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Hands On Adjustments Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 12

Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

1 min - Tutorial


Rosemary, with the help of Amy, looks at Utkatasana (Chair Pose)—verbal cues, fundamental alignment, and hands-on adjustments.
What You'll Need: Partner, Mat

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Nov 02, 2018
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We are going to take a look at Utkatasana. You ready, Amy? Okay, come on into it. Just one very simple hands-on adjustment in this pose. We'll mostly look at the alignment and some verbal cues, okay? So we want to make sure that there's some grounded even weight through the feet. You might even encourage your student to look down and make sure they can see their toes so the knees are not pitching too far forward, which will ultimately create strain on the knee and ankle joints, okay? Legs are engaged, tailbone is descending, belly is drawing in and up, shoulder blades are soft down the back, and there's this beautiful rise through the central channel, tall spine lifting through the crown of the head. And then if the arms are falling asleep or just kind of sloppy, noodley arms, you can come behind them, taking your forearms essentially outside of their upper shoulders and your hands right around their upper arms and then twisting in and even drawing your forearms down a little to ground their shoulders, yeah? And then you can take fingers to their upper shoulders and just gently guide them down to create a little more spaciousness through the neck. Perfect. You can release that as you're ready, okay? Thank you. Thank you so much. Namaste.


Kerry N-W
1 person likes this.
my loser back really arches in this pose. Should my tail bone be drawn in toward my knees and my belly strong? Where is the strength (aside from the thighs) coming from in this pose?
Kerry N-W
1 person likes this.
Not "loser"! 
Rosemary Garrison
Excellent question and body awareness, Kerry N ! There are different schools of thought here. I would say it is definitely okay to allow for the natural curvature of the low back/ lumbar spine here. However, many of us tend to over do it especially if we're hyper flexible. I would advise a strong lift of the deep low belly and a dropping of the tail bone down towards the floor. The strength is in the entire legs, the glut muscles and the lift of the core. Try this out and let me know how it feels! 
Kerry N-W
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much! Long delay b/c I was trying to do saddle pose with Alana and jammed up my lower back. I can't even get into chair pose. I'm so frustrated with myself. I've never had much lower back tightness so this is freaky. Any suggestions? 
Rosemary Garrison
Oh, I'm so sorry, Kerry N ! Injuries or even just temporary areas of contraction, etc can be so frustrating. My suggestions are anything that you feel will safely open the low back- both child's pose and a supine twist can be very helpful. Also, of course, go gently with yourself. ; ) 
Kerry N-W
2 people like this.
Thank you--will do these. It seems that so little set off something so enormous.
Rosemary Garrison
I understand, Kerry N . And I hear this extremely often. It makes me wonder what lies beneath the surface- what has been there for some time, but then reveals itself in a more extreme way. It seems to be so common. Sending empathy and support for the healing. 
Kerry N-W
1 person likes this.
Thank you, Rosemary. I did the stretches you suggested and am now completely fine. I feel like the "injury" has shown me a little more about attention to subtle movement. I feel a little more affection and gratitude for my lower back. That's not at all something I would normally think or say so I wonder if that is a bit of what was "under the surface"--lack of a certain awareness/gentleness.
Thanks for all your teaching,
Rosemary Garrison
Kerry N-W , this is absolutely beautiful. I am happy to hear you feel completely fine. I am even happier to hear that the experience led to more attention to subtle movement as well as more affection and gratitude. This of course is not always the case. Brava to you for listening to your body and responding to the "injury" in such a mindful, gentle way. And for sharing the experience. Be well. 

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