Today Effortless and Exquisite’s yoga expert, Megan Hively, shares strengthening and lengthening yoga to do at home.  Start the new year off energized and healthy!  Thanks Megan!

                                           



A lot of the activity we partake in on a daily basis occurs in front of our bodies.  We walk forward, we sit with our legs in front of us, we extend our arms to the front while we drive, type, eat, etc.  It can start to feel like we have only one direction we can move.  Break free of the straight and narrow with one of my favorite, fierce, wide-legged, arm expanding poses – Goddess! 

Goddess pose is a true multi-tasker.  It strengthens the legs, opens the chest, shoulders, and hips, and can improve balance and concentration.  This pose can also be a perfect addition for a woman who is expecting because it has pelvis-opening properties (check with your doctor first, of course!).  Personally, I find this pose incredibly empowering!  That might have a little to do with the name (I mean, Goddess, right?), but it is also because of the focus it takes and how sturdy my body feels while in this powerful squat. 
Lets first warm-up the legs and upper body with a little side-to-side movement with the breath. 
Begin on your mat in a wide stance.  Toes face forward.  
                                           
Inhale arms above your head, look up at your hands while keeping your abdominals engaged.  

                                           
Exhale and bend your right knee, hinging the hips to sink into your right side.  Bring hands to heart center.  Make sure to keep your right knee behind your right toes.  This does not have to be a very deep squat.

                                          
Inhale back to center.

                                           
Exhale and sink into left side.  Again, making sure the knee stays behind the toes.  

                                           
Repeat this side to side for 6 – 10 breaths.  

                                           
Next, we will move into Goddess.
Adjust your feet so your toes are pointing to the corners of the mat.  Inhale arms high above your head.

                                          
Exhale and sink into your hips into the Goddess squat, moving your knees over your ankles (making sure the knees do not extend over the toes).  Squeeze between the shoulder blades and bend the arms.

                                           
Inhale and squeeze the inner thighs while raising arms above your head to return to start.  Exhale into Goddess. 

                                           
Repeat 3 times and then hold the Goddess squat for 3 to 5 breaths feeling the strengthening, lengthening, and empowering qualities of this fierce yoga pose!  You go, Goddess! 


Megan Hively is a Certified Yoga Instructor, group fitness instructor and Certified Personal Trainer in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.  She is the Fitness Director at KadiFit Studio in Cornelius, North Carolina and the owner of Yoga To You Wellness, LLC. 
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