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Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend (Upavista Konasana)
With Dr Kiki Morriss
Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend (Upavista Konasana) is a great stretching pose for the lower body and can help us to cultivate patience and acceptance
The benefits of this pose:
- Stretches your posterior kinetic chain, including your hamstrings and gluteus maximus.
- Stretches the insides of your legs.
- Relieves anxiety and stress.
- Calms your mind.
- Cultivates patience, awareness and acceptance.
Contraindications and modifications:
- Tightness in your hamstrings and back can limit you in this pose. Try bending your knees to make the pose easier.
- If you are unable to reach your toes, place a belt or scarf around each foot and hold on as you fold forwards.
- Place a yoga brick or bolster under your forehead if it doesn’t reach the ground.
- Sit on one or two folded blankets.
- Practice under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher if you have a hamstring or back injury.
- Urdhva Upavista Konasana. From Butterfly pose, hook your first two fingers around your big toes. Tilt back and balance on your sitting bones. Straighten and lift your legs. Open and lift your chest. Extend your spine. Look upwards.
FOCUS YOUR GAZE
- Your focal point (dristi) is your nose or a fixed point straight ahead of you. Alternatively close your eyes and draw your focus inwards.
MOVING INTO THE POSE
- Sit in Staff pose (Dandasana) with your legs straight in front of you and your upper body upright.
- Spread your legs wide apart.
- Keep your knees and toes facing up to the sky.
- Keep your knees straight.
- Press your fingertips on the floor behind your hips and sit upright.
- Begin to fold forwards and stretch your arms towards your feet.
- Hook your first & middle fingers around your big toes and place your thumbs on the tops of your big toes.
- Exhale and move your abdomen and chest forwards.
- Move your shoulders and upper chest down.
- Rest your forehead or chin on the ground.
RELAX YOUR NECK AND SHOULDERS
- Lengthen the back of your neck.
- Allow a sense of space around your neck by gently moving your shoulders away from your ears.
- Move your shoulder blades down your back.
- Extend your arms from your shoulders
ENGAGE AND ALIGN YOUR LEGS
- Keep your legs the same distance from your upper body.
- As your legs stretch away from each other, keep your knees and toes facing the sky.
- Allow your inner legs to open away from each other.
- Press into your heels.
- Pull on your big toes and simultaneously resist the pull.
MAINTAIN YOUR FOUNDATION
- Maintain your foundation in your sitting bones.
STABILISE YOUR LEGS
- Extend your knees by engaging your quadriceps.
STRETCH THE MUSCLES OF THE POSTERIOR KINETIC CHAIN
- Breathe smoothly in the pose and feel the muscles of the posterior kinetic chain stretching.
- The posterior kinetic chain is the group of muscles at the back of your body. It includes the gastrocnemius, hamstrings, gluteus maximus and the posterior parts of the gluteus maximus, quadratus lumborum and erector spinae.
- Lengthen through your spine and the back of your neck.
WORKING WITH YOUR BREATH
- Breathe 20-30 times in the pose.
- With each exhalation, move your upper body down and move your chest & face forwards.
COMING OUT OF THE POSE
- Inhale and slowly lift up, bringing your legs together.
- Rest in Relaxation pose (Savasana) for 30 seconds.