One-Legged Chair Pose (Eka Pada Utkatasana)

Young Woman Doing Yoga Exercises in Park
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Also Known as: Figure-four position

Type of Pose: Standing, balancing

Benefits: Improves core strength and balance, opens the hips, strengthens the legs.

One-legged chair is what happens when utkatasana meets sucirandrasana. In addition to being a balance challenge in and of itself, it's also an important entryway into several advanced arm balances

Instructions:

1. Begin by coming into awkward chair pose (utkatasana).

Take several breaths here with both feet grounded into the floor. Make sure your thighs are low and your weight is back in your heels. 

2. Bring your hands to Anjali mudra at your heart. Feel all four corners of your left foot on the floor as you start to peel your right foot off the ground. Keep your left knee bent as you cross your right ankle over to rest on your left thigh just above your knee.

3. Flex your right foot strongly. If you look down, you should see a triangle shape formed by your legs.

4. Stay in this position for three to five breaths. If you want to go further, begin to bring your chest lower until your hands (still in prayer position) rest on your right calf. If this feels ok, you can continue to forward bend until your fingers touch the floor. Keep the bend in your right leg or straighten it, depending on which feels better. 

5. If you have forward bended, come out the way you came in, returning to an upright position slowly.

Release the right leg to the floor and take a few breaths in awkward chair before doing the pose on the other leg. 

Beginners' Tips:

1. For balance postures, it's useful to find a place to look on the floor just in front of you. 

2. Work on your core strength with plank variations and yoga crunches if balancing is hard for you.

Advanced Tip:

1. The figure four shape of the legs sets you up for arm balances like flying crow (eka pada galavasana) and.

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