Recently, I had one of those days where it seemed like everything that could possibly go wrong, did. I could literally feel stress and tension accumulating in my body, and as the day began to wind down, I knew that I needed a way to decompress.
Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold (Upavista Konasana) to the rescue! The pose may sound like a mouthful, but the name says it all: you fold forward from a wide-legged, seated position.
It’s passive enough to hang out in for a while and reconnect with your body after a long day, but there’s also a bit of heat to it as well. After a few much needed deep, full breaths in Upavista Konasana, I was ready to crawl into bed, put the day behind me, and get ready for the next.
Benefits of Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold Pose
Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold stretches the inner legs (which have a tendency to be neglected), as well as the groins and hamstrings, promoting a healthy pelvis and lower body. The pose also stretches the spine and stimulates the abdominal organs.
Forward folding poses are widely known to calm the brain and promote relaxation, and as such, can be therapeutic for stress and insomnia.
Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold Pose Step-By-Step
- Begin seated in Dandasana (Staff Pose), with the spine tall and the legs extended straight out in front of you.
- Take your legs as wide apart as you comfortably can, keeping the feet flexed and active so that the inner legs don’t collapse inwards. Your kneecaps should point straight up toward the ceiling and your heels should be rooting firmly into the ground. If your inner legs begin to collapse, it’s a sign that you’ve taken the legs too far apart.
- Place your fingertips on the ground in front of you, just between your legs. Maintain the length along the spine, keep your shoulders relaxed and your chest lifted. Inhale here.
- As you exhale, slowly begin to walk your fingertips forward until you find an edge that feels appropriate for your body. Avoid moving so deeply that your spine begins to round and your shoulders collapse; keep the emphasis on lengthening evenly through the front and back body.
- If it feels comfortable, you can come down onto your palms, forearms, or take your torso down onto the ground between your legs. Otherwise, simply remain on your fingertips. Take 10 to 15 breaths here.
- To come out of the pose, use an inhale to come upright, with your core engaged to protect your spine. If you like, you can bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together as a counterpose for your legs, or bend both knees into your chest and give yourself a hug.
- If it feels uncomfortable in your lower body to sit directly on the floor, use a folded blanket or a foam block underneath your buttocks to elevate your hips.
- Feel free to remain upright for as long as you need to if the action of folding forward is too intense for your legs. You can also take a slight bend in the knees and/or tuck a folded or rolled blanket beneath your legs for added support.
- As your level of comfort in the pose deepens, experiment with taking the legs slightly wider while keeping the kneecaps pointing straight up at the ceiling and the feet flexed, and deepening into your forward fold for an added challenge. You can also try hooking on to the big toes of each foot with the pointer and middle fingers of each hand and using the strength of your arms to move you more deeply into the fold.
- Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold also feels really great as a restorative posture when practiced with a bolster and with the legs slightly closer together. Simply place the bolster in between your legs lengthwise, and lay your torso down on the bolster.
How did you like practicing this pose? Which adjustments and tips worked well for you? Let us know in the comments!