Calm Your Mind with Rotated Chair Pose

rotated chair poseRotated chair pose, or Parvritta Utkatasana, is a great way to strengthen your legs, open your SI joint, and rotate your spine. Previously, when I wrote about how to practice Chair pose, I mentioned its strengthening abilities. Because of the placement of the pelvis, we also create the opportunity to open the SI joint and strengthen those stabilizers. When we rotate while in Chair pose, we add all the benefits of rotation.

Rotation is incredibly beneficial for your body for three reasons. First, rotating the spine automatically resets your nervous system. This is important to remember if you’re feeling stressed or nervous. A good rotation can help you calm yourself down quickly.

Second, by rotating, you create a twisting motion through your abdomen. For people who suffer from irregular bowels or other bowel-related issues like IBS, twisting helps apply light pressure to your internal organs. This light pressure can be just exactly what you need to get things moving through your system.

The third reason why rotation postures benefit you is really just logic:  we rotate regularly during the day. Any time you drive or hear a noise behind you, you rotate to look. By keeping the spine balanced and healthy, you can continue to turn and look without injuring yourself.

Because of my appreciation for twisting, all of this month’s yoga poses will be twisting poses. Now, here’s how to do Rotated chair pose.

Rotated Chair Pose

  1. Begin in Tadasana.
  2. Lift your toes so you can feel the four corners of your feet press evenly into the floor. The four corners are:  under the big toe, under the little toe, and the inside and outside of the heel. Hug the muscles of your feet and ankles to the bones to help you stay centered.
  3. Use ujjayi breathing.
  4. Place your hands on your hips and rotate your pelvis so you can feel your SITs bones point at the baseboard behind you.
  5. Lengthen your spine and draw your low belly to your spine for support.
  6. Put a bend in your knees and sit back as if you are sitting back into a chair. You should feel a lot of your weight in your heels. If you feel your weight more in your toes, you are too far forward and will cause yourself knee pain.
  7. Join the palms of your hands and bring them up to heart center.
  8. Exhale and rotate to the right. Connect your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
  9. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Inhale to lengthen the spine, and exhale to soften into the rotation of the spine.
  10. To add intensity to this rotation, straighten your arms. Now, your left fingertips reach toward the floor and your right fingertips reach toward the ceiling.
  11. To finish, bring your hands back to heart center, rotate back to center, and press firmly into your feet to return to Tadasana.
  12. Now, complete steps 4-11 to rotate to the left.

Rotated Chair Pose Video

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Here is a video for visual learners.

What is your favorite way to rotate? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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