Pronounced OOT-Kah-Tahs-anna, Utkata means powerful or fierce.
This posture is found in the standing sequence of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
It is recommended to seek the guidance and supervision of a qualified yoga teacher when practicing yoga postures.
Utkatasana is entered into with an inhale. The feet are firmly rooted into the ground, with the toes, ankles and knees touching. The sit bones (two bony points in the bottom) are reaching towards the ground (as if sitting on a low chair). The pelvic floor and bandhas are engaged – with the navel pulling inwards, towards the spine.
Whilst keeping this foundation, the shoulders are broadened and the shoulder blades reach down towards the tail bone (away from the ears). The arms are brought upwards with the palms together, reaching for the sky.
The drishti or focus in this pose is towards the thumbs.
A modification for the arms: If the shoulders are tight, the hands can instead reach above the head, grasping opposite elbows.
Hold this posture for 5 breaths. On an exhale, exit the pose by lowering the arms to the side of the body and straightening the legs moving into Tadasana (mountain posture) – coming back to centre.
(In the Ashtanga vinyasa yoga tradition, Utkatasana is exited by exhaling, lowering the hands to either side of the feet and stepping or jumping back into Caturanga Dandasana (four limbed staff posture), moving into upward dog and pushing back to downward dog ready to enter the next posture in the sequence).
“Practice and all is coming.” Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
Peace and love, Sky