Urdhva Upavistha Konasana, or Upright Seated Angle Pose, is a challenge for yoga newbies and seasoned students alike. It requires flexibility, core strength, balance, and determination.
However, once mastered, it offers great benefits to your practice.
As this pose requires both core strength and flexibility in the hamstrings, make sure to warm up first with Planks, Boat Pose, Downward Facing Dog, Triangle Pose, and Bound Angle Pose.
- Start in Bound Angle Pose. Sit with the soles of your feet together and knees pressing down towards the mat.
- Wrap the first two fingers and thumb of the right hand around the right big toe.
- Start to extend the right leg straight and away from the body.
- Once steady, do the same on the left foot so both legs are extended in the air.
- Engage your core to balance.
- Engage the quads and pull the knee caps down the legs.
- You should be balancing on your tailbone with a straight, strong spine.
This pose engages the core, thighs, and calves, and builds strength in these muscles. It also helps to improve balance, and can help improve posture by elongating the spine.
In addition to building strength, the pose increases flexibility in your hamstrings
Upright Seated Angle also can improve your concentration, as you need to focus on keeping everything engaged to stay balanced.
Keep a slight micro bend in the knees to avoid hyperextension of the legs.
Avoid this pose if you have a tailbone or lower back injury, a knee injury, or an injury in the shoulders.
When first learning this pose, practice with one leg extended at a time to work on flexibility. As that becomes easier, try incorporating the second leg and working on the balance.
If you want to practice with both legs but can’t quite straighten them, practice Upright Seated Angle with bent knees. Just make sure to not round the back, as you don't want to lose the integrity of the pose. The flexibility needed to straighten both legs will come with time and practice.
If you need some help with balancing at first, place a bolster or black behind you, or practice at the wall. Over time, as you become more familiar with the pose and gain core strength, you should be able to move away from the wall or remove the support.
Do you practice Upright Seated Angle in your own yoga practice? Do you have any tips or tricks to make the pose easier? Share them with us in the comments section below!