Fierce Pose (Utkatasana)
Stand tall, feet and legs together. Hug the thighs together, roll the shoulders down your spine. Stand tall to inhale and exhale.
Inhale, sit low (as if sitting in a chair). Keep hugging the legs together to activate the midline of your body. Breathe here. Keep pressing your tailbone down to sit low.
Inhale reach the arms forward, palms face in. Pull the shoulderblades apart to feel the chest open. Next inhale lift the arms.
Chest is open, hips are low, tailbone is reaching toward the ground, arms are high, shoulders are relaxed. Lengthen your spine by continuing to pull the shoulders apart (so shoulderblades will be pressing together). Look forward and breathe deeply, 7-10 breaths.
Stand tall to finish and fold forward, letting the arms reach toward the ground or wrap behind your calves or ankles in forward fold. Stay here 7-10 breaths.
*Challenge–Interlace the fingers and extend your arms first in front of the chest in the pose, then overhead. Arms should be as straight as possible, pressing palms toward the ceiling.
This pose coordinates directly with multiple lifts, most noticeably the dead lift. Hinging from the hips while keeping the chest open (puffing your chest out) is a key ingredient in fierce pose. Sitting low in dead lift while maintaining this open chest is also a key action of fierce pose. I like to think of drawing my belly button in toward my spine to initiate opening the chest. As you work on dead lift, consciously add breath to the movement as well as the key action of chest broadening by rolling the shoulders away from each other and pulling your belly in and up.