NAVIGATING YOGA > Try this wide-angle seated forward bend
Here it goes, our first post in a weekly series that will spotlight different yoga poses. This week, we are focusing on Upavista Konasana—a wide-angle seated forward bend or seated angle pose. Practice this asana for a greater openness in the hip flexors, a glorious stretch for the entire back side of your body as well as your inner thighs, and to strengthen your spine. To accomplish this, move through it slowly. Move into the posture from Dandasana (seated staff pose), by sitting upright, lengthening through your spine from your tailbone and out through the crown of your head. Open up your legs at about a 90 degrees angle or as far as you are able. Root down through your sit-bones and feel your hips externally rotate away from you so that your knees and feet are flexing skyward.
To encourage the stretch, place your hands behind you for leverage so that you can open your legs just a touch wider. If you are having a hard time sitting upright with a straight spine and you still feel a natural curvature within your lower back, place a yoga block, blanket (or pillow if you’re practicing at home), so that you can gain a little more leverage within your seat. Leading with your heart, begin to fold forward with a straight spine; fold only as far as you feel the stretch within your inner thighs. If your knees and feet start to rotate forward, reduce the amount in which you fold forward. Close your eyes. Drop your chin to your heart. Breathe so that you can feel your breath expand through your back rib cage. Silently affirm to yourself, “I welcome every opportunity for further growth.”
To release from this posture, draw your navel to your spine and walk your hands towards you on an inhale to bring your torso upright. Other benefits from this posture include stimulating the abdominal organs, releasing the groin, and a calmer mind.