Fan Pose goes by many different names. One of the more common names is Forward Bend, Seated Wide Angle, or in Sanskrit Upavistha Konāsana (oo-puh-VISH-tuh cone-AHH-sah-nah). Other names are:

  • Dragonfly
  • Open Angle Pose
  • Seated Angle Forward Bend
  • Seated Angle Pose or Seated Wide Angle Pose
  • Seated Straddle Pose or Seated Wide Legged Straddle Pose
  • Forward Bend Pose
  • Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose

Because of the stretch in the inner thigh, this pose is traditionally an intermediate pose. See below for a picture and video on the traditional practice of the asana. The video also explains some modifications that can be made to make this asana easier and more relaxing for you and your students.

For a full breakdown on how this asana can be modified for a Restorative Yoga class, refer to your textbook “RESTORATIVE YOGA FOR LIFE”. Also, watch the below video which demonstrates the variation that is depicted in your textbook. You can then find more modifications listed below that.

Modifications
• Students with tightness in the lower back, hips or hamstrings, should limit back extension by keeping their hands closer to the body. Other alternatives are that they can a) slightly bend the knees (with or without a blanket, pillow, or bolster underneath the knees), b) place a folded blanket, pillow, or bolster under the hips, sitting at the edge, to prop them up higher and tilt the pelvis (if student cannot tilt their pelvis, have them sit straight with hands behind the back), c) place a block on the floor between their legs to rest their head on, or d) they can slightly bend at the hips and then grab the big toes instead of reaching forward and fully bending to the mat. These variations are also good for pregnant students.
• For students with tight hips and/or lower back, place a folded blanket, block, pillow, or bolster on the floor between the thighs to support the hips. This can also help beginners who may have difficulty lowering their torso all the way to the floor or pregnant students.
• For students with tight inner thighs, place a chair, stool, or blocks in front to grab onto for support. (This is also good for pregnant students). To help keep the thighs down, place sandbags on the thighs.
• Students with lower back or hips injuries should do Restorative Legs Up the Wall Pose with Bolster (covered in the "Learning the Asanas: Inversions" Lesson).

Especially with the modifications that can be made for this asana, there are many benefits that can be gained. Increasing the energy flow to move stagnant energy through the legs is one benefit. See below for more.

Benefits
• Stretches and strengthens the hips, quadriceps, hamstrings, inner thighs, calf muscles, back, spine, shoulders, knees, chest, abdomen, and neck. Flexibility in the joints is also improved.
• Stimulates the digestion system, which improves digestion and helps with constipation and indigestion.
• Opens the spine, hips, groin, shoulders, chest, and back.
• Increases circulation, and stimulates the nervous system which reduces stress, anxiety, and mild depression, along with fatigue and insomnia. This also helps the kidneys, liver, spleen, and adrenal glands.
• Stimulates the reproductive organs and helps soothe menstrual discomfort.
• Therapeutic for students with arthritis in the hips and sciatica.
• Brings awareness to the breath, which helps with concentration and focus.

As stated above, this asana can be difficult for some students. Being sure to utilize the above modications can help, however, we should also be aware of the below contraindications.

Contraindications
1. Be cautious in this pose, if you have discomfort in the inner thighs, back, and/or back of the knees.
2. Students with injuries to the hips, groin, knees, lower back, shoulders, and /or hamstrings or has severe sacroiliac joint pain should avoid this pose.
3. Students who are pregnant, have low blood pressure, or asthma, should avoid this pose without proper guidance and/or modifications.

Let’s finish the discuss on this asana with a review of the charka that is affected in this asana as well as how the doshic balance is affected.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.

Doshas
VataThis dosha is balanced in this asana.
PittaThis dosha is increased in this asana.
KaphaThis dosha is decreased in this asana.


Additional information on this asana

  • In the textbook “YOGA: THE PATH TO HOLISTIC HEALTH by B.K.S. Iyengar you can find a breakdown of the traditional asana.
    • CHAPTER 5: YOGA FOR STRESS
      • Asanas for Stress
        • Upavista Konasana (Seated wide-angle pose)

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