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The Origin and Meaning of Utkatasana ~ The Chair Pose

Updated: Sep 23, 2019


Photo by Warren Keelan

Utkata in Sanskrit has many meanings, including “powerful”, “proud” and “fierce”. The English name of this posture simply stems from the appearance of sitting in a chair, an imaginary one in this instance.

The asana actually has its origin in Hindu mythology, specifically from the Ramayana, an epic poem written several thousands of years ago. It follows the struggles of Rama, a divine prince from the Kosala Kingdom, following his exile from the kingdom by his father, King Dasharatha. With courage and strength he overcomes many struggles and challenges as he travels across the Indian subcontinent with his wife, Sita, and brother, Lakshmana. After fourteen years in exile, Rama returns to his birthplace, Ayodhya, to be crowned king and assume his rightly place on the throne. Of course, this myth is concerned with the theme of utkata: power, courage, and ferocity, all embodied by Rama. With regard to the English description, one might consider a throne as a type of chair reserved for the powerful. Perhaps as we assume utkatasana we might access feelings of pride and the power of positive affirmations and gratitude. Yoga provides us with a powerful opportunity to connect with our true selves and passions. A realization of that power can be quite liberating.

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