Disclaimers: Consult a doctor before beginning an exercise regime. Never force a pose. Stop if you feel pain or intense discomfort. Yoga is meant to be yummy.
I love vinyasa yoga and I am obsessed with good alignment. This obsession doesn’t stem from a need for perfection, which would be very “un-yoga-like” of me, but from a passion for protecting the body from injury. Most bodies can safely practice yoga on a daily basis, but maintaining sound alignment is essential to your physical wellbeing. In this series, I will break down some common poses—explaining how to stay safe and fully enjoy each posture. Finally, remember to BREATHE consistently while practicing yoga to receive the full benefits of the practice … otherwise, you’re just stretching in Sanskrit. Today’s pose is Chair Pose, or Utkatasana.
- Stand in tadasana.
- Bring the big toes to touch, toes are spread wide and gripping into the mat.
- Sit back, as if you’re sitting into a chair. *Some teachers will tell you to “scoop the tailbone”—this cue is becoming less common. If you’d like to read more about the “scoop” debate—here is one article for your perusal.
- Thighs engage, squeezing towards one another.
- Engage uddiyanabandha, bringing the belly button in and up towards the spine. This is not an instruction to hold the breath. Continue to breathe fully.
- Stretch the arms overhead, looking up between your palms.
- Arms begin to externally rotate, meaning palms begin to face towards the back of the mat.
- Release any unnecessary tension in your neck and face.
Practicing yoga on your own can be a ton of fun, but taking a class is a great way to explore new poses under the tutelage of a trained yoga instructor; check out MINT’s yoga offerings, here.
Ashley Binetti received her 200-hour vinyasa yoga teacher training at Saraswatis’s Yoga Joint in Norwalk, CT in 2011. Her favorite pose is Triangle. When she’s not doing yoga, Ashley works as a nonprofit attorney. She is also a MINT Ambassador.