Chair Pose: Taking This Seat Strengthens Your Whole Body

Updated : April 04, 2022

Use chair pose to cultivate happiness and resilience in difficult situations, and strengthen, tone, and balance the muscles in your entire body!

standing yoga posture

Chair pose — or Utkatasana (OOT-kat-AAS-ana ) in Sanskrit — is a challenging leg-strengthening posture that provides an intense workout for the lower body, particularly the thighs. Utkatasana is a great pose to do after completing other standing postures, in preparation for seated and reclined postures. It gets its name from the Sanskrit words, utkat, meaning intense or powerful, and asana, meaning pose.

Other names for chair pose include awkward pose, thunderbolt pose, fierce pose, and powerful pose.

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Step-by-step instructions

chair pose utkatasana

  1. Stand up straight with your feet together or hip-width apart and parallel to each other on the yoga mat.

  2. Reach your arms straight out in front of you with your palms face down, or you can bring your hands together over your head with arms straight. Your shoulder blades should be drawn back and down.

  3. Bend your knees deeply, and sink your pelvis toward the ground as though you are sitting down in an imaginary chair.

  4. Make sure that your knees are in line with your ankles and toes, with the weight of your body on your heels.

  5. Do your best to remain as comfortable and calm as possible while maintaining the posture. A burning sensation in your quadriceps is normal.

  6. Inhale deeply to lengthen the spine, and sink your tailbone further down on every exhale.

  7. Hold the posture for 30 to 60 seconds.

  8. To come out of the posture, stand up straight, or sit all the way down on the mat.

Tip from a Sri Sri Yoga expert: Smile throughout the entire practice of this yoga posture! It will help you hold the pose for longer. This standing pose will help you cultivate happiness in challenging situations.

Benefits of this standing yoga posture

practicing utkatasana

  • Lengthens the spine and opens the chest

  • Strengthens the hips, thigh muscles, and abdominal muscles, as well as all of the joints in the lower body

  • Stimulates the diaphragm, heart, and abdominal organs

  • Tones the back muscles and other muscles along the torso, including core muscles

  • Balances the body, and brings determination and willpower to the mind

Chair pose precautions

prayer position

If you have any of the following conditions, please avoid doing chair pose until the condition has improved or you are given approval by your healthcare provider.

  • Chronic knee pain or arthritis of the knee

  • Sprained ankle

  • Knee ligament damage

  • Shoulder injury

  • Low blood pressure

  • Headache

  • Insomnia

  • Lower back pain

  • Menstruation

Modifications and variations

To Increase the challenge, lower your hips as near to the ground as possible while maintaining most of your body weight on your heels.

Preparatory poses and follow-up poses

sun salutations


Browse our entire yoga pose library, and learn more about each pose in detail.


Take your yoga practice to the next level

If you’re interested in deepening your experience, we recommend following-up your asana practice with powerful breathwork and meditation. 

Join a free online session with a live instructor, and experience guided breathwork and meditation now. In this session you will also learn about SKY Breath Meditation, which has helped millions of people worldwide to reap the deeper benefits of yoga, and take their yoga practice to the next level.  

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To find out more about our yoga teacher training, talk to a Yoga Teacher Training Advisor. Click here to schedule your appointment!

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