Everybody loves Fall. Some of us find relief from hot humid summer days, embracing the cooler temperatures; changing leaves create exquisite, colorful displays of natural art; and it’s the time of year when people gather around the harvest celebrating the abundant fruits of our labor.
According to Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, Fall is the vata time of year. Known for cooling, dry winds and a corresponding tendency toward an overactive mind, the vata season can leave us feeling fatigued, depleted and emotionally reactive; not to mention we may experience a deep sense of inner restlessness often paired with an inability to sleep when we seem to need it most. So when the vata winds blow, practicing grounding yoga postures can help to alleviate symptoms of imbalance.
As you know, yoga has benefits on so many levels: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. Knowing not just the physiological impact of the poses, but also their symbolic influence, can really aid in getting ALL the benefits. While literally spending time on the ground is, well, grounding, standing postures can add strength and energy helping us how to find balance on our own two feet.
One of my favorite postures for grounding & strength is Goddess pose. The Sanskrit word for Goddess pose is Utkata (powerful or fierce) Konasana (angle pose). Goddess pose asks us to get in touch with the divine feminine within ourselves, balancing our strength and power with deep inner wisdom. Now more than ever, among political turmoil and the holiday season, we need to look within and access the transformative and creative energy of the Goddess.
– Tones core & glutes
– Stretches hips & groins
– Strengthens muscles of the legs
– Grounding & centering during Vata season & beyond
– Lengthens spine & improves posture
– Warms you up & boosts your energy… perfect for late Fall and all through the cold Winter months.
Ready to get started?
*This pose is contraindicated if you are experiencing injury to the hips, legs, ankles or feet
How to Practice Goddess Pose
1. Beginning in Tadasana (aka a comfortable standing posture with your feet hip width & parallel at the top of your mat), take a big, open step with your right foot toward the back of your mat. Turn your toes out to a 45 degree angle. Advanced practitioners can begin to bring the heels in line with the toes (and the long edge of the mat).
2. Bend your knees so they land directly over the ankles, sending the knees toward the second two toes of each foot. Drop the tailbone down and sink the hips while engaging the core. Lift up on the pelvic floor & draw the navel in toward the spine.
3. Cactus your arms out & spread your fingers, allowing your pinky fingers to rotate inward. Hands can face each other, allowing shoulder blades to glide down your back.
4. Lift through the heart center and take the floating ribs in, lengthening through the spine.
5. Take five deep breaths, allowing your exhalation to grow longer than the inhalation. Repeat several times adding variations that help you to open and feel grounded.
The twist: Take your hands to your thighs. Inhale into your belly. Exhale and drop right shoulder into the center, taking your gaze over your left shoulder. Inhale into your belly and come back through center. Then, exhale and drop your left shoulder into the center, gazing over right shoulder.
Extra grounding: Add a gentle bounce to your goddess pose, rooting down through the heels. Allow arms to hang down like empty coat sleeves and shoulders to relax, so your energy roots down into the ground.
Open hips: Sway or rock side to side, placing about 75% of your weight on one foot and then the other foot.