YogaAndBackCare - Utkata Konasana

Utkata Konasana

Utkata Konasana translates to Fierce Angle Pose but it is often known as the Goddess Pose.This pose is also sometimes called the Sun Goddess and is recommended for working on Muladhara, the Earth Chakra that is considered to be located on the pelvic floor between the pubis and the tailbone.

To me the most important feature of this pose is the need to work on the pelvic floor muscles.

The pose is said to strengthen the hips, the groins and the chest but most students find the demands on the quad muscles and the inner thighs the hardest part and it is easy for them to appreciate that the posture works on those muscles. If the arms are held up as in the photo, then the shoulders, upper back and the arms will also feel the pose working them.

It is also supposed to be a good posture for pregnant mothers but care should be taken to make sure the pregnant mother concentrates on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. Her pregnancy will already be making her suppler across the groin than normal and she must take care not to overdo the turn out this pose asks for.

In theory it is very simple. From Tadasana, the Mountain Pose, step your legs out about four feet apart. Turn each foot out about 45 degrees. Then imagining you have a wall behind you sink your bottom down so that your thighs become parallel with the floor, another words horizontal.

The big thing to work on in this pose is the pelvic floor. On an out breath, imagine you are pulling your sit bones together. These are the ischial tuberosities. Really concentrate on bringing them closer even though your legs are widening your pelvic area.

Now again on an out breath try and tuck your coccyx under your pelvic floor towards your pubic mound, and visualise yourself pulling your pubic mount towards the centre of the front of your rib cage, the xiphoid process.

Finally try (and we are still working with the out breath ) and imagine you are stopping yourself doing a poo and stopping yourself doing a wee. So now all the pelvic floor muscles should be working.

You may need to do this in stages but ultimately you should be able to do all this muscle tightening on one out breath. Relax the tension for the in breath so your diaphragm can expand fully to enable you to intake maximum air.

It may be reassuring to see in the photo that the teacher hasn't managed to get her thighs horizontal. But note how she is trying very hard to keep her trunk upright.

Things to think about..

The knees must track the line of the thigh, so the knee needs to be vertically above the ankle, not pointing forward.

The trunk should be upright.

The upper arms should be horizontal, the lower arms vertical and the palms horizontal.

The expression should be serene, after all this is a Goddess pose.

Breathing should be regular and on out breathes, you can explore whether you can lower your bottom a bit further to make a better shape.

When you see Indian dancing, you will realise that ultimately the pose will have the feet at right angles to the trunk and the thighs will make a straight line rather than a V shape if you look down from above on the shape the posture makes.