Utkaṭa is translated from Sanskrit as “difficult” or “uneven,” which is how the āsana may feel, at first, as you attempt to bend the knees and reach up at the same time. As you gain strength and flexibility, a sense of lightness and ease will replace those uneasy feelings. To perform this posture, press your legs together, stretch your arms straight, and tilt your head back to look at your thumbs. As you breathe deeply for five counts, spread your diaphragm and lift your ribcage and chest, extending the upper spine and neck as you shift your head back to look up at your thumbs. Engaging the bandhas strongly will allow you to lengthen the spine and bring lightness to this posture. The practice of Utkaṭāsana is believed to strengthen the waist and relieve pain associated with the spine.