Utkatasana is sometimes called fierce pose, awkward chair or simply chair pose. Utkata means powerful or fierce and this pose can be just that!
This is a pose that helps to build strength in the legs and arms, and done correctly stimulates both the diaphragm and heart. If just starting out with this pose it can be taken near a wall so that you can rest your tailbone into the wall as you deepen into the pose.
To begin, stand in tadasana or mountain pose. The feet are going to come together at the big toes, knees come together. Allow the shoulders to drop away from the ears and the shoulder blades to draw down the back.
Bend into the knees while drawing the buttocks back. You can come as deeply as having the thighs parallel to the floor, but that isn’t a necessity. As you bend into the pose the arms can come up along side of the ears. You will keep the pelvic floor pulling up and keep the abdominal muscles engaged. Try to open your chest a little bit so you aren’t folding into the upper body. Root the heads of the femur bones toward the heels. You can even do this manually by placing the palms into the hip creases as you bend and push toward the floor. At the same time think about your sitting bones lifting into the pelvis. This will create a lot of muscle energy which will result in a strong core during this pose.
Once in utkatasana you can stay for about 30 seconds. You can take it for longer when you have more strength built up.
If you want to play in the pose a bit, try lifting one foot off the floor and allow it to hover and then the other. For more calf strength you could lift up to the balls of the feet.