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Stretch Yourself: The Chair Pose


Published Jan 1, 2012 12:00 AM


No matter what your age or fitness level, "movement is medicine," says integrated fitness expert Amanda Jane Avis '96 of Santa Monica fitness studio Mala Motion and a former Bruin Dance Team member.

The Chair Pose, or Utkatasana, will challenge your legs, gluteals, abdominals, back muscles and sense of balance.

1. Standing tall with your feet together, soften your knees and lower your pelvis.

2. Shift weight onto your heels while keeping the balls of the feet grounded. Your pelvis should also shift back, but no tucking or hyperextending. Spine remains long.

3. Depending on knee health, bend to no lower than 90 degrees so the joints are not compromised.

4. If balance is easily found, lift arms skyward, keeping shoulders down. Palms may touch if flexibility allows. Keep your hands on your hips or extend arms in front of your heart if balance and flexibility are challenging.

Hold the position for five full breaths, connect to your abdominal muscles, and return to standing tall and release arms to sides. Practice this posture three times and increase the length of your exhale with each repetition.