Steps to perform Utkata Konasana
- Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) at the top of your mat with your arms at your sides. Bring your hands to rest comfortably on your hips.
- Turn to the right and step your feet wide apart, about four feet. Turn your toes out slightly, so they point to the corners of your mat.
- On an exhalation, bend your knees directly over your toes and lower your hips into a squat. Work toward bringing your thighs parallel to the floor, but do not force yourself into the squat.
- Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder-height with your palms facing down. Then, spiral your thumbs up toward the ceiling, so your palms face forward. Bend your elbows and point your fingertips toward the ceiling; your upper arms and forearms should be at a 90-degree angle.
- Tuck your tailbone in slightly and press your hips forward as you draw your thighs back. Keep your knees in line with your toes. Soften your shoulders. Gaze softly at the horizon.
- Hold for up to 10 breaths. To release, slowly return your hands to your hips. Keeping your spine upright, inhale as you press firmly into your feet and straighten your legs. Step your feet together and come back to the top of your mat in Mountain Pose.
- Stretches your hips, groins and chest.
- Strengthens and tones the core muscles.
- Strengthens the quadriceps and inner thigh muscles.
- Strengthens the shoulders, arms and upper back.
- Heats the body and increases circulation.
- Prepares the body for childbirth by creating more room in the pelvis.
- Chronic or recent injury to the hips, legs or shoulders.
- For shoulder injuries, place your hands together at heart center.