Sunday, July 13, 2008

Utkatasana - The Half-Squat Pose

"Ut" means 'raised' and "kata' means "hips" in Sanskrit. This posture is known as "Utkatasana" because while practicing it, the heels and hips are raised.

1. Stand erect, keeping the feet apart at a slight angle to each other.
2. Stretch out your arms in front of your chest at shoulder level with palms turned down.
3. Inhaling, raise your body slowly until you stand on tiptoe.
4. Keep your balance.
5. Keeping the trunk and head erect, lower you body very slowly while exhaling till the back of your thighs press against the respective calves.
6. Exhaling, raise the right shoulder and bend the trunk and head together along with the raised right arm sideways to the left till the right arm is parallel to the floor.
7. Squat on your heels, without lowering the latter to the ground.
8. Squat erect on your toes and keep balance.
9. Spread the knees apart and keep them parallel to the floor.
10. Rest the palms on the respective knees and find your balance.
11. Bring the knees closer and stretch out the arms straight again in front of your chest.
12. Inhaling, rise up slowly on tiptoe, keeping your trunk and head straight, until you are standing on tiptoe.
13. Exhale.
14. Return to the starting position with the foot flat on the floor.


* This asana provides good exercise to the lower portion of the body, particularly the muscles of the hips, thighs, calves, ankles and feet.
* The tendons at the back of the legs are stretched.
* It also strengthens the toes and the muscles which support the arches of the feet.
* It loosens stiff knees and hip-joints and enhances their mobility.

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