Hot 26 Pose Breakdown: Awkward Series

Pose: Awkward series
Sanskrit: Utkatasana

Since I began doing Hot 26 in 2018, Awkward series is the one I’ve seen the most improvement on over the years. I credit that also to being a runner.

One of the hardest things about this pose when you’ve never done it is to keep the arms up at all times. With practice, like anything else, this starts to feel more natural in the body.

Pose Breakdown

The series, which follows Half Moon series, goes as follows:
Feet are at least hip distance apart. Arms are parallel to floor, plugged into shoulder sockets. Take an inhale and sit down in your chair pose on the exhale, with knees tracking toes and slight curve (updog) in the spine.

Awkward series in Chair – Photo by David Greedy

Arms stay parallel as you rise up on the inhale. Heels come up as if wearing high heels. Keep the heels up while bending legs with a straight back, as if sliding down the wall. Tailbone should be tucked.

Awkward series (heels high, knees bent) – Photo by David Greedy

Legs straighten, heels come down. Then press your thighs and knees together. Arms stay up while squatting. Heels can come up. Hips are higher than your knees. Stay on the upswing of the bounce when coming to the lowest point of the squat.

Awkward series (squat) – Photo by David Greedy

If you struggle with balance initially, can always go to a bar with your hands on for support, or a wall with your fingers lightly touching. But work toward moving away a little bit each time.

Rise up on the inhale. Heels down, feet together, arms down. Mountain Pose.

We do two passes of this in class. Running has allowed me to go lower in this pose over time. Keeping the back straight as I go down in my squat is something I need to be reminded of still.

Some benefits of the Awkward Series that stick out for me:

  • Strengthens all the leg muscles and upper arms
  • Increases hip flexibility
  • Relieves lower back pain

Enjoy this video that provides a breakdown of this series.

Return next Monday for the following pose in the Hot 26 sequence: Eagle

Note: While I’ve been doing Hot 26 for several years, like any yoga practice the poses are always a work in progress. The photos of me in this series will display what I was best able to do at that moment in time. Some poses feel “perfect” in my body but aren’t quite the fullest extension of them in a photo, and vice versa. With that in mind, consider the text just as much – if not more – as the image.

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