This strong standing squat is also sometimes referred to as Fierce Angle pose. It gives you an excellent sense of grounding firmly through the pelvis, legs and feet as you lift through the spine. It provides a good opportunity to make enquiries about the relative balance, strength and wakefulness of the left and right buttocks, thighs, lower legs and feet.
Goddess Pose - step by step
1. Positioning your feet and legs From a standing position, step the feet wide. It's helpful to explore different widths of stance and notice how they change your experience of the pose. Try a narrow stance, then wider, then wider. You could end up with the ankles about a metre apart. Work to find a comfortable position that feels stable and strong. Turn the feet out 45 degrees so they point to the corners of the room.
2. Positioning your arms and hands. Raise the arms out to the sides till the wrists are level with the shoulder joints. Bend the elbows bringing the forearms into a vertical position. So now the upper arms are at about 90 degrees to the trunk. And the forearms are at about 90 degrees to the upper arms. We call this 'cactus position'. Turn the palms in to face in. Spread the fingers wide, stretching out the palms of the hands.
3. Moving into your squat As you exhale bend the knees, sinking the pelvis towards the ground. It's helpful to explore coming into and out from this several times, lowering the pelvis a little more each time. Working to find a comfortable degree of challenge. Moving in a way you enjoy, that engages your interest.
4. Checking your knees Try not to let the knees drop in towards the centre line of your stance. Press the knees back. Have the kneecaps pointing in the same direction as the centre toes of the feet. We don't want to stress the knee.
5. Lifting from the pelvis Softly lift through the pelvic floor, draw the navel in a little and up to wards the spine. Lift through the sternum. Lift through the back of the head. Just enough to sense a subtle thread of a lift through your core, from the pelvic floor through the crown. Be ready to let go of these movements, almost completely.
6. Opening the chest Roll the shoulders back. Draw shoulder blades down softly towards the waist. Draw the elbows back to open the chest, Keep the arms active. Press the chest toward the front of the room.
7. Work with the gaze Cast the gaze forward. It's helpful to explore looking in different directions too, just to notice how the direction of the gaze affects the position of the head, spine and pelvis. Then return to casting the gaze forward.
8. Return to focusing in your breath and body sensations. Breathe long and slow and deep through the nose, to help settle you in the pose. Always be ready to make adjustments. Hold for 3-6 breaths.
9. Coming out of the posture, slowly, with control. To come out from Goddess Pose, inhale and straighten the legs, reaching the fingertips to the ceiling, then exhale and release the arms to the sides.
Benefits & contraindications
Benefits Goddess Pose opens the hips and chest while strengthening and toning the lower body. It stimulates the uro-genital, respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Contraindications Recent or chronic injury to the legs, hips or shoulders.
Keep the knees pressed back, so they don't drop in towards one another.
Distribute the weight as evenly as you can between both legs and feet.
Engage the buttocks, thighs and lower legs evenly.
Ensure that your knees are pointing in the same direction as your toes to help protect your joints. If necessary, adjust the placement of your feet
You can practice a Lion Pose of the face as you sink the pelvis. Exhale forcefully as you open the mouth wide. Stretch the tongue out as far and wide as you can reach it. Squeeze the apples of your cheeks firmly upwards. Raise your eyebrows and widen your eyes.
To explore a deeper variation of the pose, try lifting up onto the balls of your feet while you keep your thighs parallel to the floor and your knees over your toes.
Low back, hip or knee or ankle issues If squatting is difficult, sit on the front edge of a chair seat, thighs forming a right angle to your torso, heels on the floor slightly ahead of your knees. Lean your torso forward between the thighs. Shoulder limitations If you have any shoulder injuries or limitations, fold your palms together at heart as opposed to taking the arms out to the sides.
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