Sometimes you will hear this pose referred to as “awkward chair”…it’s best not to dwell on why! I’ll bet you can guess why! It looks pretty simple…like…well, like sitting in a chair…which is pretty easy, right? Well, it turns out that sitting in a chair, without the chair is pretty strenuous! Thinking back to my beginning yoga classes, this was the pose that, after about 20 seconds, you were begging for mercy. And right about the time you started begging the teacher told you to sit a little lower! You will have to fight the urge to “kind of discreetly” straighten one leg at at time because face it, you aren’t fooling anyone but yourself…your teacher has seen the old discreetly straighten one leg at a time trick about a million times! There is a lot of great news about this pose though! One of them is it has super strengthening power for the whole leg, booty, and back… including the hard to engage inner thigh. This pose also teaches you a lot about inner strength and focus…As you progress in the execution of chair pose, you will see exactly what I mean.
Here are the steps to Chair Pose
1. Stand in mountain pose with your feet either hips distance apart or together…I am more comfortable with my feet together…everyone is different so try it both ways. Raise your toes, spread then apart, and then set them back down again.
2. Raise your arms to an angle even with the floor, palms facing downward.
3. Now, raise your arms upward (palms facing one another) until they are in line with the ears. Next, push your booty backward and bend the knees as if to sit in a chair. You should be able to look down and see you toes…if not…push your booty a little further back until you can. Your hips will remain in Mountain Pose alignment except that you will be leaning slightly forward. Try not to let the ribs pop out…if they are, relax a little and slightly roll (pelvic loop) the booty under. To assist you in focus, soften your gaze and find a spot slightly ahead of you to rest your gaze. Remember to breath.
The Twisted Chair Variation
1. As you hold Chair Pose move your hands into Namaste (Palms gently pressed together in front of your chest). Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, twist to the right and hook yourleft elbow over your right knee. Look at your knees and make sure they are in alignment with each other. If not, slightly relax your twist and press them back into alignment. Only twist as far as you can go with the knees in alignment. As you become more flexible in this pose you will be able to move into a deeper twist. With a deep exhalation, untwist back to the center. Then, repeat on the opposite side.
2. As your balance improves in this pose you will be able to turn your head and look over the shoulder in line with the side you are twisting on.
3. To move deeper into the twist, press your palms together slightly and on an exhale twist slightly deeper. You should feel the collar bones spreading apart.
That’s it…you got it!..Another beautiful posture notch on your yoga list. xox
Ali here: one more unusual reason why I love putting a class of beginners in chair pose is: it gives everyone an idea of how strong their core is!! If you CANNOT sit deep into your imaginary chair and lift your chest away from your thighs then that means the core is weak… and you guessed it right! We shall work on that core 🙂
Lovely reminder, Laura! Twisted chair is coming back full force into our program 😀