Wheel Pose
March 26, 2015
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
March 26, 2015

Wide Seated Forward Bend

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Upavistha Konasana
(oo-pah-VEESH-tah cone-AHS-anah)
upavistha = seated
kona = angle

BENEFITS

  • Lengthens and releases adductor muscles of the groin
  • Improves external rotation of the hips
  • Strengthens the hip flexors and abdominals
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Stretches the hamstrings and lower back
  • Increases circulation in the pelvis

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Hip pathologies
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Low back pathologies (avoid rounding)
  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Knee or hip injury

HOW TO

  1. In a seated position, ground down into your sitting bones and widen your legs out to the sides, forming a 90-degree angle or “V” shape with your pelvis in the center.
  2. Inhale and lift through your torso to lengthen the spine. Flex your feet and point your toes toward the sky. Press down through your heels and sitting bones.
  3. As you exhale, engage your thighs and begin to hinge forward at the hips, not the waist. Walk your hands down your legs, as you lower your torso between them.
  4. Inhale and lengthen the spine once again, reaching through the crown.
  5. Exhale and begin to dissolve further forward, drawing the abdominals inward and the chest toward the floor.
  6. To deepen the stretch, reach out and clasp your big toes with your index and middle fingers; then wrap your thumbs around your fingers.
  7. Hold this pose for five to 10 slow breaths.
  8. To exit, inhale and elongate the spine while returning to an upright position. Exhale and release the legs back to the midline. Feel free to shake the legs out.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • Bend the knees for comfort, or utilize a strap around both feet.
  • For a more restorative posture, utilize a bolster under the chest to relax into the stretch.
  • Place a blanket beneath your sitting bones to raise the¬†pelvis, allowing you to fold forward a bit easier.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Keep the upper and lower spine lifted through the torso.
  • Support the low back by engaging the abdominals.
  • Bend forward at the hips, drawing your chest toward the floor.
  • If choosing to round the upper spine, be cautious of the low back and keep extension in the low spine.
  • On each inhale, feel your chest lift and spine lengthen. On each exhale, take a deeper forward fold.

VARIATIONS

  • Practice Upavistha Konasana B (Upright Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend).
  • Work toward resting on the forehead, nose, or chin.
  • Turn your torso to face the right leg. Reach down for the¬†right ankle with both hands and slowly fold forward. Hold for five breaths; then repeat on the opposite side.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Rounding of the lumbar spine
  • Pain/strain in the groin or legs (bend the knees)
  • Feet not in flexion
  • Locked knees
  • Knees rolling inward or outward
  • Pelvis rolling backward
  • Shoulders crunching toward the ears