The ankles are strengthened and the achilles tendons are stretched. The heart receives a gentle massage. The abdominal organs and back are toned and the chest is opened. It is also a posture that can create balance and brings joy. On an energy level this posture acts directly on the heart chakra at the level of the manomaya kosha, inducing feelings of devotion, compassion and love. So what are we waiting for?
CONTRA-INDICATIONS Those with ankle, knee, hip or shoulder joint problems should keep the movements core stability muscles contracted. Anyone with neck problems, high blood pressure or heart disease should limit the amount of time the arms are held in the overhead position.
How to do Utkatasana, the chair of the heart
Before you do the posture do a few warming up movements by shaking out the joints, twisting the spine and generally activating the body and energy flow. It’s also beneficial to stretch out the solaus muscle at the base of the calves by placing one foot slightly in front of the other, both feet pointing forward. Then bend both knees, taking the centre of gravity down to the point between the feet. Repeat the stretch on both sides.
Stand in tadasana. Breathe out, then engage your core muscles. Breathe in and raise your arms from your sides until your right palm meets your left overhead in the praying hands mudra. Breathe out and bend your elbows, allowing your hands to come towards the crown of your head.
On the inhalation, bend your knees while straightening your arms, creating space in your heart region. Keep the heels down and sink down as far as you can, stretching your calf muscles. Keep the core muscles strong so your pelvis stays in the neutral position.
Breathe out, straightening your legs again and at the same time bending your elbows, lowering the praying hands towards the crown of your head. Repeat these movements a few more times. Finish by lowering your hands down the midline of your body towards your sternum. Hold in namaste for a few breaths while observing the effect of the posture. Relax your hands by your sides.
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