin into the chest just slightly.
Find that length through the back of the neck. So another thing that tends to happen is we
end up being here. So again, we’re breaking it down, finding length in the neck. The quads
are starting to talk to you. I ran yesterday so my legs are definitely starting to talk
to me. Begin to shift your weight a little front
and back now. Again, just feeling out the feet. And then I’m going to rock back, and
imagine my sit bones hovering over my heels. For me, this is like the tip of all tips in
utkatasan, for me and my body. It’s imagining my sit bones melting down over my heels. So
that’s a nice little alignment tip for me. Again, notice how as we hang out here longer,
the tail bone is going to want to come out to compensate for the engaging of the quads.
So be strong. Hang on. Tuck your pelvis, lengthen tailbone down. You’ll find that open lift
in the heart. Draw your shoulder blades in together and down the back. And then on a swift breath in, we’ll send
the fingertips up towards the sky. Now, keep the shoulders plugged in here. So here’s an
example of being here, and then opening and plugging in. Bend the elbows. In fact, soft
elbows as much as you need here as you spread the fingertips. Then we’re going to sink a
little deeper, bending the knees. And again, you can imagine the sit bones hovering over
the heels here. Now, remember that lengthen the back of the
neck. So many things. That’s why we have Foundations of Yoga. I love it. And I’m lifting my toes
here to really spread awareness throughout all four corners of the feet. So again, I’ve
started us down at the feet. You can keep your gaze soft here. Of course, peek at the
video when you need to. And start at the feet and travel up, drawing energy up from the
arches of the feet to relax the toes down whenever you want. Tops of the thighs are
spiraling inward, bending at the knee. Sit bones hover over the heels, tailbone lengthens
down as the lower belly draws in. We’ve been talking on the channel a lot about
this knitting of the lower ribcage. So once again, I’ll show you just this visual. It’s
the lower ribs drawing in. So rather than just sticking out… Hey mom. Hey honey. I’m
drawing it in. Tailbone lengthens down and the lower ribcage begins to come in. Like
we’re focusing a pair of binoculars or a corset kind of drawing in. So I’m engaging these
intercostals. There’s a lot going on here. Often, we just isolate the lower body, but
the upper body is working hard too here in utkatasan. A fiery pose, for sure. So rest
when you need to, and come back. We’re going to loop the shoulders. Again,
open the heart, open through the chest. Now, turn your pinkies in towards the front edge
of your mat, and allow the tops of the shoulders to drop down in the socket. These are all
little checkpoints of chair pose. And maybe we sink a little bit deeper after a break
or two. And then eventually… Go ahead and take a break. Everyone stand up nice and tall. Eventually we’re going to work to where we’re
getting the backs of the thighs more parallel with the earth. But just take your time, working
with integrity, working with alignment. If you want to focus on the lower body, you can
interlace the fingertips behind the tail. Open up through the chest, and then just focus
you’re awareness on the lower body so the arms aren’t getting tired up there. Hands
on the waistline is also a good place to just practice with weight distribution, and also
that lengthening of the tailbone. All right. So I’m going to inhale, reach my
fingertips up one more time. Sink really deep, knit the lower ribcage in, and go through
my checklist. Nice, long, beautiful neck as the gaze goes straight down in front of my
nose. I take one more nice fiery breath here, and then exhale. Everyone’s going to enjoy
this move as we press through all four corners of the feet. Stand up nice and tall. Lift
your kneecaps, engage your quads, full body stretch, and exhale. Palms back down at the
heart. Great work, everyone. So that was the foundations of chair pose
or utkatasan. This is a pose that has definitely unfolded for me. Sounds cheesy, but it’s so
true. I used to hate it. A lot of teachers always joke about it being everyone’s favorite
pose. But I actually do like this pose now. You know I wouldn’t lie to you. Stick with
it. Return to this video. Keep going through your checklist within this posture. It’s nice
to slow it down at home with your home practice, because sometimes in public class you just
move too swiftly, or not too swiftly, but you move swiftly, and you can’t quite get
into all the little nooks and crannies of the pose. I wish you the best as you discover how utkatasana
unfolds. Keep digging through the foundations of yoga playlist. Of course, leave any questions
or comments below. I love hearing from you guys. There’s more at
Subscribe to the channel, if you haven’t already. And I’ll see you next time. Namaste.


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