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  • Upavistha Konasana
    A Seated Forward Bending Yoga Pose with Legs Wide

    wide leg forward bend with hands reaching forwards, hands off of floor.

    In Upavistha Konasana (seated wide leg forward bend) the legs are open about 90 degrees with the knees pointing straight up.

    You can do this pose with knees bent if your hamstrings are tight. However, whether knees are bent or straight, work at keeping them pointing up as you roll your pelvis forwards.

    Prior to bending forwards in upavistha konasana, you might find it helpful to warm up your hips by shaking or rolling your legs from side to side. I like to do this while sitting upright with legs apart.

    To Relax Your Hamstrings

    Use Your Arms for Support

    You can use your arms to support your body when you are trying to get your hamstrings to relax. Imagine that you are doing a pushup, using your arms to support the weight of your upper body. So that you stretch your hamstrings, gradually lower your body, as if lowering your body into a pushup. So that you can keep your hamstrings relaxed, do this slowly.

    Create Space in Your Hip Joint

    You can also try creating space within your hip joint to help your hamstrings relax. Create space by reaching your knees away from your pelvis.

    Widen and Lift your Sitting Bones

    To help your pelvis tilt forwards, experiment with widening and lifting your sitting bones.

    Open Your Legs, But Not Too Much

    In upavistha konasana, you can focus on stretching your hamstrings by opening your legs to about 90 degrees. If you want to work on your inner thigh flexibility then work to widen your legs further.

    90 degrees is important especially when trying to lift your hands off of the floor. It gives your body leverage when you press your legs down.

    To that end sit with your legs open a maximum of 90 degrees from each other. Sit with your knees pointing straight up. If you need to, bend them or sit on books or blocks or even a chair.

    Reach your knees away from your hip sockets.

    Do this whether your knees are straight or bent.

    Tilt Your Pelvis Forwards

    Keep your hips open, place your hands on the floor in front of you and tilt your pelvis forwards. Use your arms to support or brace the weight of your upper body so that your hamstrings can relax.

    Once you have tilted past about 45 degrees you can pull your hands in close to your body and then slowly relax your arms and take your hands off of the floor.

    You may notice an increase in hamstring stretch as you lift your arms off of the floor.

    If you are even more sensitive, you'll notice your hamstrings stretching more even when you relax your arms prior to lifting them. This is because as you lift your arms, your body will no longer be supported. The unsupported weight of your body will then tilt your pelvis forwards, assuming your keep your upper body stiff.

    Reach Your Arms Forwards, Slowly

    To add more weight to upavistha konasana, slowly reach your arms forwards but keep your hands off of the floor.

    You may be able to get your chin on to the floor. If that is the case, keep your arms lifted and try to reach your chine and chest forwards, away from your pelvis.

    Alternatively see how close you can get to the floor without touching your chin or arms (or forehead) to the floor.

    Even though your chin is on the floor you can imagine lifting your head so that the weight of your head helps to pull your ribcage closer towards the floor.

    If you put your hands on the floor you can imagine lifting your arms so that they still help to sink your ribcage down.

    Keep Your Knees Pointing Up

    As your pelvis tilts forwards, concentrate on keeping your hips open. Also keep your knees pointing upwards.

    Relax

    When you are ready, (or have had enough) place your hands on the floor. Keep reaching your arms forwards but also focus on letting your upper body sink downwards.

    To come out of upavista konasana, sit up slowly. To make sitting up more of a challenge try sitting up while keeping your arms reaching past your head.

    I've included a more detailed step-by-step guide to lifting the arms in wide leg forward bend.

