From (Sanskrit): Awkward Pose (Utkatasana)
And it’s still not me in these images. One day I’ll lose that fear and model the poses myself but not today. 🙂

As mentioned in my #1 Bikram Yoga post, all of the poses are easy as long as you breathe!

Touted Benefits

  • Helps to tone and shape your legs.
  • Heals chronically cold feet.
  • Relieves rheumatism and arthritis in the legs.
  • Helps to cure slipped discs and other problems in the lower spine.
  • Aligns skeletal system.
  • Relieves menstrual cramping.
  • Relieves sciatica.
  • Improves flexibility in toes and ankles.
  • Exercises liver, intestines, and pancreas.

Actual Experience

This posture has three parts corresponding to the images above.

Throughout the posture, the yogi’s heels stay behind the toes invisible in the front mirror. Heels do not turn in or out but remain in perfect alignment. The yogi extends his arms out and holds them up for the duration of the pose, never dropping his arms. The yogi breathes out on the way down and in on the way up for each part.

First part (far left)

The yogi separates his feet so they are shoulder-width apart or roughly 6 inches between them. (The best way to measure this is to bend down with both fists side-by-side between your feet.)

Maintaining a straight back and keeping the abdominals tight, the yogi begins to sit deep, bending his knees as if he is going to sit in a chair directly behind him. Once the yogi thinks he’s going to fall back, the pose is held for a few seconds.Then the yogi pushes back up through his feet, breathing out through his nose.

This position is like taking a giant squat and holding it longer than you think you can or want to. (Women do this when we use public toilets. It’s easy for us but still VERY effective for toning our thighs and buttocks.)

Second part (middle)

The yogi comes up high on his toes, holding this position for a few seconds. With a completely straight spine, the yogi begins to bend and lift his knees at the same time as if he’s sliding down a wall. Once the yogi’s thighs are parallel to the floor, the pose is held with the knees and thighs never collapsing on each other. The yogi then uses his abdominal strength to push back up to a standing position, while continuously lifting through the spine, chest, head, and knees.

I feel my thighs shaking and burning EVERY time I do this pose, contributing to increased thigh strength. My ankles are much stronger today and DO NOT crack like they once did. I think it’s because of this pose.

Third part (far right)

The yogi comes up slightly on his toes, pulling the inner thighs together and then slowly sliding down the imaginary wall once again. The yogi goes as far as he can (as far as just 6 inches off the ground) without separating his knees and without pain. The position is held and then the yogi uses his abdominasl to push back up to the standing position.

Because I have an injured knee, I can’t go as far as my fellow yogis. I may look like a cheater, but I feel my inner thighs working regardless of how low I can go.


Bikram Yoga, Fitness, Health, Self Improvement, Spirituality
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Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. hi,
    thought I’d share my yoga studio with you.. in Watertown NY

    sorry I can’t seem to get a link copied here


    • Thank you! Sorry for hte delayed response. we lost power this weekend due to the severe storms in MD, VA, and DC on Friday evening. My phone app hasn’t been cooperating. I’ll check it out. You are an instructor?


    • I started to write this reply and it disappeared…somewhere…
      yes, sorry about all the storms, glad you are okay…the whole country seems to be having difficult times at difference times…we here have been lucky for many years now

      no I am not an instructor, but I do appreciate my studio, we all call it that ‘my studio’ because our instructors want us to USE it and I love my yoga. But with the high temps I have to use common sense, I could never do Bikram yoga, I have some medical issues that I must be aware of always. with our lovely weather lately I’ve been biking everyday and our beautiful trail is 7 miles round trip. I also go to a gym over winter,
      have to stay active and within one’s abilities


    • That’s fantastic! Definitely do what our bodies allow us to do. I think you’d be surprised by your body’s ability to do Bikram, however. I have been trying to get my mother (who is 65+) to try it with me. The instructors recommend that early practitioners try to at least stay in the room in order to become acclimated to the heat. Most Bikram studios also have introductory specials and charge just $20 for unlimited classes the first 7 days. When I started in October 2011, I went every day the first week. By the end of the 7 days, I was able to do all poses without stopping and taking extra savasanas. I love your studio’s website. I shared it with my Facebook friends. It has some great info about the 8-fold path. 🙂


    • Glad you like our studio and thanks for sharing it. Yes we try to remember the 8-fold! and sharing that is good. While I agree with you that our bodies can do more as we allow it to do more I do feel that one should know if their medical conditions can handle it. I have certain limitations due to heart and recently with lungs…asthma and therefore I must know when to stop and when to challenge myself…common sense…heat and me do not work well together. I tried zumba 2 years ago and that is just not good for me. Biking is good for me because I can go at my own speed and pace.

      I am 66 years old and am still amazed at what I can capable of doing, everyday is different and all a person has to do is keep at it. That is what yoga has done for me


    • Yes. Yoga has taught me so much about myself and things I can and have no business tying to control. Maybe I can get my mom into a non-heated yoga class. She still rides her bike and walks. She just lost her husband (my stepfather) this past December, and I think yoga would really help her mourning process. 🙂


    • certainly yoga will help her, it takes several classes before one begins to see how it help…breathing and awareness and staying with whatever is happening…actually that’s why I started with yoga, because of some deep betrayals in my life at that time and now it is very much a part of my life.


    • That’s why I started, too! That and a knee issue that wouldn’t heal. I’m happy to report that I no longer need pain meds OR meds for my head. 🙂


    • great! yoga does heal
      unfortunately there are medical issues that do require meds, I got a few but my over all health, physical, mental and spiritual is far better for yoga…keep spreading that news.


  2. one question….when one is over 40 how does one get back up? LOL 😉


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