Feeling Stronger Every Day: More Chair Pose Variations
Have you practiced any of the chair pose variations offered in our previous post? If so, bravo! Chair pose/powerful pose (utkatasana) is a fantastic all-round human movement to maintain strength. This shape is also known as squatting in the fitness world.
There are as many styles of chair pose as there are designs of chairs.
For example, check out this chair model. It’s called a bank stool chair.* I am unclear of it’s exact usage. Use your imagination!
Everyone can practice some form of powerful pose. And even if you are confined to a chair or standing or walking is difficult, you can practice the various upper body variations offered below and in part one of our exploration.
According to Andy Sobuta, of Harvard Health:
Powerful pose/squats “… are a great exercise because they activate so many bones and joints at once, such as the hips, knees, feet, and ankles, as well as muscles like the quads, gluteals, hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves.”
Your Wake-Up Call: Block Adaptation
Employing a prop between the legs is a wake-up call for the medial/mid-line of the body. So many of us allow our feet to habitually turn out like Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp character+.
Our hip or ankle joints might rotate externally for a variety of reasons. These can include joint laxity and concomitant pelvic adjustments in pregnancy (we’re all familiar with the pregnancy “waddle”), hip joint surgeries, family environment, hip bone shape, past trauma to ankles, etc. However, typically at least some improved engagement can be realized by employing the mid-line of the body into your movements.
Wake up the medial line to increase strength and bring all the potential of your lower body into the pose…and into daily life.
How to Engage the Mid-Line
Place a yoga block, folded blanket, or inflatable ball between your thighs. Practice any version from this or our previous post. Remove the block and practice again to see if your mid-line can stay fired up.
The prop between the legs also assists us in tracking our knees safely, and reminds us to fire up our big toes. The big toe is crucial for balance and stability.
Additionally, our inner thigh muscle group called the adductors, become awakened. This set of muscles helps to stabilize the pelvis, contribute to pelvic floor balance and health, and move the leg toward the mid-line.
By maintaining strength practicing powerful pose, we can feel more confident in our skills of moving up and down from a chair as we age (the subject of an upcoming post).
For pregnant women, you might decrease the tendency to default to the ‘pregnancy walk’, particularly in the last few weeks.