In Hindu mythology, the goddess Kali can often be found depicted in battle, basking victoriously in her trademark squatting posture. Kali’s fierceness symbolizes the power and strength of feminine energy, ever mindful of her call to protect all beings from negative forces. When you assume goddess pose — referred to in Sanskrit as utkata konasana (“fierce angled”) — you bring forth this victorious and intense energy of the goddess!
Benefits of Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)
This is a deep external hip opener, lengthening the adductors of your inner thighs and strengthening your calves, quadriceps, glutes, and core. Goddess pose is also a good prenatal posture for expectant mothers, engaging the pelvic floor and opening the pelvic girdle.
How to Perform Goddess Pose
- Start at the top of your mat in mountain pose (stand tall with your big toes touching, heels slightly apart, hands at your sides, palms facing forward).
- Step your left leg back 3-4 feet, and, pivoting on your heels, turn to face the side of your mat. Your feet should be parallel.
- Turn your toes outward to 45 degrees, and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Your knees should track over your ankles without caving inward or bowing outward.
- Draw your shoulder blades back and downward, lift your chest, and tuck your tailbone.
- Engage your core, and, using a sweeping motion, extend yours arms straight overhead, palms facing in. Hold the pose for 30-60 seconds.
Beginner’s Tip for Goddess Pose
Maintaining proper knee alignment is the challenge of the pose, as well as its most important safety cue. Keep your knees from tracking too far inward or outward — and potentially exposing you to injury — by lining them up with your toes.
How to Make Goddess Pose Easier
If you need to modify goddess pose, you can keep your hands on your hips for balance. You can also lower yourself into a shallower squat if necessary.
How to Make Goddess Pose Harder
To deepen the pose and further challenge your balance and leg muscles, lift your heels and balance on your toes.