Utkatasana: April Yoga Pose of the Month

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Strengthens quads/glutes/core & lengthens/rotates spine to provide more breathing room

Chair (Sanskrit: Utkatasana)

  • With feet together, stand in Mountain (Tadasana). Engage Uddiyana Bandha (drawing the navel in towards spine) to support the back/core. Palms at heart center, take hips back as if you’re sitting in an imaginary chair (or ottoman as shown in the pic on the left).  You should be able to look down and see your toes.

  • Palms can stay at heart center. Another option is to lengthen arms in front with palms facing one another to assist in releasing the shoulders. Shoulder blades slide down the back. Gaze can be slightly up without creating lots of wrinkles in the back of the neck.  Stay in pose for 3-5 breaths keeping weight in the heels.
  • Note: You can revolve your Chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana).  To do so take a deep breath and lengthen spine. On the exhale, twist from the waist up to your chosen side. Take an inhale and on the next exhale, sit deeper into your Chair keeping knees even. If available, bring your elbow to outside of knee. You may keep hands at heart center or lengthen arms. Another option is to make a fist with the top hand and place in palm of other hand to decrease pressure in wrist. Gaze can be wherever you’d like.

Namaste – The light within me honors the grace and wisdom within you.

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About Author

Celeste Cooper-Peel, ND, MA, MCHES, CWHC, E-RYT

Wellness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty-five years. She began as a research chemist with a concentration in genetics and nutritional biochemistry. After working in the medical field, she saw the need to follow a path of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education, she ventured into the mind/body world receiving training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Yoga. Shortly after, she received the 2003 Wellness in the Workplace Award for a large health system in the state of Virginia. In 2004, Celeste joined SAS Institute, Inc. and continues to be passionate in her position overseeing Wellness. She believes curiosity and collaboration bring insight and new ideas which bring out the best in everyone from team members to those who are making healthy lifestyle changes. Believing that the body knows how to heal if given the proper tools, Celeste earned certifications in Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Classical Chinese Medicine and Homeopathic & Naturopathic Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathy degree in 2020. Celeste is a published author, wife and mother and practices what she preaches and teaches. She is a nationally recognized Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and has advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Genetics and Genomics. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Certified Wellness and Health Coach (CWHC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT). Follow @ccooperpeel on Twitter and Instagram.

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