Utkata Konasana or Goddess Pose

utkata konasana
English Name(s)
Goddess Pose, Devi Asana, Fierce Angle Pose
Sanskrit
उत्कट कोणासन / Utkata Konasana
Pronunciation
oot-kah-tuh cone-ahs-uh-nuh
Meaning
Utkata: Powerful
Kona: Angle
Asana: Pose

Utkata Konasana at a Glance

Utkata Konasana is referred to as Goddess/ Devi Pose. Utkata means “fierce,” so the pose is also named Fierce Angle Pose. It is a powerful yoga pose with good shoulder stretching and core strength. It is considered one of the best poses for stronger and leaner legs.

Benefits:

  • Opens the Hips and Groin: The squat position in this pose helps to stretch and open the hips and groin.
  • Stimulates Blood Flow: The deep squatting position in Utkata Konasana encourages blood flow to the lower body, so it helps in improving circulation and promoting healthy digestion.
  • Tones the Core: As the core muscles are involved, it helps tone the core muscles.
  • Enhances Flexibility: The goddess pose helps in opening up the overall body.
  • Muladhara Chakra: Utkata Konasana (Goddess pose) can help activate and balance this chakra, fostering a sense of connection to the earth.

Who can do it?

Utkata Konasana, or Goddess Pose, is a yoga pose suitable for all levels, involving a wide squat with feet turned outward and hands in prayer position at the chest. It strengthens the legs and opens the hips.

Who should not do it?

  • Knee Issues: The deep squatting position can strain the knees, so people with knee pain should either modify the Goddess pose or avoid it.
  • Hip Issues: If you have hip injuries, tightness, or discomfort, Utkata Konasana (Goddess pose) might worsen the pain. Always consult a good certified yoga practitioner.
  • High Blood Pressure: Deep squatting can increase blood pressure, so people suffering from high blood pressure should consult a yoga therapist and do it with modification.
  • Balance Issues: If you have balance issues or risk falling, the wide-legged stance in Utkata Konasana might be challenging. Practicing near a wall or using a prop for support could be beneficial.

Introduction

The pose originated after the Hindu Goddess Kali, often depicted in a victorious wide-leg position. It also forms a part of the moon salutation pose since we all have masculine (governed by the sun) and powerful feminine energy (governed by the moon). It is believed to harness both the physical and energetic benefits of yoga. The squatting position refers to power and strength. It is a deep hip opener pose. The goddess pose can be a part of all the yoga sequences to have good emotional stability.

Chakra

From an energetic perspective, Utkata Konasana (Goddess pose) is said to activate the Muladhara Chakra, also known as the root chakra. This chakra is located at the base of the spine and is associated with feelings of security, stability, and connection to the earth. The pose activates the sacral chakra (swadisthana) and navel/solar plexus (Manipura) chakra. So the flow of prana becomes better. Utkata Konasana (Goddess pose) is a powerful pose that allows you to connect with your inner strength and cultivate empowerment and resilience. It opens up the heart chakra and is thus a good pose for cardiovascular systems.

How to do Utkata Konasana?
Follow the Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. Begin with the standing or mountain pose on your mat with feet together.
  2. Inhale and take your legs sideways with your hips wide apart. Turn your toes out slightly, making a 45-degree angle with your feet. Make your thighs parallel to the ground with your knees behind your toes.
  3. Your feet should point outwards with hips having an external rotation and lower down.
  4. Extend your arms straight before you and parallel to the ground. Your forearms should be parallel to each other.
  5. Keep your weight distributed evenly on both feet. The shoulders are rolled back and away from the ears. The spine should be straight and the palms facing each other.
  6. The navel should be pulled in and maintain a gaze before you. Exhale and try to push your hips down. Hold the pose for 3 to 5 breaths or till you are comfortable.
  7. Inhale and expand the chest and then exhale and relax.
  8. While exiting from the Goddess pose, Inhale as you straighten your legs, bringing yourself up to an upright position and exhale as you lower your arms back to your sides.

What are Benefits of Utkata Konasana?

  • Strengthens Lower Body: Utkata Konasana targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, inner thighs, and glutes, helping to build strength and endurance in these muscle groups through wide-legged position.
  • Opens Hips and Groin: The wide-legged stance of the pose stretches and opens the hips and groin, promoting flexibility and alleviating tension in these areas.
  • Tones Core Muscles: The engagement of the core muscles is essential for maintaining stability in the pose, leading to improved core strength.
  • Enhances Flexibility: The pose combines strength and flexibility, stretching the inner thighs, groins, and ankles while strengthening the leg muscles and targeting various muscles.
  • Stimulates Circulation: The pose encourages blood flow to the lower body, supporting healthy circulation and digestion.
  • Improves Posture: Practicing Utkata Konasana promotes awareness of alignment and balance, which can translate to improved overall posture.
  • Grounding and Stability: The wide-legged stance provides a sense of rootedness and stability, helping to ground and centre. The hands can be kept in Anjali mudra.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Utkata Konasana

