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Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend (upavista konasana)

Seated forward bend that stretches your inner thighs and hamstrings.
 

Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend (or upavista konasana) provides a stretch to your inner thighs and hamstrings. This pose can also help calm your mind and relieve stress.
 
As you bend forward in Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend, you may be tempted to round your back. To prevent rounding your back, make sure you bend forward from your hips and lean forward with your chest, not your forehead. Lengthening your spine is more important than trying to bend forward as far as possible.
 
In this pose, make sure your legs never form an angle greater than 90 degrees, which may strain the ligaments in your hips. You should also make sure your knees are not locked. As you hold the pose, visualize your body softening with each exhalation.
 
This pose is easier on your ankles and knees than some other seated poses, such Hero Pose or Easy Pose. However, you should use caution performing this pose if you have a knee or hip injury.
 
Steps:
Begin in Staff Pose.
Keep your spine straight as you spread your legs as far apart as is comfortable for you.
(Make sure your legs are straight, with your knees and toes pointing toward the ceiling.)
Press the back of your thighs firmly into the floor.
Inhale as you raise your arms overhead, with your palms shoulder width apart and facing forward.
(Your elbows should be straight but not locked. Your shoulders should be relaxed.)
Keeping your arms straight, exhale as you bend forward from your hips and place your palms on the floor between your legs.
(Your back should be straight and flat.)
Release your pelvis forward and down to lengthen your spine.
(Make sure you keep your head, neck and shoulders relaxed and in a straight line.)
Hold the pose for 15 seconds to 1 minute.
To come out of the pose, inhale as you lift your arms and upper body toward the ceiling to return to a seated position. Then exhale as you bring your arms back to your sides. Return to Staff Pose.
 
My legs feel tight while performing Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend. What should I do?
If you experience tightness in your inner thighs or hamstrings while in the pose, do not try to force yourself to the floor. Instead, sit on the edge of a folded blanket and rest your upper body on a bolster or chair. This can help reduce the strain in your legs and is also useful for modifying the pose if you have back problems.
 
Can I bend my knees while performing Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend?
If you have a lot of difficulty bending forward, you can bend your knees slightly in order to bend forward. As you bend forward with your knees slightly bent, make sure your kneecaps are pointing toward the ceiling.
 
Can I perform Seated Wide Angle Forward Bend if I have a stiff back?
Yes. You can sit with your back against a wall, but do not bend your upper body forward. This allows you to stretch your legs in the pose without straining your back.
 
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