Standing strong and stable. Balance and victorious. Humans evolved into standing and walking with two legs, setting the arms free to work. We are the only animal with a vertical spine to stand up straight:
David by Michelangelo. Symbolic human beauty with developed muscles at the core, hips, and legs to stand up straight.
But as time passes by, something tremendously wrong is happening as we are sitting more and more instead of standing which we were evolved to do. We sit at school, sit on the car /bus/train/bike/airplane, sit in the office, sit in front of the computer, sit on the couch to watch TV or sit to check the phone.
Sitting for a long time and sitting in bad postures cause many health problems. Some common problems are: rounded back, back pain, neck pain, low back pain, tight hips, tight hamstrings, weak buttocks, digestive problems, stress problems, tight muscles, nerve pain, etc... The chairs give too much support that the body loses the strength needed to hold good postures.
That's why to Yoga beginners, I always choose to introduce Standing Yoga poses. They are also the closest poses to daily activities. Standing Poses like the Warrior 1 & 2, Triangle, Side Angle, Pyramid, etc. are the foundation of lower body strength, on which we build stable Asanas.
And the first standing Yoga pose I would like to present will be a goodbye to the Chairs:
CHAIR POSE - UTKATASANA. When you sit, but there's no chair.
Fun fact: Utkatasana translated literally from Sanskrit means ¨the Difficult Pose¨. It's not so easy as it looks.
Chair Pose has a similar shape to sitting on a chair, but in an awesome way, it strengthens us and not weakens us. The shape of the pose is simple, only flexing at the hips and the knees. However, it could still be a challenge to Yoga beginners. For those who have tight shoulders, raising the arms over the head creates a backbend to compensate for tight shoulders.
We can choose to keep hands on our hips or arms along the body to take the backbend away from our spine. We maintain a neutral spine, which is also a good start to build core strength.
In Chair Pose, it's the hip joint that is holding the body weight. To focus completely on the lower body, we can do easier shapes with the arms such as hands on hips, arms to the front or to the back, prayer hands in front of the chest, etc.
Try Chair Pose with the wall. Put your back on the wall to ¨forget¨ about the spine for now, and focus even more on big muscles on your thighs and buttocks.
One last way we can prop up Chair Pose is to wear a strap around the thighs and push the thighs out to the straps to create hip external rotation. Now, your glutes will have to work and will be strengthened. Gain back what it lost while sitting too long!
Thank you for reading! More about how to Prop Up Standing Poses in Yoga:
Introduction of Standing Poses - Chair Pose
Basic Standing Poses: High Lunge, Warrior 1, Warrior 2
Extended Side Angle Pose and bounded hands variation
See how I use basic Yoga props to do ANY Yoga poses in my Prop Up Project:
Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutations
Prop Up Project from Ha My Yoga to help you do more than 80 Yoga poses easier and more effectively with simple Yoga props like block, strap, wall, blanket, bolster, etc. So you can really enjoy doing Yoga!
Do you find this post helpful? Share to your social media!