We at Drishti love getting the most out of our yoga practices. Don't you? :)
So, here's a helpful alignment tip on everyone's favorite shape (heheh) - Utkatasana, Chair Pose. You can use this tip in class or at home to give your yoga practice a little boost!
1. First, let's have a look at Traditional Chair pose.
In this version of the pose, the knees are in front of the ankles, and the emphasis is on dropping the hips as low as possible. This way of doing the pose primarily engages the quadricep muscles, which for many of us, are already quite strong. So it's not necessarily useful to emphasize strengthening the quads in this shape. Practiced this way, Utkatasana can place an unsafe amount of pressure on the knee joints, which can lead to knee injury over time! Sad. :(
2. Now, let's have a look at our healthy, aligned, Updated Chair Pose.
In this version of the pose, the knees are directly above the ankles - not way out in front! This version of the pose utilizes our often weak and under-used glutes and hamstrings, which is very helpful to modern bodies - yayy! The key is to think about taking your hips back rather than down when first practicing this updated shape. Can you feel your glutes and hamstrings firing?
Pro-tip: Use a mirror when trying this for the first time. You might be surprised how difficult it is to keep knees directly over your ankles!
3. Just a little reminder from our owner, Jenni: be sure not to practice your Utkatasana this way, okay? :)