The Lowdown on Utkata Konasana - Goddess Pose

  Also known as Horse pose, Fiery Angle pose or Victory squat.

Also known as Horse pose, Fiery Angle pose or Victory squat.

Holistic benefits

  • Heats the body.

  • Tones the core.

  • Increases circulation.

  • Creates a grounding sensation.

  • Encourages good posture by elongating the spine.

  • Improves respiration.

  • Massages the abdominal organs.

  • Stretches the hips, groin, chest and abductor muscles.

  • Strengthens the shoulders, arms, upper back, core muscles, glutes, adductors and quadriceps.

  • ‘It’s postures like this that really do evoke a sense of being proud of the strength your body has and loving the skin you’re in right now – research into body language even shows that wide-stance, open positions like this do literally increase a sense of confidence and self-worth.’(1)

  • All standing asana are great for flat feet and support the internal organs such as the kidneys, adrenal glands, digestive organs, liver, pancreas, spleen, and more!

  • A weight bearing pose to increase osteoblast & osteoclast production.

  • Builds proprioception by using the eyes, ears and muscle memory.

  • Training the Globus Pallidus, a part of brain that fires and remembers different movements. The more movements your brain can remember, the more likely you are to prevent falls.

Therapeutic applications

  • Increases strength and flexibility in the hips before childbirth.

  • Can help to relieve menstrual cramps.

  • Relieves stress.

  • Balances and integrates opposing forces – will and surrender, strength and softness, activity and receptivity – which can inspire growth toward wholeness in your entire being.(2)

  • Stimulates the release and regulation of dopamine, which is responsible for movement.

  • Helps to open the hips, shoulders and groin.

Props

Stand with your back against a wall for a gentle variation. This is helpful is balance is an issue.

If your heels can’t touch the ground place a folded blanket or yoga mat underneath them.

Variations

  1. Parivrtta Utkata Konasana, Revolved Goddess Pose

  2. Supported, reclined Goddess pose for prenatal yoga

Variations for Beginners

  • Hands at heart centre in Anjali mudra (prayer position), especially if there are any shoulder injuries

  • Half squat, do not widen your legs beyond your limit

  • Hands on hips or palms resting on thighs

  • Place a chair in front of you and rest your hands on top of the chair for stability

  • Sit on a chair as though you’re fully in the pose and rise from this position

  • Cactus arms (optional: own choice of mudra)

Variations for Advanced

  • Squat and open the hips to capacity

  • Arms extended by your side with palms facing up and a slight bend in the elbows

  • Garudasana arms

  • Arms overhead, hands separated, palms facing each other, fingers active, shoulders down

  • Arms overhead, hands in prayer position

  • Lift one heel off the mat at a time and hold or pulse. Another option to lift both heels and either hold or pulse to build more heat.

Contraindications

  • People with hypertension should avoid placing the hands overhead as it increases blood pressure.

  • Not suitable for people with hip, knee, ankle or shoulder injuries.

Alignment focus points, and why

  • Knees stacked over ankles and pointed in the same direction as the toes to protect the joint. Externally rotate the inner thighs so the knees remain in line with the toes.

  • Drawing up through the arches of the feet. Blades and toes pressing into the mat. Pada bandha switched on to ground the student, activate the thigh muscles and Mula bandha.

  • Mula and Uddiyana bandha also switched on to protect the lower back, stabilise the hips and draw the prana upwards.

  • Soften the jaw and the shoulders. These areas are likely to build tension.

  • Keep the spine long by drawing your crown to the sky (Jalandhara bandha on to lengthen the cervical spine and encourage the natural curve), lengthen through the sides of your torso and rise from the pelvis rather than sitting in the pelvis.

  • Draw the tailbone down to the Earth to avoid compressing the lumbar spine.

  • Ribs tucked in to lengthen the thoracic spine.

  • Drishti (gaze) is at the horizon or above to promote self esteem.

  • Shoulders relaxed away from the ears, but engaged.

  • Fingertips rising if the arms are overhead.

  • Garudasana arms are great for tight shoulders.

Energy anatomy

  • Goddess pose lengthens the spine to unite the upper and lower energy centres of the body. With this it also encourages deep breathing and promotes the flow of prana up through Sushumna.

  • Heat builds (agni) to burn off samskaras and past karmas (actions)

  • Helps to embrace the sacredness of femininity: In Goddess pose we can ‘celebrate the divine feminine through the forms of Shakti… the cosmic feminine force, the creative, dynamic power of Pure Consciousness that complements Shiva, the cosmic masculine principle of Pure Consciousness.’(3)

  • Instills feelings of empowerment and strength

 

By Alyssa McLeod

 

References

Gaia. 2016. Goddess Pose - Utkata Konasana | Gaia - My Yoga. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.gaia.com/pose/goddess-pose-utkata-konasana. [Accessed 05 September 2016].

Gaia. 2016. Revolved Goddess Pose - Parivrtta Utkata Konasana | Gaia - My Yoga. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gaia.com/pose/revolved-goddess-pose-parivrtta-utkata-konasana. [Accessed 05 September 2016].

Utkata Konasana - The Goddess Pose | Yogic Way Of Life. 2016. Utkata Konasana - The Goddess Pose | Yogic Way Of Life. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.yogicwayoflife.com/utkata-konasana-the-goddess-pose/. [Accessed 05 September 2016].

Yoga Tree Pose of the Month: Goddess Pose - Yoga Tree. 2016. Yoga Tree Pose of the Month: Goddess Pose - Yoga Tree. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.yogatreesf.com/pose-of-the-month-goddess-pose/. [Accessed 05 September 2016].

MERMAID YOGA: Goddess Pose Variation (Utkata Konasana) - The Mermaid Society. [ONLINE] Available at: http://themermaidsociety.com.au/mermaid-yoga-goddess-pose-variation-utkata-konasana/. [Accessed 05 September 2016].

 

Footnotes

(1) https://emmanewlynyoga.com/2015/01/01/practice-utkata-konasana-fiery-angle-pose-goddess-pose-horse-stance-why-new-year-new-you-is-stopping-us-from-loving-the-body-were-in-right-now/

(2) & (3) http://www.yogatreesf.com/pose-of-the-month-goddess-pose/