Rox Does Yoga

Musings on Everything Yoga

Pose of the Month: Goddess Pose February 28, 2012

Filed under: Pose of the Month,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 1:30 pm
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Pose Name: Goddess Pose

Sanskrit Name: Utkata Konasana (Fierce Angle Pose)

Steps:

  1. Begin in a wide-legged stance, with feet about three feet apart, or roughly the length of one of your legs. Angle your feet so your toes point out and heels point in, about a 45 degree angle.
  2. Exhale and bend both knees deeply. Don’t allow the knees to swing out to the front – keep knees right over the ankles. Also, be sure to keep your knees and your toes pointing at the same angle – if needed, adjust the angle of your feet a bit. Tuck your tailbone under.
  3. Keeping your back straight, raise your arms up to shoulder height. Bend the elbows so your fingertips point toward the ceiling. Palms face forward or in, and fingers are active and extended. Drop the shoulders down and back, and press the chest forward.
  4. Look straight ahead and breathe. (Ujjayi breath is great to use here.)
  5. To come out, exhale and release the arms down, then inhale and slowly straighten the legs.

Benefits:

Goddess pose offers many of the benefits of a squat: it’s a great hip opener and works to stretch the pelvic floor, and, like a squat, it’s a great pose for improving your sex life and for pregnant women to practice for those reasons. It also offers many of the benefits of the warrior poses: strengthening the arms and legs and building heat and stamina. Goddess pose is also a great heart opening pose, stretching and strengthening the muscles of the chest.

Contraindications:

Those with knee injuries should work gently and mindfully in goddess pose. If you have poor balance, you could try practicing the pose with your back against a wall for support.

My Experience with Goddess Pose:

Although I’ve always liked this pose, I didn’t practice it often until just recently. Now that I’m pregnant, I find this pose is a nice alternative to a squat and a great supplement to my warrior series: I really enjoy bringing some strong feminine energy to my standing sequence, since the warrior poses feel so masculine to me. I love this pose because it feels elegant and fierce, strong and grounded.

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10 Responses to “Pose of the Month: Goddess Pose”

  1. Haven’t seen this pose till now! :)

  2. Tori Says:

    I’ve also liked this pose as an alternative to utkatasana. (It strengthens similar muscles for me, and the energy “feel” of the poses is similar for me.) It’s not as convenient to work into, say, a sun salutation (at least not at the same point), but being able to stretch through my hips while strengthening in my quads = a plus for me.

    • R. H. Ward Says:

      That makes a lot of sense. I find this pose easier in some ways than utkatasana, and I think it’s definitely easier to get the alignment right (in utkatasana I’m always wondering if my knees should be out past my toes). I love the hip stretch in Goddess too.

      • Tori Says:

        The balance v. knee alignment in chair is what’s tricky for me. My hips are wide enough that doing chair with my legs together takes away some of the stability, which limits how deeply I can bend into the pose. On the other hand, if I do chair with my legs hip width apart, it’s trickier to keep the knees in safe alignment. In goddess, the knee alignment is much more intuitive for me.

      • R. H. Ward Says:

        YES! My husband and I were just talking about this (after I made my students do chair pose in last night’s class) – he mentioned he’s used to doing the pose with feet together and that that makes it more difficult but also harder to keep balance. I commented that the way I teach it, with a wider stance, feels more stable, but you’re exactly right, the knees get trickier. In goddess I don’t feel like I’ve ever had to worry about my knees, possibly because the feet are facing out? The knees just go where they’re supposed to. Whereas with chair pose, I think about my knees every single time I do the pose.

      • birdmaddgirl Says:

        I’ve most often been taught not to let the knees past the toes in utkatasana.

        Mimi teaches a shallower chair pose than other instructors I’ve had, emphasizing pulling the weight back, stacking the joints, and maintaining a straight spine over getting low in the pose (she uses dynamic movement through ardha-utkatasana to get more depth in the posture and fire in the quads).

        I find that asking students to be able to lift their toes and stay light in the balls of the feet seems to help with the balance on the knees-together version.

        Of course, the approach to the pose depends on what aspects you’re looking to emphasize in a given practice, so different options will be useful at different times.

  3. [...] article on Chair Pose that I really appreciated, since Chair is one that I struggle with a bit (see the comments here and my write-up from last year here). They describe the alignment bit by bit – getting the [...]

  4. [...] Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana): A great thigh strengthener and hip opener! If you’re not familiar with Goddess, see my previous post for more details on how to do it and why it’s good for preggos. [...]


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