Special note: This is considered the first pose of the Primary Series. If a student learns one posture after the other from his teacher, this would be the point where the student would begin the Primary Series. The previously described balancing poses would in fact be learned much later, after having learned about two thirds of the primary series.
In the traditional count, start here from the vinyasa of the previous posture at downward dog.
Vinyāsa 7 - Inhale. 5 Breaths:
As you inhale lift both legs as you shift your weight to your arms and lower your closed feet as far forward on the mat as you can. In the same inhalation you bend your knees as you raise your arms and close your palms together. Traditionally your gaze is on your thumbs (Aṅguṣṭa Dr̥ṣṭi). Stay here and breathe 5 breaths.
Caution: Your knees should be above (not in front of) your toes. The pressure of the cartilage of the patella should be evenly distributed. This is only possible by drawing your pelvis further back. The spine is in a slight backbend.
Vinyāsa 8 – Inhale:
At the end of the fifth exhalation, lower the arms and place the hands on the floor. Press as much weight as possible into your hands, almost as if you were to go into a somersault. In this way your feet lift themselves from the floor.
Try this: Traditionally, your knees remain bent as you lift. When you are learning this transition, you can try to kick up into handstand and then draw the knees in.
Vinyāsa 9 to 11:
Follow the vinyasa as you know it until downward dog.
In the traditional count, change here directly to the next pose.
Effect: Utkaṭāsana is a powerful pose. It activates the quadriceps and the hamstrings as well as the glutes and the bak muscles. With Vinyāsa 8 you have the opportunity to practice the first arm balance of the primary series Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.