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    Return to Forward Bending Yoga Poses from Upavistha Konasana

    Seated Yoga Poses

    , If you are flexibility impaired, then one option for janu sirsasana side bend is to bend the knee of the leg you are bending towards. If you find that you tend to tip backwards you can also place the hand on the floor to the outside of the upward pointing knee. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , One option for a seated side bend is to sit with legs wide, knees straight and bend to one side. In this case both arms are reaching past the head adding weight to the stretch. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , One option for a seated side bend is to sit with legs wide, with one knee straight and the other knee bent with the shin folded to the outside of the thigh <br>(hero position). Bend towards the straight leg to stretch the side of the torso. In this case the top hand grabs the foot of the straight leg with the uppermost side of the ribcage rolling back. The lower shoulder is to the inside of the leg and pressing back against the leg.  Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , yoga for flexiblity, bound angle inner thigh stretch <br>(baddha konasana) with a 45 degree forward bend, hands grabbing the feet. Make the spine feel long from pelvis to head, push the feet into the floor and use the arms to pull up on the feet so that the ribcage moves down. In this picture my elbows point back. Model, Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , Hamstring stretches, wide leg forward bend. In this wide leg forward bend feet are a legs distance apart from side to side with feet parallel and knees straight. Upper body is tilted forwards with torso almost horizontal. Both arms are reaching forwards with hands off of the floor. Gaze is downwards. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , frog pose seated hip stretch. Sit with legs open 90 degrees. Keep one knee straight. Bend the other knee with the shin to the outside of the thigh <br>(hero position). Top of the foot or the inside of the foot can be on the floor. <br>(In picture, the inner foot is on the floor so that toes point outwards.) Turn midway between both thighs and slowly bend forwards. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , In seated forward bend, you can sit with legs parallel and knees straight. Tilting forwards at the hips, make the spine long <br>(from tailbone to crown) and reach the arms forwards. Make arms and legs and spine all feel long. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , In table top yoga pose, move the shoulder blades together. Reach the chest back <br>(towards the chin.) Press the feet down to press the pelvis up. In this picture the the head is slightly lifted. You could also relax the neck and let the head hang back. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , For reverse plank <br>(also called straight bridge or purvottanasana), move the shoulder blades together, reach the chest towards the chin and press the heels down into the floor to lift the pelvis. Keep the knees straight. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , Modified compass pose or Compass pose preparation is a seated hamstring stretch. From a cross legged position grab one foot with both hands, lift the floor and straighten the knee. Keep the neck long and chest lifted. Relax the shoulders to make it easier to straighten the knee. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , For compass pose, start from a seated cross leg position. Place one thigh behind the same shoulder. Press the hand into the floor. Grab the foot with the opposite hand. Keep the shoulder relaxed slowly straighten the knee and rotate the leg so that the knee points towards the side of the body. Press the other shoulder back against the leg. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , ardha matsyendrasana seated yoga pose. Step one leg over the other. Have foot just beside the other knee. In this picture the opposite arm is hugging the top knee. The other hand is on the floor behind the back. Both arms are being used to turn the ribcage and twist the spine. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , janu sirsasana a with head to shin and hand on the floor either side of the straight leg. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoa Poses. , Getting into Janu Sirsasana B seated yoga pose, Using hands to lift the hips and place anus on top of the bent knee heel. , janu sirsasana C, in this picture torso is upright with spine long. Foot is against the inner thigh with heel uppermost and toes tucked towards the knee. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , half bound lotus seated forward bend <br>(ardha baddha padmo paschimottanasana). Right foot is in lotus and bound with the right hand. Left hand is grabbing the left big toe. Torso is tilted forwards at the hips. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , bharadvajasana, one leg in lotus the other in hero. Lotus foot is bound with same side arm from behind the back. Hero side hand is on the lotus knee. Torso is twisting towards the lotus side. Neil Keleher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , full lotus, hands on knees , Modified marichyasana position with non-marichyasana foot folded to the inside of the other foor. Torso is twisting away from the marichyasana side. Neil Kelher. Sensational Yoga Poses. , Marichyasana A from side, can see hand grabbing wrist behind back. , marichyasana C , marichyasana B from lotus leg side. Head off of the floor. , marichyasana D <br>(working towards binding) , triang muka eka pada paschimottanasana with hand grabbing wrist. three quarter front angle , reclining half hero pose <br>(ardha supta virasana), arms behind head , hero pose seated, upright, hands on floor. , reclining half hero pose, arms behind head

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