Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Utkatasana Mean?

Utkatasana is the name of a powerful standing yoga asana that requires balance, stability and strength. The arms extend upward alongside the ears, while the knees bend as if sitting on an imaginary chair. In addition to its physical benefits, utkatasana promotes focus, acceptance and inner power.

The name comes from the Sanskrit, utkata, meaning “intense” or “powerful,” and asana, meaning “posture.” The common English name for utkatasana is chair pose. It is also sometimes called fierce pose, powerful pose or, in Bikram yoga, awkward pose.



Yogapedia Explains Utkatasana

Traditionally, utkatasana is believed to activate the svadisthana chakra and, as such, is associated with creativity and determination. Stimulating this chakra through utkatasana is thought to foster inner acceptance and promote focus and productivity.

Variations of this asana include:

  • Ardha utkatasana (half chair pose), in which the squat is only half as deep as utkatasana; and
  • Parivrtta ardha utkatasana (revolved half chair pose), in which the hands are in prayer position and the upper body twists to the side.

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