What is The Utkatasana
Beginners,  Yoga Terms

What is The Utkatasana – The Yoga Chair Pose

Sitting On An Imaginary Chair

The first time I came across the Utkatasana I thought it was very similar to the squats I do when I’m exercising, and it does look very alike except the many fast-paced repetitions. So what is the Utkatasana by definition? Well, it comes from the Sanskrit two words ‘Utka’ meaning ‘Fierce’ or ‘Wild’ and ‘Asana’ meaning ‘Pose’. It is usually called the ‘Chair Pose’ because it looks and feels as if you are hovering above an imaginary chair, though the true
meaning of Utkatasana would be the Fierce Pose.

I would like to give you a few guidelines as to what is the Utkatasana and how to do it. First of all please respect your body and if you feel any sort of pain while in this pose (or any other yoga posture that you are trying), get out of that pose and start slow or do a different pose. If you have knee problems or knee and back pain. Always remember that you should feel good while doing yoga poses, you should feel a good stretch, but if you are feeling pain stop immediately and continue with easier poses.What is The Utkatasana

Personally, I find this pose very intense and I sometimes feel impatient and really want to move to the
next pose, I try to concentrate on my breath and that usually helps me calm down and stay in the pose for longer. It’s a great pose for relieving back pain and stretching the shoulders, so I like doing it and making myself stay in this posture for at least 30 seconds so I can truly benefit from it.

Pose Tips

  • Start in the Tadasana Pose (press the link for information on how to stand in this pose).
  • Lift your arms straight up while keeping them perpendicular to each other.
  • Bend your knees
  • Imagine you are hovering on an imaginary chair while pushing your pelvis down.
  • Find a comfortable spot to stay in.
  • Lengthen your spine and notice that your knees don’t go past your toes.
  • BREATH and SMILE 🙂
  • The ideal posture would be to bring your thighs to be nearly parallel to the floor, but for now, this is completely fine.
  • Stay is this pose for 30 seconds up to one minute.

To get out of this pose there are to options you can choose from:

  1. Lower your hands while straightening your knees, bringing you back to Tadasana.
  2. Lower your thighs all the way down until you touch the floor, lower your hands and lie down on the floor.

You can check out this explanation by Adriene:

Benefits of The Utkatasana

Almost every standing posture is very good for strengthening the ankles and preventing ankle injuries, the more you practice different standing postures and different balance positions the more strong your ankles can get. This pose is also great for strengthening the knees (but no so great if you already have knee injuries or knee pain).

The thing I like most about this pose is the fact that strengthens and stretches the spine and lower back, once I find my comfortable spot and start to concentrate on my breath I feel good and know that my torso and thighs are saying ‘thank you thank you for this stretch!”. 😉

It is also an exercise for the chest as you open up and expand your chest while inhaling and exhaling gently.

Would You Try It Out Now?

This posture is very easy and you can try and do it right now wherever you are if you’re at your office desk you can simply stand up, move your chair a little to the side and try to stay in this pose for 30 seconds while concentrating on your breath. If you’re at home you can also do the Utkatasana right now.

Let me know if you tried it out and how it felt, I would love to read and respond to your comments below. 🙂



  • Nyssa

    This pose is a regular at my gym. We incorporate it into our work out regularly. I like the pose as to me it puts less stress on my knees (because it’s not a constant movement). I have noticed that if I control my breathing I can last longer in the pose!

    • Paulina

      Yes, controlling the breath and being aware of it can definitely make a difference when you are trying to concentrate in a yoga pose.
      Yoga Breath - Pranayama

  • Kent

    I just tried this pose for about a minute, I don’t think it was too difficult! I regularly do 100 squats a day, and so this is probably why I found this position kind of easy. After doing the yoga chair pose, I definitely felt like I did my back and shoulders some good. Can you stay in this pose for longer than 1 minute? If so, are there any benefits to doing this for a longer period of time?

    • Paulina

      Hey Kent, you’re on the right track if you are doing 100 squats a day! and no wonder this way easy for you to do. It is recommended to stay in this pose for a few breaths up to one minute and then release, repeating it a few times. You don’t want to overdo it in this pose and ultimately you would like to feel comfortable in it.
      I think it is best to do it during the day, if you are sitting in an office for a long time you can stand up and give your spine a great stretch. 🙂

  • Kevin McNamara

    Hi Paulina,

    Great post. Funnily enough my partner, Joy, was telling me this morning that the yoga pose she dislikes the most is the chair pose haha! I have played football for years and been a runner and I feel it too doing this pose. Of course it is great for strength and balance so I love it too even though its tough.

    Thanks for another great insight into yoga 🙂



    • Paulina

      Hey Kev,
      I’m glad that you enjoyed it even though it’s tough 😉 Some of the yoga poses only seem super easy but then when you actually try to stay in them for more than 10 seconds you really start to feel your body working. 🙂

  • Ravi

    wow….just tried this at the office….agree that it looks easy but it does really make your body feel as if it is working!

    Like the suggestion of focusing on the breath to focus….it did help!

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Paulina

      I’m happy you liked the chair pose! 🙂 It’s really helpful to concentrate on the breath, that makes the mind work as well as the body.

  • Greg

    When I first saw the title The Yoga Chair Pose, I thought cool something I can do in my chair. LOL
    After trying this pose I did feel my back loosen up. Thanks for another pose for me to try out.

    • Paulina

      Hey Greg! I’m so happy that you tried out the chair pose! It’s looks very easy but it is still intense and you feel your body working. 🙂

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