Utthita Kukkutasana / Lifted Cockerel or Rooster Pose

Apr 13th, 2015

“Kukkuta” is the Sanskrit word for cockerel or rooster, and Kukkutasana mimics a rooster in a standing position. In Utthita Kukkutasana, the knees are placed next to the armpit instead of having the legs wrapped around the arms like in Kukkutasana.

The whole body is working in this pose that makes it both challenging and rewarding. Full body awareness must be present to achieve the pose and enjoy its benefits.

Asana Overview

Chakra Awareness
Manipuraha Chakra / Solar Plexus

Practice Level

Degree of Difficulty (100 being most difficult)


Wrist Flexion
Flexing of the wrist joints wherein the back of the hand moves backwards, towards the lower arm.

Forward Bending
A spinal movement done with the flexion of the spine, supported by different abdominal and back muscles.

External Hip Rotation
A movement of turning the thigh or pelvis outward; also known as lateral rotation.

Hip Flexion
A movement of the hip joint muscles done by bringing the thigh or top of the pelvis forward (e.g. thigh moving closer to the abdomen).

Scapular Protraction/Abduction
Moving the scapula away from the midline of the body, having the sensation that the chest muscles are squeezed together.

Ankle extension
Extension of the ankle resulting in the top of the foot moving away from the body.

Challenges Faced During The Practice

Core muscles strength and body coordination
Awareness and proper body coordination is necessary as the core muscles (abdominals, back and thighs) are unassisted when going into Utthita Kukkutasana.

Hip Rotation Limitation
As the pose requires the feet to be in Padmasana/Lotus pose, any tightness in the hip area will pose as a challenge in going to the pose.

Arm and shoulder strength
As the arms support the body in this pose, arm and shoulder strength is necessary. Practitioners must keep the arms and shoulders engaged to stabilize the body while in the pose.

Chances of Injury
Falling forwards or backwards while in the pose
Wrist injury, elbow injury
Hip and knee injury while in Padmasana

Existing back, hip, elbow, shoulder, knee or wrist injury

Major Muscled Involved

Muscles of the hand, specifically the flexor carpi ulnaris and flexor carpi radialis
The group of muscles in the hand and wrist that allow the extension and flexion of the wrist.

Rectus Abdominis
It is responsible for the flexing of the lumbar spine and keeping the internal organs intact. It also assists in childbirth, bowel movement, coughing, and in breathing when doing forceful exhalations.

Composed of the Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor, this muscle makes up most of the chest area muscles and is responsible for the movement of the shoulder joint. The Pectoralis Major keeps the arm attached to the trunk of the body while the Pectoralis Minor stabilizes the scapula.

The large muscle on the back of the upper arm, and is primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint. It originates from the scapula and also acts on the rotation and adduction of the arm.

Best Time to Practice
Morning, when the body is refreshed and energized.


Adho Mukha Padmasana/
Downward-Facing Lotus Pose

1. Sit in Padmasana with the back slightly arched. Inhale and raise the arms above the head.
2. Exhale and go into a forward bend with the chest touching the legs, forehead or chin on the floor and arms extended.
3. Stay for a few subtle breaths and release the pose.

Benefit: Promotes the external rotation of the hips.


Approach 1 –  From seated

This approach requires more arm strength and body coordination as the movement is against the gravity (i.e. pushing the body up and away from the floor). This is also an option for those who need the hands to help fold the legs into Padmasana.

Sit in Padmasana with the back slightly arched. Inhale and raise the arms above the head.


To read the full article please download our Asana Journal App or purchase Issue 148 April 2015

Asana Journal

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