Goddess Pose, also known as Utkata Konasana or Kalyasana or Vijaya Asana, strengthens the thigh muscles, upper arms, and abdominal muscles.
Stand firmly in the Goddess Pose or Victory Squat and engage the vital center of existence — called the Japanese Hara — about 1 inch below the navel. Celebrate the strength, determination, and focus.
|Known as:||Goddess Pose, Utkata Konasana, Kalyasana, Vijaya Asana, Fierce Angle Pose, Victory Squat Pose, Pose Dedicated to Goddess Kali|
|Sanskrit name:||उत्कट कोणासन|
|Type:||Standing, Stretch, Hip Opener|
|Total time:||30 to 60 seconds|
|Drishti:||Nose (Nasagrai or Nasagre)|
|Chakra:||Manipura Chakra, Swadisthana Chakra, Muladhara Chakra|
|Focus:||Legs, spine, shoulders|
|Indications:||Stress, arthritis, sciatica, reproductive organs, fertility, diaphragm muscles|
|Counterposes:||Prasarita Padottanasana, Uttanasana, Garudasana|
|Preparatory poses:||Tadasana, Supta baddha konasana, Eka pada utkatasana, Malasana, Standing Forward Fold, Chair pose|
|Follow-up poses:||Temple pose, Skandasana, Tittibhasana, Warrior Pose I, Warrior Pose II, Warrior Pose III, Baddha Konasana, Utthita Parsvakonasana|
|Contraindications:||Shoulder, ankle, hips, pelvis, knees, calves, hamstrings, or leg injuries, hypertension, pregnant women|
Meaning + Origin
Utkata Konasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of three words – Utkata + Kona + Asana:
- “Utkata” = “powerful or fierce”
- “Kona” = “angle”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
It represents the divine femininity of the Hindu goddess Kali.
The posture of Utkata Konasana resembles the fiery form of Kali, which she takes to kill the demons. Kali is often associated with power – feminine energy, creativity, and fertility.
As you practice this yoga pose, be mindful of the feminine energy at work.
Through the Utkata Konasana, it invokes the powerful feminine energy within you and make you more beautiful and poised. This energy can be felt in the daily life, as a part of the pose, and also in the alignment of emotions, creativity, practices, and mantras wherever you go.
Benefits of Goddess Pose
Practicing Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana) is a useful pose for building external and internal strength, it activates Manipura Chakra, Swadhisthana Chakra and Muladhara Chakra. As a result, the flow of Prana (energy, vitality, power) through the body becomes better, it removes all blockages and keeps the body in a balanced state while the various chakras are activated.
The pose also energizes the body and gives it an extra boost. Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana) also helps a person to connect with their sensual side, and they experience bliss as a result. In addition, it also connects people with the feminine energy that is found all around us.
Good strengthening posture during pregnancy, and can help prepare the body for childbirth by creating spaciousness in the pelvis. However, the additional physical and mental benefits derived from this yoga pose are listed below:
- Physical Benefits:
- Opens the shoulders, arms, quads, hamstrings, adductors, groin, and chest
- Strengthens the spine, hips, calves, quads, hamstrings, and upper back
- Stretches the hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders, quads, hamstrings, adductors, groin, chest, and sciatic nerve
- Reduces arthritis and sciatica
- Stimulates the pelvis, respiratory and cardiovascular systems
- Improve fertility
- Improves the functioning of the reproductive organs
- Improves the alignment and posture
- Mental Benefits:
- Reduces stress
- Builds confidence and awareness
- Improve focus
Instructions to Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
- Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with arms at sides.
- On an inhale, step to the right so that feet are wider than hips. Toes point slightly. Exhale and bend the knees. Make sure the knees are over the ankles.
- While inhaling, raise the hands in the V-position. As you exhale, bend the elbows so that the upper arms are parallel to the floor at shoulder level and the forearms are straight up, palms facing forward with fingers together. Forearm and upper arms make an angle of 45°.
- The pelvis is neutral (not tipped forward or backward), and the shoulders are down and away from the ears.
- Stay in the pose for 30 to 60 seconds, feeling the “power center” get stronger with each breath.
- Return to Mountain Pose (Tadasana), keeping feet under hips and arms at sides.
- Repeat the process, if you can, widen the stance and bend the knees a little more, taking care that the knees stay over the ankles.
- Repeat the pose several times.
