Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

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Chair Pose, Utkatasana, (OOT-kah-TAHS-ah-nah)

utkat (fierce) + āsana (pose)

Also known as: Awkward Pose, Fierce Pose, Lightning Bolt Pose, Hazardous Pose, Wild Pose

Pose Type: Balancing, Standing, Strengthening

Difficulty: Beginner


Powerfully strengthen the muscles in your legs and core and develop your mental stamina with a decisive Chair Pose.

chair Pose Fundamentals

Chair Pose calls for full-body awareness and activation. You must unite and balance the strength of your legs, core, back, and upper body to hold a strong Chair Pose.

The Chair Pose is an asana that requires mental commitment. Tap into your inner mental strength to hold this pose powerfully. You’ll be surprised how much depth you can find in the Chair Pose.

You can always hold this pose for one second longer. You’ve got this. Shaky legs are a sign that your strength is developing.

annotated image of a woman doing chair pose

chair Pose Benefits

Chair pose can be a real thigh burner and helps develop your balance by activating and

  • Over time the squat will also help to align and stabilize your knees while
  • having your arms raised strengthens your core and the muscles between your ribs – improving breathing capacity.
  • The Chair pose also helps you push back at your mental boundaries and self-imposed limitations.

How To Do The chair Pose: Step-By-Step

chair pose with airplane arms

1. Beginning standing with feet hip distance apart extend your arms straight in front of you, parallel to the ground and slowly sink into to a seated position.

2. Tuck your sit bones under towards your pubic region and stretch your fingertips forward. Your torso should be tilted forward, back straight and knees above but not in front of your toes. 

3. Keep your arms out in front of you, raise them up to the sky, or float them back into airplane arms- yogi’s choice.

4. Sit deeper to intensify the stretch and pause for 3 deep breaths. Then slowly and with control rise back up to standing. 

Chair Pose Variations

Revolved Chair Pose

Difficulty: Beginner

  • chair twist open arms
  • chair twist vatiation
  • chair twist
  • Yogajala Poses 1 1 1

Revolve your Chair Pose for a gentle spinal twist, or send your arms out long behind you for a powerful Chair Pose with Airplane Arms.

Preparatory Poses

Mountain Pose

Upward Salute Pose

Standing Half Forward Bend Pose

Counter Poses

Standing Forward Bend Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose

Cow Pose

Bridge Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

Photo of author
Maria Andrews is a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher, long distance runner, and adventure lover.

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