Awkward Pose for dummies

November 09, 2021 5 min read

Awkward  Pose (Utkatasana)


  The Awkward Pose is a three-part pose in the Bikram Hot Yoga Series also  called Chair Pose. This postures name in Sanskrit is Utkatasana, translated into English meaning Powerful Pose. In the Bikram Series  the Awkward Pose is between the Half Moon Hands to feet and Eagles Poses. You really need to focus on your breath in this pose especially the third part or you will really struggle doing Awkward. If you do not breathe properly you will quickly find out why this posture is called Awkward. Lets go over each part of Awkward and do them in order.

Lets get started in Awkward Pose !!!

  The first part of the Awkward Pose has your feet parallel with each other, and they are six inches apart. Then you need to bring your arms up nice and firm with your hands acting as an extension of arms with all five of your fingers together. You need to make sure your arms are shoulder height and width with the palms of your hands facing towards the floor. Now you are ready to set into the posture by bringing your thighs parallel to the floor but keep your arms up strong with the chest lifting. Another thing to keep in mind is that your feet should remain flat on the ground for the posture duration with the weight in the heels.

  The whole dynamic of the posture is you are pulling the body in opposite directions. If you are doing the pose correctly, your hips are pushing back with thighs coming more parallel to the floor while your hands with all five fingers together stretch to the front mirror. This is not a flat back posture, so keep in mind that your back is arched from your tail bone to your neck.

You need to make sure your stomach is pulled in throughout the whole entire posture. Your knees, thighs, and feet should be hip-width apart for the whole of the pose. The final piece of the first part of the posture is to lift your upper back like you are sitting back into a chair which will help us work the lower part of our back. You need to hold this posture for twenty seconds and then come out and get ready for the second part of the Awkward Pose.


High on your Toes


  With the second part of the posture, you come back to your neutral position with your feet six inches apart and parallel to each other and arms parallel to the floor with palms facing down. Again, you need to be aware that your stomach is pulled in during the posture and then stand as high as you can on your toes.
The next piece to the posture is to lower yourself down until your hips are two inches above your heels, and if you can not do this, just go to where you can in the posture. You need to work on straightening your feet and ankles in the, pose and eventually, you are standing so high on your toes that your pinky toes are lifted off the floor. Keep in mind you need to keep your spine is straight as if your back is against the wall. You need to hold in this posture for 25 seconds and then come out and go back to your neutral position.


The third and final part of Awkward

  In the third and final part of the posture, you need to really focus on the breadth since you need plenty of oxygen in this pose. The first thing you need to do is come up slightly on your toes and press your knees and thighs together. Remember to keep your arms up strong with palms facing down with all five fingers together.

You need to keep your stomach pulled in and lower yourself down slowly with knees and thighs together. Then you need to again make sure you are breathing as you lower yourself to the count of ten with the spine remaining straight and chest lifted. Envision yourself being pulled up towards the ceiling by your hair as you lower down. When you get to the bottom, come out of the posture, raise yourself up the same way you went in. Keep the spine straight, arms strong, and do not release the knees and thighs till you get to the top. When you have come out of the posture, come back to your neutral position.



  The Awkward Pose is a three-part posture that works the entirety of the body, particularly your spine. You should experience accelerated heart rate in the Awkward, but this is perfectly normal. From my experience, you will find out why this pose is called Awkward in this posture's third and final part. To sum things up, I have written a cheat sheet below to summarize all three parts of the Awkward Pose. There is a list of some of the health benefits of the posture below as well.


Cheat Sheet for new students and new teachers


Part 1

  • Your feet  are six inches apart
  • Feet parallel to each other facing front wall
  • Keep the feet flat
  • Knees, feet and ankles in one line
  • Arms up strong parallel to the floor
  • All five fingers together with palms facing down
  • Keep sitting till thighs are parallel to the floor. Like sitting in a chair.
  • Arch upper body back and tuck in tail bone
  • Drop shoulders
  • Suck in stomach
  • Hold for 20 seconds
  • Come out of posture, stand up straight and arms still up strong parallel to shoulders


Part 2

  • Stand up on your toes and spine straight
  • Feet still six inches apart
  • Arms remain parallel to floor with all five fingers together
  • Suck in stomach
  • Sit down but your knees and heels are up the whole time you’re sitting
  • The thighs are just above parallel to the floor
  • Change and come out of posture and go back neutral position


Part 3

  • Feet remain parallel six inches apart
  • Press your knees and thighs together
  • Arms up strong parallel to shoulders
  • Hands all five fingers together
  • Spine straight
  • Slowly lower yourself to the count of ten
  • Make sure you are breathing
  • Stomach pulled in
  • When you get to the bottom hang for a moment
  • Slowly lift out of posture
  • Knees and thighs remain together till you get to the top and arms remain strong
  • When you get to the top take a step back and arms to the side



  • Improves blood flow to knees and ankles
  • Makes hips stronger and more flexible
  • Good for concentration and focus
  • Builds strength and tone in your legs
  • Improves circulation in whole body
  • Helps heal back pain 
  • Helps heal slipped discs
  • Relieves pain from cramps 
  • Helps diminish pain from arthritis and rheumatism in lower body
  • Good for feet that are constantly cold






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