Anatomy of a Pose - Laurel Marsh

Upavistha Konasana  (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold)

LAUREL WLFF.jpg

Benefits:

  • Stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, and spinal muscles
  • Stimulates digestion and kidneys
  • Therapeutic for mild depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and menstruation

Key Actions:

  • Start in Dandasana (Staff Pose, see May 2018 column)
  • Place hands behind the buttocks and separate the legs out into a wide angle.  To increase the distance between the legs, slide the buttocks forward a bit
  • Sit directly on top of the sitting bones and lengthen the spine upward
  • As in Dandasana, neutralize the legs so that the kneecaps and toes point straight up towards the ceiling
  • Bring a heaviness to the thighbones by pressing them down into the floor
  • Flex the feet back toward the knees and press forward with the big toe mounds
  • On inhalation lengthen up along the spine and broaden across the chest
  • On exhalation hinge forward from the hips, causing the pelvis to rotate forward
  • While maintaining an upright spine and active/neutral legs, place the hands between the legs and play with walking them forward.  If the spine begins to round or bending at the waist occurs, stop and back off to re-establish length in the spine
  • If there is room to go deeper, come down onto the forearms
  • Maintaining the neutrality in the legs, hinging from the hips and staying long in the spine is what determines how deep one will go
  • In the final expression of Upavistha Konasana, bring the chest to the floor and wrap the index and middle fingers around the big toes.  Reach the elbows out in opposite directions and lengthen the crown of the head forward
  • Stay for 5-10 breaths
  • To come out slowly walk the hands back toward the body, bend the knees and return to Dandasana

Modifications:

  • If it is challenging to sit directly on top of the sitting bones, causing lower back to round, place a blanket or two underneath the hips
  • If the chest does not yet reach the floor, one can place a bolster underneath the torso to practice the actions of the arms