Benefits and Uses
Chair pose is a challenging leg and back strengthening pose. As its name indicates, the position of the practitioner is like that of sitting in a chair. In early pregnancy this pose is excellent for strengthening the legs in preparation for the extra weight they will soon need to carry. As pregnancy progresses, the hormone relaxin will loosen your ligaments and make balance more challenging. Use caution in later pregnancy and see the modifications below for safety tips.
Come to stand on your mat with your feet hips-width apart (about two fists distance). Begin to bend your knees as you sink your hips down, as if to sit in a chair. Keep your back straight and long as you angle it slightly forward in order to accommodate the shifting distribution of weight. Sink as far as your leg strength and balance will permit, creating a 90-degree angle between your back and thighs. If shoulder and arm strength permits, reach your arms up over your head, palms face one another at shoulder distance apart. For less intensity, reach your arms out in front of you, palms facing each other or the floor, or bring your palms together at your chest into a prayer-like position. Tuck your tailbone under slightly to lessen the curve in your lumbar (lower spine) and to keep it free from excessive crunching or pain. Breathe as you feel your body’s shifting relationship to gravity and your quadriceps muscles strengthening.
- Breath: Use ujjayi breath in this pose to create long, even breath. Focus on your breath when the pose becomes challenging instead of the difficulty.
- Modifications: Balancing in this pose can be challenging even without a growing belly, so use caution as your baby grows. By your third trimester the pose is likely to become very challenging, as the pose will require more and more back strength to support your belly and keep your weight evenly distributed over your feet. Bring your arms in front of you for less intensity and rest them lightly on a chair or table in front of you, maintaining the strength in your legs for support. Sink less deep if you feel instable or the pose is too challenging. Do not fully rely on a chair or other moveable object for your safety (as it may shift), but instead use the object as a guide, letting your body do most of the work.
- Release: Come out of the pose by using your leg strength to slowly return to stand, as you simultaneously return your arms to your sides. Come to sit comfortably to rest if needed or shake out your legs and arms in order to help relax in the release.