Goddess pose (Utkata Konasana)
Goddess pose, or goddess squat, is a standing, wide-legged pose that strengthens the entire lower body, particularly the legs. It's a good hip- and chest-opener, and helps improve balance and focus, particularly if you go up on tiptoe. Goddess Pose is also highly beneficial for pregnant women as squatting can create more room in the pelvis, making labour and childbirth more comfortable.
Stand with your feet wide apart, toes pointing outwards. Bend your knees so that they are in line with your ankles. Pull the navel inwards and tuck your tailbone under slightly, releasing any tension you may have in your lower back. Inhale and extend your arms at shoulder height, then bend the elbows. Your palms will be facing outwards. It's important you keep your elbows at the same level as your shoulders. You can also flex your wrists, placing your hands so that the palms face the ceiling.
For a more intense leg workout, come up onto tiptoes when you inhale, and back down when you exhale. Repeat as many times as you can, and hold the last one for a count of 5 if you can. Come out of the pose and shake everything out.
I'll then repeat the pose, combining it with another one, just for a bit of fun on a Friday night ;-)
CONTRAINDICATIONS: Please do not perform this pose if have a recent or chronic injury to the legs, hips, back, or shoulders.