UTKATA KONĀSANA (उष्ट्रासन कोणासन)
1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your legs hip distance apart, keeping your back straight, your shoulders and arms down, and your palms facing forward.
2. Extend your legs to the side, with your feet and your legs angled to out at 45 degrees. Root down through your feet to ground yourself.
3. Engage your core to keep your back and torso straight as you bend your knees into a squat. Lengthen your spine as you press your hips slightly forward, pull your tailbone down, and sit back into your hips. Work to get your thighs as parallel to the ground as possible while keeping your knees stacked over your ankles.
4. Bring your arms out to the side, like a ‘T’, at shoulder height. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees for cactus arms. You can have your palms flat, at an angle or straight forward, or in Guyan Mudra. Alternatively, the arms can be straight up in the air by the ears, with the palms straight, in Guyan Mudra, or in Prayer Mudra, or have the arms out to the side with the elbows bent at 45 degrees and hands in Guyan Mudra.
5. Continue to draw your belly into your spine and sink into your hips. Engage your core and thighs for balance as you continue to lengthen your spine through the crown of your head.
6. Pull your shoulders back and draw your shoulder blades together to keep your chest lifted and open.
7. Hold this pose for several breaths (about 20 seconds to build strength). Breathe deeply and make sure that your breath is smooth.
8. When ready, release back into Mountain Pose (Tadasana).