Spotlight on Twisted Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

23rd Feb 2022 - Michele Pernetta

FG Founder Michele Pernetta takes a look at proper alignment and technique for Reversed Chair Pose

Chair pose strengthens and aligns the ankles, knees and hips. It also twists the thoracic spine and strengthens the lower back. By keeping the feet and knees together we can bring alignment to the legs while we strengthen the muscles of the thighs, glutei and shins.

Knee alignment is important in this pose, while drawing them together, take your hips back so the knees come back over or behind the toes, not forward of them. With your hips back, lift your chest up to strengthen you lower back. Pull your stomach in. Pelvis neutral (tailbone long) and front ribs neutral (draw them down).

Hands in prayer at the chest. So far so good.

Now to add the twist. The main misalignment that can occur in this pose is due to our desire to hook the elbow over the knee, when the forearm would be better at the beginning. So we round the lower back and hunch down to get our elbow down, losing the alignment of the spine. If your hips are tight simply use your forearm or wrist outside the knee. We want to twist the spine in its natural curve not in a forward bend. Some people need to modify further by resting the right hand on the right knee to begin with.

If we are twisting too far to the right the left knee goes forward, misaligning hips and lumbar spine. Simply keep the strength of Chair pose, knees together, (or feel free to modify them hip width if you are not ready for them together) and twist from the thoracic spine. Glance at your left knee for a second to make sure its still level with the left. Keep your belly pulled in to protect your back.

To release look down first and untwist from the neck. Repeat to left.

Eventually with practice one day you might be able to split the arms and place the lower hand on the floor next to your foot.

Further read