Finesse Your Chair Pose Alignment With These 4 Simple Steps

older yoga student practicing chair pose, utkatasana

Article At A Glance

Chair Pose (Utkatasana) is hailed by many yoga students as one of the most challenging postures, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Refine your Chair Pose alignment using the easy-to-follow guidelines in this article, and see if you observe any improvements in your ability to hold this fierce posture!

I have always found Chair Pose (Utkatasana) to be a challenging posture for me. Every couple of years, I realize that I have been doing different elements of the pose differently. I’ve never been 100 percent certain about Chair Pose alignment.

In my recent yoga teacher training, I worked on this pose quite a bit, and here is what I have come up with.

Follow These 4 Steps to Find Your Optimal Chair Pose Alignment

Align your Chair Pose flawlessly with this step-by-step guide.

1. Find Your Foundation In your Pose

First, start working on your alignment from the foundation. Align your feet either together or hip-distance apart. Spread your toes wide and root down into the tripod base of your feet.

2. Create Your Base: Focus on Pelvis and Lower Back in Utkatasana

Once the foundation is set up, move your focus to your pelvis and lower back.  

Remember that a lot of alignment cues in yoga poses depend on the natural alignment of your spine. There is no one-size-fits-all rule for spinal alignment because we are all starting from very different places.

If you naturally have a pronounced lumbar curve, you will probably want to tuck your pelvis to reduce that curve. If you naturally have a very flat lumbar spine, you will probably want to encourage your pelvis to tilt forward a bit and allow your lower back to retain some curvature. If you have a pretty “neutral” spine and pelvis, then you don’t need to do much other than maintain that neutrality.

3. Finesse Your Shape in Chair Pose ( Utkatasana)

Chair Pose or Fierce Pose practiced squeezing a block.

Energetically squeeze your legs toward the midline of your body to create some heat and stability in your inner thighs. Root down into your feet and counter this by lengthening the crown of your head toward the sky. 

Next, move upward from your pelvis. Engage your abdominals by drawing your belly button toward your spine and “corseting” your waistline. Knit your lower ribs toward your back body. Lengthen both sides of your torso and lift your collarbones. 

Engage your arms as if they could lift you higher in the pose! You can keep your hands shoulder-width apart or practice the pose with your hands in prayer. Wherever you choose to be, energetically squeeze your arms toward the midline of your body to create internal heat.

4. Create Length In your Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

Finally, bring your attention to the top of your body. Keep your neck and head in line with the rest of your spine. (This may feel like you are tucking your chin slightly—instead of craning your neck forward or back.)

Keep your gaze (drishti) straight down along your nose or forward in front of you. Smile and enjoy the wonderful burn of your newfound Chair Pose alignment!

Finesse Your Chair Pose Alignment With These Simple Steps

Give these steps a try and see if you notice any change in your Chair Pose!


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