Upavistha Konasana or the wide angle seated forward bend pose loosens up the lower back, hips and the hamstring muscles. In Sanskrit, Upavistha means seated, Kona means angle and Asana means a pose.
It is a good beginner’s pose for preparing for more difficult forward-bend poses.
How to do Upavistha Konasana (Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend)?
- Sit on the floor with legs stretched out in front of you. Keep the legs together. Place your hands on the sides on the floor. This starting position is also called Dandasana.
- Now open up your legs and move them as wide as possible according to your flexibility. Try to attain at least a 90 degrees angle between the legs.
- Take a deep breath and straighten your trunk and spine.
- Now, exhale slowly and bend forward, around your hips. Do not bend the spine forward. Maintain a slight backward curve at the lower back and abdomen.
- Place your hands on the floor in front of you. Try to bend forward till your chin touches the ground and the hands are fully stretched in front, above the head. This may be difficult for beginners especially if you have a stiff lower back. Do not force it. Bend only as much as you can in the beginning. Practice daily and you will see that you can bend all the way forward and touch the floor with your chin. You may also use a pillow as support under the chin if needed.
- Maintain this position for as long as you are comfortable. Breathing should be normal in the final position.
- You may also try other variations of Upavistha Konasana. The most common variation is where you are hold the two feet with your two hands.
- To release the pose, breath in slowly and raise your trunk up and sit upright. Bring the legs together again and place your hands on the floor on the sides. Rest for few seconds before moving on to other poses.
Benefits of Upavistha Konasana
- It gives a good stretch to the groins and the inside muscles of the legs.
- It loosens up the lower back and hips. Those with stiff back can benefit by practicing this pose daily.
- It can give relief to sciatica.
- It strengthens the spine.
- Upavistha Konasana stretches the hamstring muscles.
- Core muscles in the lower abdomen are strengthened.
- It is a great pose to develop flexibility of the lower back, hips and abdomen.
- After a good stretch your mind also feels relaxed.
- It tones the organs in the abdomen.
Contraindications for Upavistha Konasana
- Do not do this pose if have any injury of the hips or the lower back.
- If you have any groin or hamstring tear, avoid this pose.
- Those with herniated disk should consult a doctor before attempting this pose.