Wide Seated Forward Bend Pose: Upavistha Konasana
- Stretches the adductor muscles of your groin
- Stretches your hamstring muscles
- Strengthens the supportive musculature of your spine
- Encourages activation of your core muscles
- Traditionally throught to increase blood flow to the pelvis, thus keeping the pelvic region healthy
Low Back Pain
- Sit up on a block or blanket, high enough that you can maintain the natural curve of your low back.
- When you are folding forward, use your hands for support on the floor.
- If you cannot safely enter and exit the pose without pain, it is not appropriate for you.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
- Avoid wide legged poses until the pain subsides.
- Return with caution, using your core to support you.
- The hormone Relaxin causes the bones of the pelvis to be more mobile that usual.
- Take your legs slightly less than 90 degrees, and gently lift and support the pelvic floor muscles (a Kiegel) to prevent unnecessary shearing in the pubic symphis.
- Do not allow your stomach to be compressed against the floor.
upavistha = seated, sitting
kona = angle
- Sit with your legs open to a 90 degree angle (with your pelvis in the centre).
- Flex your feet to align the knees, toes pointing up to the sky. If you feel your pelvis rocking back, or you feel a loss of the curve in the low back, sit up on some height like a firm cushion to allow the pelvis to tilt forward.
- Place the finger tips on the floor behind your hips.
- Inhale, drawing up the sides of the body, creating space in the spine. Stay here if you are already feeling a substantial stretch in the legs.
- Before folding, first support your low back using your core musculature. Draw the muscles of your pelvic floor gently upward with mulabhanda (the smae muscles you use to stop and start the flow of urine), also draw in your lower abdomen gently.
- Exhale as you start to walk your hands out in front of you.
- Slowly, using your breath as a guide, keep your spine long and lead with your heart.
- Stop when you feel you have reached a challenging but sustainable position. Rather than trying to get closer to the eath, imagine growing longer through the spine.
- Breathe comfortably as you hold this forward bend.
- To exit the pose, exhale and reconnect with your core muscle support and then slowly walk your hands back towards your body.
- Gently bend your knees and bring the legs back together.
- If you have knee discomfort or you have a inability to straighten your legs, place a rolled up blanket or towel under the bend of each knee for support.
- If you are in between the stage of supporting your self with your hands, and allowing your torso to meet the floor, use a bolster to rest your torso on, or a block for your forehead but ensure you are supporting your low back by gently contracting your lower belly.
- Avoid rounding the lumbar spine to avoid stress on the discs between the vertebrae.
Article written by Dr. Robin Armstrong:
Tags: Seated Yoga Posture, yoga pose, yoga poses, upavistha konasana, seated wide leg forward bend, Wide Seated Forward Bend Pose, yoga asana, seated forward bend, seated forward bend yoga pose
Dr. Robin Armstrong is a Vancouver chiropractor and yoga instructor. Robin blends her western knowledge gained from her experience as a chiropractor, with the ancient eastern knowledge passed through generations of yoga teachers. Robin’s classes emphasize safety, breath, alignment, and movement, while teaching students ways to strengthen and lengthen their bodies to handle the stresses of our modern lifestyle. If you are coming to her as a patient, expect to be prescribed yoga! Learn more about Dr. Armstrong at www.stayactive.ca