Goddess pose, also known as utkata konasana, is a beginner level squatting pose. You can adapt this asana to your fitness level by controlling the depth of the squat and changing arm positions.
About Goddess Pose
The Sanskrit term, utkata knoasana, means powerful angle, which describes the position of the legs and hips. It is a pose that strengthens the feminine and helps you connect to the hara, a space just beneath and behind your navel that is described as your energetic center or center of your being.
This asana is performed in the standing position. Mountain pose is an excellent starting pose. To perform goddess pose:
- Stand in mountain pose with your hands at your side or in prayer position.
- Place your hands on your hips.
- Turn your body to stand facing sideways on your mat.
- Step your feet out wider than shoulder width - about four feet apart, or less or more depending on your height. Both feet should be on your mat. Your toes should point slightly out towards the front corners of your mat, and you should be able to draw a straight line between your heels.
- Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, squat, extending your knees over your toes. As you do this, engage your quadriceps and tuck your hips forward. Make sure your knees line up over your toes, but do not extend beyond them.
- Ultimately, the goal is to squat with your thighs parallel to the floor, but you can work your way up to this if you are new to goddess pose. Squat to a point where it is comfortable for you, maintaining the alignment of your heels, toes, knees, and spine.
- Extend your arms out to your sides, palms down and even with your shoulders.
- Turn your arms so your palms are facing forward, thumbs pointing at the ceiling.
- Breathe deeply for 10 to 20 breaths.
- Release by lowering your hands and arms and pressing up through your feet to straighten your legs. Step your feet forward to return to mountain pose.
You may make the following adjustments in this pose:
- If you have poor balance, do the pose with your back against a wall for balance.
- You can also place a chair in front of you, touching the back lightly for balance.
- For beginners, or if you don't have the strength for a full squat, lower only until you are comfortable.
- Change the arms if you have shoulder injuries, resting your hands on your thighs or hips.
- You can also lift your arms to the ceiling, or hold prayer hands in front of your heart.
This pose benefits the body in many ways, including:
- Opens and stretches the hips
- Stretches the groin
- Opens and stretches shoulders and chest
- Strengthens the core
- Strengthens upper leg muscles (quadriceps and inner thighs)
- Creates 'room' on the pelvis by lengthening and relaxing muscles
Strength and Grace
While goddess pose has a feminine name, it isn't just for women. With its strengthening, stretching, and balancing aspects, it can help men and women alike connect to their energy center.