Yoga Pose Breakdown: Upavistha Konasana – Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Sanskrit Name: Upavistha Konasana (oo-pah-VEESH-tah cone-AHS-anna)
Upavistha = Seated, Sitting
Kona = Angle
Asana = Pose

Get Started: 

  • Begin in Dandasana (Staff Pose) and then separate your legs to a 90-degree angle
  • Lean back, press your hands into the floor and slide your buttocks forward and widen your legs a bit more 
  • If you cannot sit comfortably on the floor, sit on a blanket
  • Rotate your thighs outwardly, pinning the outer thighs against the floor, so that your kneecaps point straight toward the ceiling
  • Reach your heels out, engaging through the four quarters of the feet 
  • Keep your thigh bones pressed into the floor and your kneecaps pointing toward the sky as you walk your hands forward between your legs
  • Make sure to keep your arms long and your spine long
  • Move from your hip joints and hug your midline to your spine
  • Go to whatever depth is right for you with the option to grab hold of your big toes with your peace fingers

Benefits: This pose stretches the insides and the backs of the legs while stimulating the abdominal organs and strengthening the spine. It also calms the brain and release the groins. It is therapeutic for arthritis and sciatica, and it detoxifies the kidneys.

Contradictions: If you have a lower-back injury, sit on a folded blanket and keep your torso relatively upright. 

Know Your Asana: Option to move into this pose's twisted version. From the wide-legged alignment, turn your torso to the right and press your left hand to the outside of your right thigh and right hand on the floor to the outside of your right hip. On your exhale, walk your left hand to the outside of your leg and press the top of your left hand down the along the outside of your leg, as you press the top of your left thigh into the floor to serve as support for this movement. If you can, reach your left hand to the outside of your left floor and twist to the right. Maintain a long torso.

Photo: iStock