  • Stress and Anxiety: As the asana focuses mainly on breathing and is a hip-opening pose, it calms the nervous system and reduces stress and anxiety. It is a part of the moon salutation series.
  • Menstrual Discomfort: The squat and hip-opening aspect of the pose can help alleviate menstrual discomfort by reducing tension in the pelvic region.
  • Digestive Issues: The squatting position can stimulate healthy digestion.
  • Pelvic Floor Health:  The pose can improve pelvic floor health.
  • Leg and Hip Tension:  The Goddess pose demands good stretching toward the hip area, so it helps reduce tension in these areas.
  • Low Energy or Fatigue:  The Goddess pose revitalizes the body’s overall energy, reducing the feeling of fatigue or low energy.
  • Low Back Discomfort:  As the core is engaged in the squat pose, it helps relieve tension in the lower back.
  • Pregnancy:  This is a good pose for reproductive organs and makes legs strong enough to carry the extra weight during pregnancy. However, it must be practiced with modifications as comfortable and in the presence of a good yoga practitioner.

Safety and Precautions

  • Knee Issues: People with knee pain should avoid the pose.
  • Hip Issues: The squat position is challenging with tight or any surgery of hips.
  • Ankle Instability: People with ankle issues may find it difficult to balance.
  • Pregnancy: As the core is engaged, pregnant ladies should avoid the pose.
  • High Pressure: Deep squatting can temporarily raise blood pressure, so it should be avoided.
  • Spinal Conditions: People with sciatica and hernia should avoid the pose due to pressure on the lower back.
  • Balance Challenges: Practice near the wall if you have problems with balance else, avoid the pose
  • Beginners: Beginners should practice with a certified yoga instructor, especially when not flexible.

Preparatory Poses

Beginner’s Tips

Ensure the shoulder blades are not tents and there is no strain on the thigh muscles and knee joints. The squatting position should be comfortable; with practice, try to keep the thighs parallel to the floor. The hip joints should be stretched slowly.

Modifications and Tips

You can place a yoga mat or folded blanket under your heels if you find the Goddess pose challenging for a good balance. You can also reduce the depth of squatting till you are comfortable.

Counter Pose

Utkata Konasana and the Breath

  • Begin with tadasana. Inhale, exhale and slowly lift your feet apart with your toes slightly out. Simultaneously bring your arms sideways, parallel to the ground.
  • Inhale and exhale. Try to push your thigh down and parallel to the ground. Your forearms should be parallel to each other.
  • Inhale and exhale, relax in the pose. Hold the pose for a few deep breaths. Maintain a straight spine and keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Release the pose by inhaling exhaling, and straightening your legs. Bring your arms back, and come back to the starting position.

Physical Alignment Principles of Utkata Konasana

  • In Utkata Konasana, see that you do not strain your thighs. Spread your legs as wide apart as comfortable. Keep them in a straight line and thighs parallel to the ground.
  • Keep your back straight with the lifted chest. Engage your core. Keep your navel pulled in. Your forearms should be parallel to the ground. Keep a mudra or involve your fingers of both hands in the pose.
  • Do not lean forward. Use a wall if needed. Maintain deep breaths.

Variations

Revolved goddess Pose, Goddess pose variation namaste, Standing squat pose on tiptoes, Goddess Pose on the chair, Goddess Pose chair side stretch, Goddess Pose eagle arms, horse Pose side stretch, Goddess Pose hands behind head side bend, Goddess Pose Eagle arms, Goddess pose variations arms straight up.

Follow-Up Poses

Common Mistakes

  • Knee Alignment: Not maintaining proper alignment. There should not be any tension in the knees.
  • Overarching or Rounding the Back: The lower back should not be overarched or round; otherwise, it will strain the lower back.
  • Squat depth: Trying to go deep into the square position too early. Progress gradually with the comfort level.
  • Weight Distribution: Weight should be evenly distributed on both the feet and heels.
  • Shoulder tension: Shoulders should be relaxed, down and away from ears to avoid unnecessary strain.
  • Collapsed Chest: The chest should be lifted and open to maintain proper breathing.
  • Lack of core Engagement: The core should be engaged to keep the spine healthy.
  • Tension in the Neck: The gaze should be forward or up as comfortable and the neck should be relaxed.
  • Straining in the Groins: The feet’ distance should not be too wide to avoid strain in the groins.
  • Breathing Irregularities: Deep breathing should be maintained throughout the pose to add to the effectiveness of the pose.

FAQs

What muscles do Goddess pose target?

It targets the glutes, calves, ankles, spine, and legs and stretches the inner groin, legs, and chest.

How many calories does Utkata Konasana burn?

If a person holds for one minute, then around 5 to 6 calories are burnt by practicing this asana.

The Bottom Line

Utkata Konasana, or Goddess Pose, is a great pose with physical and symbolic significance. Utkata Konasana inculcates strength, balance, and a deeper connection between mind, body, and spirit. Simultaneously, it helps to build strength and flexibility. A person can develop a heightened sense of body awareness and presence through mindful alignment, focused breathing, and the balance required in the pose. The pose reflects a connection with the divine feminine energy, with strength, grace, and empowerment qualities. The wide-legged position and deep squat refer to a sense of groundedness and stability, making it a powerful pose for feeling connected to the earth. It stimulates the Muladhara (root) chakra, enabling feelings of security and stability. Spiritually, it activates the heart chakra and encourages compassion and confidence.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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