Focus on proper alignment and engage your core and leg muscles as you sink down into this yoga pose. The following five possible common mistakes you make while practicing the Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana) which are explained below:
- Collapsing into the pose: When you sink down into Goddess Pose, it’s important to keep your core engaged and your spine lengthened to avoid collapsing into the pose. If you collapse, it may strain your lower back and make it difficult to maintain stability in this yoga pose.
- Letting your knees collapse inward: It’s essential to keep your knees tracking over your second toe as you sink down into the pose. If you let your knees collapse inward, it can put stress on your knees and compromise your stability.
- Lifting your heels: Some people have a tendency to lift their heels off the ground in Goddess Pose, which can throw off their balance and make the pose less effective. Keep your feet firmly established on the ground and distribute your weight equally between both feet.
- Leaning too far forward: It’s essential to keep your spine straight and your chest lifted as you sink down into the pose. If you lean forward too much, it can strain your neck and make it may be difficult to maintain proper alignment in this pose.
- Holding your breath: Many people forget to breathe in Goddess Pose, which can make the pose more difficult and less effective. Remember to take slow, deep breaths as you hold the pose to help release tension and deepen the stretch.
Modifications and variations
The following five modifications are described below that you can try to make this yoga pose more accessible, if someone having difficulty with the full expression of Goddess Pose:
- Use a chair: If you have trouble balancing or need extra support, you can use a chair to help you with the pose. Stand facing the chair and place your hands on the back of it for support as you sink down into the pose.
- Widen your stance: If you’re having trouble sinking down into the pose with your feet close together, try widening your stance to make it easier to lower down. You can also turn your toes out slightly more for extra stability.
- Use blocks: If someone can’t reach the ground with their hands, they can place blocks under their hands to bring the ground closer to them. This can help them to sink down into the pose with more ease.
- Don’t sink as low: If you’re not yet able to sink down into the pose with your thighs parallel to the ground, don’t force it. Only go as low as feels comfortable for you, and work on building up to the full expression of the pose over time.
- Take breaks: If you start to feel fatigued or uncomfortable in the pose, take breaks as needed. Come out of the pose and stand up straight for a few moments to rest before trying again.
The following five variations of Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana) are described below, that you can try to deepen your practice and target different areas of the body:
- Goddess Pose with eagle arms: In this variation, you bring your arms in front of your chest and cross your right arm over your left, then bend your elbows so that your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. Now, wrap your palms around each other and lift your elbows while lowering the shoulders. Hold the pose for several deep breaths, then release and switch sides.
- Goddess Pose with side bend: In this variation, you start in Goddess Pose and then extend your left arm up towards the ceiling while bending your right elbow and bringing your right hand to your right hip. Then, lean to the right, keeping the left arm straight and the gaze towards the ceiling. Hold for several breaths, then come back to center and switch sides.
- Goddess Pose with block between the thighs: This variation is great for strengthening the inner thighs and core muscles. Begin in Goddess Pose and place a block between your thighs, squeezing it tightly. Hold for several deep breaths, then release the block and come back to center.
- Goddess Pose with twist: In this variation, you start in Goddess Pose and then bring your hands into prayer position at your heart. Then, twist your upper body to the right, hooking your left elbow over your right thigh. Hold for several breaths, then release and switch sides.
- Goddess Pose with bound hands: In this variation, you begin in Goddess Pose and then bring your hands behind your back, clasping them together. Next, lift your arms away from your back while keeping your hands bound. Hold for several deep breaths, then release and come back to center.
Precautions and contraindications
The practice of Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana) requires strength of the legs, knees, hips and lower back, so this pose practice can be a challenge, you need to keep in mind the precautions and contraindications while practicing this yoga posture should keep.
These precautions and contraindications are explained below:
Surgery or injury
Avoid practicing this yoga pose if you are recovering from injuries or have recently had surgery on the shoulders, rib cage, hips, pelvis, knees, ankles, and toes. Injuries to the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, gluteus, pelvic floor, biceps and triceps, chest, groin muscles are forbidden, and exercises should either be done with care or avoided altogether to assess injury.
As the name suggests, the practice of this mudra is fierce as it stimulates the chakras, generating heat in the body. Therefore, people with a history of blood pressure should do it under the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher/instructor, or better hold it against a wall and for a short period of time.
Even though it is beneficial for pregnant women, care should be taken not to over-stress the pelvic region, especially during the last trimester, while practicing this yoga posture. The pose should be done under the guidance of a registered parental teacher/instructor.