Practice: Upavistha Konasana (Seated wide-angled forward fold)

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This is one of those poses in which we learn that the more you push and force things, the further away you get from where you want to be. Let things be easy, breathe in to it, and realise that the important thing is never where you end up, but what you learn along the way.

Upavistha Konasana requires lengthened hamstrings, moderately open hips, and a lot of patience…. If you managed to feel at all comfortable in Kurmasana, then this asana shouldn’t prove too much of a challenge.

As always, it’s a good idea to warm up with some sun salutations, and move through some hamstring – lengthening poses such as parsvottanasana, ardha hanumanasana, and especially prasarita padottanasana.

HOW TO:

  • Begin by sitting in dandasana or ‘staff pose’
  • Extend the legs out wide, keeping the kneecaps lifted, thighs engaged and toes pointing up to the ceiling.
  • On an inhale, begin to lengthen the spine, and as you exhale, fold forwards, hinging from the hips and leading with the chest.
  • It’s important to keep the sitting bones grounded throughout, in order for the stretch to be felt along the whole body, not just the hamstrings.
  • Continue to fold to the extent that is ok for your body. Remember, the more you push, the further away you’ll be from where you want to end up. This is due to something called the ‘stretch reflex’ which I’ll write a post on soon. 
  • Stay here for atleast 10 breaths to really notice what’s going on in your body and mind as you stay here; are you frustrated about how far you’re able to go? Do you find it easy? Do you tend to try and force things? Do you happily accept things as they are? 
  • Inhaling, gently raise back up and bring the legs back alongside each other to come out.
  • Like most things, you’ll notice progress when you practice, practice, practice! 

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*And just so you know, it really doesn’t matter how far you can go in any pose, what matters is turning up on the mat and showing your commitment, whether you do one pose or a two hour practice – it all counts.

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