How to Achieve the Perfect Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend

Upavistha Konasana or Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend is a great preparation for many seated bends. It also helps to stretch the lower back and extremities.  

Young woman doing yoga in the park on an eco friendly yoga mat on green grass wearing yoga athleisure wear in a wide legged seated forward fold

Benefits

  • Stretches the insides and backs of the legs
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Calms the brain
  • Releases tension in the groin muscles

The Pose

  • Begin in Staff Pose and with every exhale continue to widen your legs to opposite sides of the room
  • Outwardly rotate your thighs toward the floor so that the kneecaps point straight up toward the ceiling
  • Keep your seat grounded to the floor maintaining engagement of your back legs, heels, and both sitting bones, and place your palms on the floor in front of you
  • Keep your arms long and keep your toes and kneecaps pointed toward the ceiling
  • Exhale and forward fold the sternum toward the floor moving from the hip joints and maintaining the length of the front torso
  • If you find yourself bending from the waist, stop, re-establish the length from the pubis to the navel, and continue forward if possible
  • Increase the forward bend on each exhalation until you feel a comfortable stretch in the backs of your legs. Stay in the pose 1 minute or longer
  • Then come up on an inhalation with a long front torso
  • Beginners variation: To help you sit comfortably in the pose due to tightness in hamstrings or the lower back, try sitting on top of a thick blanket or a block. If you need help folding forward, take a block, bolster, or a thickly rolled blanket and lay it on the floor in front of you, its long axis perpendicular to your pelvis. Exhale into the forward bend and lay your torso down on this support.

  • Advanced variation: Once in forward fold, reach your hands out and wrap your index and middle fingers around the big toes, each pair of fingers secured in place with the thumb. Pull back on the toes as you lean forward, but push actively through the bases of the big toes to keep the inner and outer ankles even. Bend your elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor as your torso descends. 

Breaths: Hold for 3 to 5 breaths

Avoid

  • Lower-back injury: Sit up high on a folded blanket and keep your torso relatively upright
  • Avoid forcing your torso toward the floor
  • Back issues
  • Hamstring issues

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