Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend  -Upavishta Konasana

Step by step

  • From Dandasana / Staff pose, bring your legs wide apart, up to a point where you feel a good stretch, but can still hold the pose, maintaining a straight spine, and without falling back.
  • Flex your feet, and keep your knees and toes pointed up towards the ceiling. Press your legs and sitting bones down, and lengthen up through your spine.
  • With a long spine, bend from the hips. Place your hands between your legs on the floor, and slowly exhale as you start to walk your hands forwards.
  • Maintain length along the front of your body as you come further into the forward bend. If you feel you are starting to arch your back, don’t lower any further.
  • Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
  • To come out of the pose, come up with a straight back, pressing your sitting bones down, as you exhale.

 

Watch Marlene Henny's Upavishta Konasana tutorial

Beginners tips

  • You can bend your knees to give you a little more room to maintain a straight spine and maybe move into the forward fold.
  • You can place your hands behind your back for support, is sitting up straight is intense enough for your hamstrings.
  • If you don’t feel the stretch in your hamstrings but you do behind the knees, take a block or a folded blanket and place it under your knees.
  • To help your pelvis to tilt comfortably forward, sit on a folded blanket or block.

Benefits

  • Stretches the hamstrings and inner thighs.
  • Opens the hips and back of the body.
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs.
  • Strengthens your spine‚Äč.

 

Watch out for

  • Use as many props as needed for your pelvis to tilt forward. Practising this pose with height under your pelvis will allow your body to open up a lot quicker than it would if you were sitting on the ground and trying to force yourself forwards.
  • Ensure you maintain a long spine. There is always a tendency to round the back in this pose. Height under the pelvis helps to maintain length along your back.
  • Draw your shoulder blades down your back, and together slightly. Relax your shoulders away from your ears to avoid creating unnecessary tension in your upper back and neck.
  • Keep engaging your thigh muscles to lift your kneecaps and help support your knees.

Variations

  • Explore the side-bend variation of this pose:  
  • Ground through your sitting bones, engage your core slightly and lengthen your spine. Allow your right hand to move down your right leg towards your toes.
  • Lift your left arm up as you inhale. With an exhalation, take your left arm up and over, alongside your ear, ensuring that you keep your chest open.
  • Look underneath your arm if it’s comfortable for your neck. Keep length in your side body, and keep your pelvis tilting forwards.
  • To come out of the pose, engage your core, bring awareness to the muscles of your left side body, and come up with an inhalation. Repeat on the other side.