• T
  • H
  • M
  • Seated Wide Leg Forward Bend
    Learning to Activate and Relax the Hamstrings and Stretch Them

    upavistha konasana, seated wide leg forward bend, knees straight, yoga pose preparation, sitting upright

    In the seated version of wide leg forward bend (upavistha Konasana) you can work at stretching your hamstrings by gradually adding weight to the pose and then taking that weight away.

    You add weight by lifting your arms and reaching them forwards.

    So that you can support this weight you can press your legs into the floor and lengthen your spine.

    Lengthening your spine in a forward bend tends to activate your spinal erector muscles.

    Gradual and Smooth, Step-by-Step

    To start with, practice lengthening your spine and then relaxing it while sitting upright.

    Each time you lengthen focus on the feeling of reaching your ribs and head upwards. Imagine that you can continue to reach upwards.

    Then when you relax, feel your head sinking forward and down and your ribs sinking down also.

    To sink your ribs let your spine bend forwards.

    Move Slower So That You can Feel Your Body Moving

    The slower and smoother that you move, the easier it is to feel your ribs, head and spine.

    Once your are comfortable with lengthening and relaxing your spine, you can add your arms.

    As you reach your spine upwards reach your arms forwards. Focus on making both your spine and your arms feel long as you inhale. Then relax both as you exhale.

    You might want to first practice with knees bent (below).

    upavistha konasana, seated wide leg forward bend, knees bent, yoga pose preparationupavistha konasana, seated wide leg forward bend, knees bent, yoga pose preparation, spine long and tall

    Then practice with legs straight (below).

    upavistha konasana, seated wide leg forward bend, knees straight, yoga pose preparation, sitting uprightupavistha konasana, seated wide leg forward bend, knees straight, yoga pose preparation, sitting upright

    Adding Weight Gradually to Your Wide Leg Forward Bend

    While tilting your pelvis forwards, first practice pressing your legs down into the floor as you lengthen your spine.

    • If you are doing this with knees bent then press your heels into the floor.
    • If your legs are straight then focus on pressing the backs of your legs down into the floor.

    Increase the downward pressure of your legs gradually. Synchronize it with the gradual lengthening of your spine. Then decrease the pressure of your legs in sync with relaxing your spine.

    Again work at doing both actions (lengthening and relaxing) slowly and smoothly.

    Lifting Your Arms

    Position your hands close to your body.

    • First press your legs down.
    • Then lengthen your spine.
    • Then lift your hands off of the floor.
    • Don't reach them forwards yet. Just lift.

    Think of adding tension to your legs as "taking up the slack." Press your legs down first so that then it is easier to lift your hands in wide leg forward bend.

    Even if you can't lift your hands completely off of the floor you may find that just the act of pulling up on your arms adds weight to the pose (you may be able to feel the added tension in your legs.)

    Once you are comfortable with lifting your hands off of the floor each time you inhale, then you can reach them forwards as you lengthen your spine.

    Focus on making your spine feel long. Draw your ribs away from your pelvis. Draw your head away from your ribcage.

    Press down strongly with your legs.

    Look forwards.

    Reach forwards with your eyes as well as your arms.


    Each time you exhale first place your hands on the floor then relax your legs and spine.

    With hands on the floor then relax your spine and your legs and let the weight of your body sink into the floor.

    upavistha konasana, seated wide leg forward bend, knees straight, bent forwards and relaxedwide leg forward bend, knees straight, reaching forwards with hands off of floor, yoga pose

    Make Your Neck Feel Long

    You can look down while lengthening your spine in wide leg forward bend. However make your neck feel long by reaching your ears away from your shoulders.

    Likewise make your waist feel long by reaching your ribs away from your pelvis.

    As you get close to the floor in this seated hamstring stretch, focus on keeping your knees pointing straight up.

    You can also rest your forehead, nose or shin on the floor if you are close enough.

    Once you can get a part of your head on the floor, then each time you inhale focus on reaching your chest forwards as if trying to get your belly and pubic bone to the floor also.

