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Strengthening Yoga Poses

Master Chair Pose in 4 Steps

The benefits of chair pose are endless. It strengthens the muscles in your thighs and feet, tones your core muscles, and increases ankle mobility.

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NEXT STEP IN YOGAPEDIA4 Ways to Modify Chair Pose 

Utkatasana: utkata = fierce · asana = pose
Fierce Pose, more commonly known as Chair Pose


Strengthens the muscles in your thighs and feet; increases ankle mobility; tones your core muscles; don’t lift your toes; instead, keep them grounded. Similar to insect antennae, toes provide the sensory feedback needed for body awareness. Lifting your toes diminishes this feedback.


  1. Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips. To create the stable platform needed for this deep squat, find the center of balance in each foot. Play with shifting your weight between the inner and outer edge of each foot as well as between the ball and heel, until you find the sweet spot. You’ll know you’ve found it when you feel a “tripod effect”—a sense of equal pressure between the bases of the big and little toes and your heel. Keep your weight evenly distributed between each leg.
  2. Exhale as you bend your knees, sending your buttocks behind you as you sit on an imaginary chair. When you can no longer maintain the tripod effect in your feet, stop bending your knees. Engage your legs and hips by gently pressing the legs toward each other and hugging the hips toward your midline.
  3. Raise your arms overhead, with your palms facing each other. If your low back starts to overarch (you’ll feel a sensation of pinching or compression), draw your low ribs toward your hip points until you feel your pelvis level out. Just don’t overdo it—you don’t want to overcorrect to the point that the top of your pelvis tilts backward. Finally, create a sense of space equally across the front and back body by spreading your upper back, externally rotating the shoulders, and widening across the chest. Stay for 5 to 10 breaths.
  4. To exit the posture, push firmly through your feet to extend your legs, and then release your arms down by your sides.

See alsoChair Pose: Adjust Utkatasana for Better Alignment

About Our Pro 
Teacher and model Robyn Capobianco, MA, E-RYT 500, is a corrective-exercise specialist; her classes are a unique blend of self-myofascial release, classical yoga, and corrective exercise interspersed with splashes of science. Capobianco’s work is inspired by her studies with Jill Miller, Sianna Sherman, Richard Freeman, and Douglas Brooks, as well as by her formal education in integrative physiology. She is also a doctoral student in the Neurophysiology of Movement Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is investigating the neuromechanics of stretching and yoga. Learn more at

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