utkata = powerful, mighty
This yoga pose works on perfecting posture and proper alignment. As a yoga exercise, it is a balance to any type of yoga during workout. The arms, core and legs are stretched and strengthened while stimulating the diaphragm and heart.
Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine
Stretches shoulders and chest
Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart
Reduces flat feet
Low blood pressure
Performing the Asana
Stand in Tadasana. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Either keep the arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the palms.
Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible. The knees will project out over the feet, and the torso will lean slightly forward over the thighs until the front torso forms approximately a right angle with the tops of the thighs. Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the heads of the thigh bones down toward the heels.
Firm your shoulder blades against the back. Take your tailbone down toward the floor and in toward your pubis to keep the lower back long.
Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of this pose straighten your knees with an inhalation, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to your sides into Tadasana.
Modify Your Practice
You can increase the strength of your thighs by squeezing a block or thick book between them during the pose.
As you bend your knees, lift up onto the balls of your feet and sit your buttocks down on your raised heels. Extend your arms forward, parallel to each other and the floor, palms down or facing inward.
Complimentary Yoga Poses
Virasana - Hero Pose
Bhujangasana - Cobra Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downwards Facing Dog
Tips for Beginners
To help you stay in this pose, perform it near a wall. Stand with your back to the wall, a few inches away from the wall. Adjust your position relative to the wall so that when you bend into the position, your tailbone just touches and is supported by the wall.
Deepen the Pose
The secret to a comfortable stay in Utkatasana is the release of the heads of the thigh bones toward the heels. Once in the pose, bring your hands to your tops thighs. Nestle the bases of your palms into the creases of the groins and push the heads of thighs toward the heels, digging the heels deep into the floor. Against these actions, lift the sitting bones up into the pelvis.
A partner can use either hands or feet to press your heels firmly into the ground.