Unveiling Upavishta Konasana
Upavishta Konasana, also known as the Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend, is a seated yoga posture that appears later in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series. This series is a sequence of poses designed to gradually build strength, flexibility, and balance, while also promoting mindfulness and breath control.
In Upavishta Konasana, practitioners sit on the floor with their legs spread wide apart in a V-shape. The spine is extended, and the forward bend is initiated from the hips, allowing the torso to fold forward. The hands are placed on the sides of the feet, providing support and encouraging a deeper stretch.
Hamstring and Groin Flexibility: Upavishta Konasana is a fantastic stretch for the hamstrings and groin muscles. Regular practice gradually increases flexibility in these areas, helping to alleviate tension and reduce the risk of injury.
Hip Opening: The wide-legged stance and forward bend create a deep hip-opening effect. This can be particularly beneficial for those who spend a lot of time sitting, as it counteracts the tightness that can develop in the hips.
Spinal Extension: The forward bend is initiated from the hips, which encourages lengthening of the spine. This helps to improve posture and alleviate back pain.
Improved Digestion: The compression of the abdominal region in this pose can stimulate the digestive organs, aiding in digestion and reducing bloating.
Click here to watch the YouTube tutorial for Upavishta Konasana
Step-by-Step Instructions for the Full Expression of Baddha Konasana with Sanskrit Vinyasa Count
We will be entering this posture from downward facing dog, having just taken a vinyasa after Baddha Konasana to seated position.
From downward facing dog, Inhale and look forward as you walk or hop your feet through and sit down on the ground. Take your legs out wide. Flex your feet and grab the outside of your feet with your hands.
Exhale, fold in between your legs. Push your tummy down to the floor. Breathe here for five deep breaths. Throughout the posture work to keep your head up, chest forward, and stretch your chin to the floor. Stretch your tailbone backwards and press your feet forward – Tensegrity (oppositions of force). Look down your nose (Nasagrai Drishti). Inhale, lift your head up and lengthen your spine.
Exhale. Inhale as you lift up and grab your outer feet with your hands. Balance on your sits bones. Take your head back slightly and look up, Urdhva Drishti. Breathe here for five deep breaths.
Exhale, lower your chin back to a neutral position.
Inhale, place your hands on the ground next to your hips. Cross your legs, lift your body up off the ground.
Exhale and jump back into Chaturanga Dandasana.
Inhale into upward facing dog
Exhale into downward facing dog
Tap above or click here to watch the YouTube tutorial for Upavishta Konasana
Modifications for Upavishta Konasana
Wall Support: Sit down close to a wall and press the soles of your feet against the wall. Spread your legs wide. This modification can provide support for your legs to help make the pose more accessible in the beginning.
Narrow Leg Position: If the width of Upavishta Konasana is difficult, try to keep your legs a little more narrow. This can help reduce the intensity of the stretch in your legs.
Bent Knees: If it is difficult or painful to keep your legs straight, try bending you knees a little bit. This can reduce any strain on your lower back or hamstrings.
Modifications are important in your yoga practice when you are approaching new postures, you struggle with aspects of flexibility or strength or balance or you are healing from an injury or surgery. Always listen to your body and only go as you can without causing pain. Always prioritize safety in your yoga practice.
Click here to watch the YouTube tutorial exploring modifications and the full expression of Upavishta Konasana.
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