Utkatasana, otherwise known as “chair pose”, and commonly referred to as “awkward chair”.
This was one of those “fire it up” poses that used to give me so much grief. My upper shoulders/neck area were already collecting my stress and tension. It brought pain and more stress to keep my triceps framing my ears! Thankfully, the practice offers so many different variations and subtle changes so that we can find the Utkatasana that works for us in that particular given moment.
For alignment sake: bend those knees; if you can not see your toes, sit the hips back a bit more; lift your arms to frame your ears and eventually the arms will be out of your range of vision; if this accentuates your lower back arch, elongate your tailbone for a longer spine; encourage the ribcage back towards the spine
The photos are arm variations that may help you find your Utkatasana.
Hands in a prayer at the heart center – this can help you lift and open the heart…without stressing out the upper shoulders/neck area
Opposite forearms behind the back – I love this arm variation because you can breathe into your forearms, and the resistance you create between the lower back and your forearms takes the exaggerated arch out of the back, and everything feels nice and supported
Hands clasped behind the back with extended arms – the length of the arms encourages a natural lengthening of the spine, as well as an openness in the shoulders
Maybe with one of these arm variations, “awkward chair” pose may turn into your Happy Seat 🙂