Yoga pose of the month: Goddess
Just this morning I was asked by a coworker what my favorite yoga pose was, to which I responded with not one, or two, but five beloved poses. I couldn’t choose just one, as all poses benefit and influence our body and mind differently depending on the day, hour, mood. What then followed was a discussion of what it was that drew us to a particular pose, and a common answer we both shared was not only the feeling, but also the visual of strength and empowerment. I find that when I visualize myself in a pose, I am able to harness that energy of what the pose represents to transform and deepen my practice and then carry that with me out of the studio.
One of the poses that has a strong visual impact on my practice is the Goddess pose, or Utkata Konasana, which literally translates into fierce angle pose. For me, it allows me to awaken the “goddess” within by channeling that feminine force and experience the powerful energy that encompasses the grounding pose.
A great pose to open up your chest and hips while also strengthening your lower body, this pose also allows you to take a moment to bring back awareness to your breath and to observe any discomfort or disquiet physically and mentally.
1. From mountain pose, bring your right foot out so that you are standing with your feet about three feet apart, turned out to a 45 degree angle with your heels facing in. Raise your elbows so that they are actively at shoulder height, bent, and with your palms facing in.
2. Exhale, and bend your knees into a squat, pressing the hips forward while your knees press back to create a deep hip opening. Focus on your shoulders, removing tension from them by dropping your shoulders from your ears and rolling them down the back as if pressing the shoulder blades together, creating a gentle heart opening of the chest.
3. Hold for three or four full rounds of breath, before releasing on your inhale by guiding your hands above your head and then bringing them down to Anjali Mudra, or prayer hands, in front of your heart.
Tip: If you find that you are having difficulty creating a straight spine, try this pose with your back up against the wall for added support.