Friday, October 4, 2013

Fitness Friday - Chair Pose

This week we are back to yoga poses for Fitness Friday, I have been doing yoga two to three times a week and keep looking to improve and deepen all of my poses.  I have been able to work my way through the whole Primary series while being guided by my teacher and now I am working on being able to do the Sun Salutations with no guide.  The start of the second Sun Salutation is Chair Pose, the pose that we will be focusing on today for Fitness Friday.

Chair Pose is the first pose from the second series of Sun Saluations, this pose is a standing pose that works the inner thigh and core muscles.  Today we will focus on learning the basic pose and then in the coming weeks, we will look at the more advanced variations that can be done to deepen the pose.  Beginning yoga students will feel their core working when they begin doing this pose and it will give beginners a good idea of what this type of work will feel like on their bodies.

Yoga Journal gives an advanced step-by-step instruction on how to enter and hold this pose. 

- Stand in Tadasana. Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the floor. Either keep the arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join the palms.

- Exhale and bend your knees, trying to take the thighs as nearly parallel to the floor as possible. The knees will project out over the feet, and the torso will lean slightly forward over the thighs until the front torso forms approximately a right angle with the tops of the thighs. Keep the inner thighs parallel to each other and press the heads of the thigh bones down toward the heels.

- Firm your shoulder blades against the back. Take your tailbone down toward the floor and in toward your pubis to keep the lower back long.

- Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of this pose straighten your knees with an inhalation, lifting strongly through the arms. Exhale and release your arms to your sides into Tadasana.

The benefits of the pose are as follows: Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine; stretches shoulders and chest; stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart, and reduces flat feet.

Beginners will find it easier to keep their thighs at a 45 degree angle and then sink deeper into the pose as they work on it more.  My goal is get my thighs parallel to the ground and "sit" into the invisible chair.  I can feel this pose in my core and in my inner thighs, working these muscle groups at the gym will help one to hold the pose deeper and longer. 

My next goal to work toward in this position is to twist during it and add more core work.

photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

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