Benefits of the pose:
Traditionally this pose is taught with the inner edges of the feet touching, however for this purpose we are going to suggest standing with your feet about hip-width apart. Makes for a more stable foundation.
Getting into the pose:
Begin by bending the knees rather deeply (if you have delicate knees, ease your way into the pose and back off if you feel pain).
As you bend your knees, move your hips back in space as if you were about to sit down on a chair. You want to end up with a fair amount of weight in the heels. If you look down you should be able to see your toenails.
As you take your hips back in space, your torso will begin to tip forward to balance the weight. Lift the lower belly by drawing the sides of the navel back towards the spine. Anchor your tailbone, lifting the anterior (front) side of the pelvis up towards your chest. You want to work your torso towards an upright positing without tucking the pelvis under nor straightening your legs – your back should be firing up now!
Finally raise your arms up alongside your ears. Notice if you have lost the length and lift of the spine or if your shoulders are cramping up around your ears. If so, take the arms straight out in front of you. Either way let the palms face one another and ‘cinch’ the shoulder blades into the body (towards the ribcage).
Once you’re in the pose:
Hold about 60 seconds. To release, straighten the legs, keep the engagement in the belly towards the spine and the tailbone drawing down towards the floor, lower the arms by the sides – stand in Tadasana.
You can repeat this two more times and, every so often, extend the length of your stay in Utkatasana until you reach two minutes.