Forward Bend, Seated Wide Angle
UPAVISTHA KONĀSANA (उपविष्टकोणासन)
(oo-puh-VISH-tuh cone-AHH-sah-nah)

 


‘Upavistha’= open, seated, or sitting, ‘Kona’= angle ‘āsana’= posture


Alternate Names

Dragonfly
Upavista Konasana
Open Angle Pose
Seated Angle Forward Bend
Seated Angle Pose
Seated Wide Angle Pose
Seated Straddle Pose
Seated Wide Legged Straddle Pose
Forward Bend Pose
Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose

Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: FForward-Bend / Stretch / Seated / Hip Opener

1. Start in Staff Pose (Dandasana), seated with your legs extended straight (do not lock the knees). Make sure to bring your shoulder blades back so that your shoulders are down and under your ears with your spine extended upward.
2. Root down into the sit bones with the tailbone tucked under.
3. One at a time, extend your legs out to the sides, bringing your legs to the widest ‘V’ that you can (without overstretching your hamstrings and inner thighs).
4. Flex your feet so that your knees and toes are facing up toward the sky and your heels anchored to the ground.
5. Place your hands in front of you on the floor (in front of the groin).
6. Take a deep breath and then exhale as you walk your hands forward. Keep your back straight and fold forward at the hips as your hands walk your torso toward the floor.
7. Gently deepen the stretch and focus on reaching out from the waist. Keep your thighs grounded with your knees and toes straight up. Do not lock your knees.
8. Continue to walk your hands forward until your arms are extended over your head. Keep your back flat and your chest open. Your shoulder blades should be flat and your neck soft while gazing toward the mat.
9. Hold this pose for several breaths and breath smoothly. Make sure not to bounce or force the stretch.
10. When ready, slowly release and rise back into Staff Pose (Dandasana).

Common Adjustments
• Neck strained
• Gaze up
• Head reaches floor, but ribs do not
• Spine is arched and/or shoulders hunched
• Not bending from the hips
• Knees and toes not facing up towards the ceiling
• Heels not on the ground
• Knees hyperextended / locked
• Forcing the stretch

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 (Viparita Karani).
• For students who would like to deepen the pose, they can grab their toes or heels while stretching down to the mat.

Counter Poses
• Supine Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
• Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)
• Cow Face (Gomukhasana)
• Pigeon (Kapotasana)
• Half Lotus, Seated (Ardha Padmasana)
• Knees to Chest (Apanasana)
• Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

Anatomy
• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Triceps and Biceps
• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques• Upper (Cervical) and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine
• Hips (Iliopsoas)• Gluteus Medius and Minimus
• Quadriceps and Hamstrings• Calf muscles and ankles

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.

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.

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.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.
Chakra Five:Throat, Visuddha, Vissudha, Vishuddhi, or Vishuddha (purification) Chakra. This is the communications and sympathetic vibrations chakra. Its goals are clear communication, creativity, and resonance. Its location is the throat.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – Seated Postures as “Upavishtha Konasana – Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend”. **This textbook shows a slight variation where the hands are on the ankles (instead of placed out front on the floor).
    • Watch the Chapter 8 video “Upavishtha Konasana” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana. **This video demonstrates the variation reflected in your textbook except with the hands on the feet (instead of the ankles).
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 9 – SITTING POSES as “UPAVISTHA KONASANA – Seated Wide-Angle Pose”.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, a variation of this posture can be found in Chapter 9 – SITTING POSES as “KURMASANA – Turtle Pose”.

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