This month, we look at Goddess Pose, Deviasana, a visually striking position for the body as well as one that calls for rooted strength, stability and openness.
Devi in Sanskrit refers to the primordial divine feminine force. This asana is also known as Utkata Konasana or Fierce Angle Pose. But remember that the fierceness of the Goddess arises from the profound surrender into love and non-attachment. It never comes from the constriction of a separate sense of “me” who is doing. If you find yourself egotistic about feeling fierce or strong in this pose, pause, take a moment and re-center with a sense of awe at being an interconnected part of it all.
This pose is a beautiful opportunity to experience YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine’s two-way moving energy. The feeling of powerful beingness will arise through you as you allow yourself to ground into the now. You will experience energy flow down from your navel, then out through your legs and feet and into the Earth. Simultaneously, you will allow the life-giving power of the Earth to nourish you, as her energy arises through your feet, up your spine and out the crown of your head. You become a conduit of energy between the ground and the sky, the Earth and the Cosmos.
As always in YEM, begin with a zero-point pose such as Tadasana (Mountain Pose) or Savasana (Corpse Pose), to anchor your awareness into two-way moving energy. I would suggest Tadasana. If you have particularly tight hips, you may benefit from spending time with Cat Squat before doing Goddess Pose.
Deviasana cultivates both strength and openness through the hips (beneficial for childbirth), generates heat through the whole body and improves blood circulation. It can relieve menstrual cramps. It particularly activates downward moving energy, but catalyses the movement of energy through the length of your spine. Its open stance stimulates liver, kidney and spleen meridians in the lower body; and heart, lung and pericardium meridians in the upper body.
Stand with your legs about a meter apart.
Bring your awareness to two-way moving energy. Inhale, draw life-force energy through the whale spout at the crown of your head. Sense or visualize life-force energy descending through your spine, through your body/being towards your center of gravity, just below your navel.
When you have arrived at this point, exhale and feel that life force energy split in two. It simultaneously travels back up your spine, out your crown towards the heavens, and down through your legs, out your feet and into the Earth.
Feel this two-way moving energy for a few breath cycles.
Notice the natural rhythm of your tailbone. As you inhale, your tailbone rolls slightly back and out, opening up your root energy. As you exhale, your tailbone rolls gently forward and in, naturally gathering Earth energy back up through your spine and out your crown.
Bend both knees as though you are going into a squat, so that your thighs are as close to parallel to the floor as is comfortable, your knees in line with your toes.
Deepen your awareness of your tailbone pump. Allow your mind to be neutral and your body relaxed. Inhale, as your tailbone rocks back, you open your root energy to the Earth, allowing Cosmic energy to connect to the planet. Exhale, as your tailbone rocks forward, Earth energy rise through your spine to the Cosmos.
Maintaining this energetic awareness, bring your arms up to the ceiling. Then bend your elbows, stopping at the level of your shoulders. Flatten your hands, fingers together, keeping them in alignment with your forearm. Then turn your palms in so that they face each other. Your fingertips point to the ceiling.
Allow your throat to soften and the roof of your mouth broaden, as the back of your neck opens as though you were yawning.
As your shoulder blades slide down your back, your heart flowers. Feel grounded through your spine, while the front of your body is soft and receptive.
Let the crown of your head effortlessly float towards the sky, as your tailbone releases towards the ground.
Breathe here for a few cycles, feeling the power of the two-way moving energy, your body a conduit for life-force.
When you have had enough, inhale as you feel the arising up from the ground to straighten out of the squat. Bring your arms back down to your sides, feet together. Take a few breaths here to feel the power of the practice.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (I Am Light, Electro Yog, Yoga In The Nightclub), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (Aonani of Avalon, Confessions from Your Awakened Self) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.