Yoga for Christmas time: Utkatasana – Chair of the Heart
As Christmas kicks in it’s easy to forget about keeping up with your yoga practice as the temptations of chocolate, TV and alcohol take over. With this in mind, I have blogged about keeping fit over the festive season for London Rockin’ Rollers roller derby team.
Below are instructions on how to do the Chair of the Heart posture. As well as being great for athletes, it’s perfect for anyone who wants to do some simple yoga over the festive season.
Plus it opens the heart area, encouraging compassion and love, along with emotional balance and joy, all qualities we want to display when spending time with our family and friends.
How to do Chair of the Heart
Those with ankle, knee, hip or shoulder joint problems should keep the movements gentle and the core stability muscles contracted. Anyone with neck problems, high blood pressure or heart disease should limit the amount of time the arms are held in the overhead position.
Before you do the posture
- Warm-up by shaking out your joints, gently twisting the spine and generally activating your body. Watch a short Dru activations video on YouTube
- Stretch out the soleus muscle by placing one foot slightly in front of the other, both feet pointing forward. Then bend both knees, sinking down as if going to sit on a stool and taking your centre of gravity down between your feet. Repeat the stretch on both sides
Utkatasana Part 1
- Stand with your feet facing forward and hip-width (two fist-widths apart) – this is called Mountain Posture
- Breathe out and engage your core muscles
- Breathe in and raise your arms from your sides until the palms of your hands meet in namaste (palms together) above your head
- Breathe out and bend your elbows, so that the heel of your hands come towards the crown of your head and your elbows are pointing forward
Utkatasana Part 2
- To make the stretch on the ankles and calves as strong as possible don’t lean forward but keep the torso upright and the pelvis in neutral
Utkatasana Part 3
- Breathe out, and straighten your legs. At the same time bend your elbows, lowering your hands towards the crown of your head, as before
Repeat parts 2 and 3 a few times
- Finish by lowering your hands down the midline of your body towards your sternum
- Hold in namaste for a few breaths while observing the effect of the posture
- Relax your hands by your sides