Chair pose, or utkatasana, for my Sanskrit studying peeps, is one of those poses we see over and over in pretty much every flow class. Today I'm pointing out the most common mistakes I see people make so you'll know what to watch out for.
First, let's point out that there are many ways to do chair pose. Some instructors may have you do the pose with in hands in prayer position at the chest, or with the eyes looking up overhead. Some may have you look straight down and keep your arms parallel to the ground. There's really no right or wrong way to do it, but it's the foundation that's important, and that's what I'll touch on here.
There are two major things I look out for when I'm teaching chair pose.
The first is the sway back. There are certainly times when it's good to arch the back (cat/cow pose, I'm lookin' at you!), but this isn't one of them. In this instance, you could risk low back injury due to compression in the spine, so instead, tuck the tailbone slightly and keep the spine really long.
The second next thing I look at are the knees. In order for the knees to be in proper alignment, we need to make sure the feet and ankles are in alignment. The feet should be together, big toe mounds touching, and the ankles touching as well. The knees should be together, and when you look down at your knees, you should be able to see your kneecaps in line with each other, and your toes peeking out from under them. (If you can't see your toes, then you've got too much weight in the balls of the feet and you should try to sit a little deeper and distribute the weight evenly in the feet).
Once you're in chair pose, breathe full, deep breaths (try for 5-7) and then come out of the pose. It's great for the thighs, calves and glutes.
How do you feel about chair pose? Love it? Loathe it? Any other pose you're interested in or would like to see broken down? Let me know in the comments below.