    Return to Home Page

    Return to Hamstring Stretches from Wide Leg Forward Bend


    What's New?

    Stability in Yoga Poses

    Make your yoga poses less wobbly with less effort. Grounding and centering are two techniques for creating stability in yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Stability in Yoga Poses"

    Arm Supported Yoga Poses

    Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.

    Continue reading "Arm Supported Yoga Poses"

    Joint Pain Yoga

    Rather than fighting through joint pain here is an overview of the approach that I've used to help alleviate hip pain, knee pain or shoulder joint pain while doing yoga poses.

    Continue reading "Joint Pain Yoga"

    Feeling Your Center of Gravity

    Make balancing easier. Use pressure sensitivity to feel your center of gravity.

    Continue reading "Feeling Your Center of Gravity"

    How to do Squats

    A yoga approach to how to do squats including how to stay balanced, and avoiding knee or hip pain even while going all the way down.

    Continue reading "How to do Squats"

    Camel Yoga Pose

    Camel Yoga Pose or ustrasana is a kneeling pose that can be used to stretch the hip flexors. One key action that may help in getting your pelvis forwards more is pushing your hands forwards, either against your feet or against the floor.

    Continue reading "Camel Yoga Pose"

    Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability

    The transverse abdominis can have an affect on sacroiliac joint stability as well as stability of the lumbar spine and the T12/L1 junction.

    Continue reading "Transverse Abdominis and Sacroiliac Joint Stability"

    Fluid Tensegrity Joint Anatomy

    Fluid tensegrity joint anatomy looks at the tendency of the body to maintain space within the joints. The question is, how is this space maintained?

    Continue reading "Fluid Tensegrity Joint Anatomy"

    Why Improve Body Awareness

    Why improve body awareness? So that you can use your body more effectively and fix problems yourself when they arise.

    Continue reading "Why Improve Body Awareness"


    How is tensegrity maintained at the joints even as the body adopts non-tensegrity postures or movements?

    Continue reading "Tensegrity"

    Being Present

    Why being present is the oppositve of thinking and how to utilize both modes effecively.

    Continue reading "Being Present"

    Pigeon Yoga Pose

    Pigeon yoga pose variations include lifting the front hip and resting it on the floor. Learn how to activate the front hip in either variation for better hip control and more effective stretching.

    Continue reading "Pigeon Yoga Pose"

    Creating Tensegrity In Yoga Poses

    Creating tensegrity in yoga poses. What is tensegrity, why should we aim to achieve it when doing yoga or any other activity where mindfullness is required?

    Continue reading "Creating Tensegrity In Yoga Poses"

    Obturator Externus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    Obturator externus anatomy for yoga teachers. If you have hip pain in forward bends and your hip feels weak, obturator externus may be the culprit.

    Continue reading "Obturator Externus Anatomy for Yoga Teachers"

    Yoga Stretches for Tight Hamstrings

    Yoga stretches for tight hamstrings. Learn to feel when your legs are active and when they are relaxed so that you can gradually stretch tight hamstrings.

    Continue reading "Yoga Stretches for Tight Hamstrings"

    Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses

    An experienced yogi's yoga pose has a sense of bigness. How do you as a beginner add bigness to your yoga poses?

    Continue reading "Adding Bigness to Your Yoga Poses"

    Basic Yoga Sequence Part 1

    Basic yoga sequence for flexibility. Includes hip, hamstring, quad stretches and neck stretches and recovery exercises.

    Continue reading "Basic Yoga Sequence Part 1"

    Back Strengthening Yoga Poses

    Back strengthening yoga poses can be used to strengthen the back of the body including hamstrings, glutes and both the lower and upper back.

    Continue reading "Back Strengthening Yoga Poses"

    Handstand Intro 6

    A look at getting your feet off of the wall and balancing in handstand plus tips for greater arm stability.

    Continue reading "Handstand Intro 6"

    Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength

    Yoga pose sequences for flexibility and strength. These sequences can be used for improving hip and shoulder flexibility and strength.

    Continue reading "Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength"