Yoga for YOU: Chair Pose

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Ploog-0314This month’s pose, Utkatasana (ooot-kah-tah-sana) or Chair Pose, demands that our legs and booty be actively engaged. Chair pose challenges the body to become stronger. While holding the pose, we can feel a muscle burning sensation in our lower half that signals that the posture is working. It is within the challenge of holding the pose that our spiritual work is ignited. The fire in our quadriceps is the light guiding us toward inquiry.

What comes up for you as you are facing a new challenge or uncomfortable feeling? Observing your reactions during a pose is a powerful tool for your spiritual growth. Once you have chosen a spiritual path, you know that spiritual growth and personal discovery can be uncomfortable. In fact, growth only happens outside our comfort zone. Luckily, as life throws challenges, rewards, trials and triumphs at us, we can choose to create ease throughout all of the experiences. Create awareness while you hold chair pose this month. Remove any stress attached to challenge and meet the process of growth with ease.

Bring your feet about 4 inches apart. Toes point straight ahead and heels point straight back. It is important that your feet be as straight as possible. Take your tailbone and pubic bone down so that your low back is long and your tummy is engaged. Reach your arms straight out from your shoulders parallel to the ground. Palms face down. Roll your shoulders back and down. Ribcage pulls into the spine. Your drishti (gazing point) is straight in front of you. Bend at the hips and knees as you squat back. Act as if you are reaching for a chair behind you. Your knees point directly forward, not in or out. Your knees follow the toes. Reach your knees back over your ankles. Reach your chest over your hips; 70 percent of your weight is in your heels.

Take 10 breaths repeating the mantra, “I approach challenge with ease.” Release by pressing your heels into the ground and pressing your ankles apart as you straighten your legs. Release your arms to your side. Bring your palms together over your heart. Namasté.

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Michelle Ploog has been a nationally recognized yoga teacher for over 13 years. She’s certified in Baptiste Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Fluid Power Vinyasa and Restorative Yoga. She began practicing as a teenager and has since evolved into co-developing and facilitating Yoga Teacher Trainings in multiple locations. Her expertise in fitness as an ACE certified personal trainer, years as a sports-specific yoga teacher/ fitness trainer for the FL Everglades, and experience in wellness coaching influence her dynamic approach to yoga. She spends her time between Minneapolis and Naples throughout the year, and calling her partner Dan and their furbabies Dallas and Kitty her home.

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