Seated Wide Angle - Upavistha Konasana

How to Do Upavistha Konasana
Seated Wide Angle - Upavistha Konasana. Ann Pizer

Type of pose: Seated

Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, and calves, lengthens the spine.

You may have last encountered something the looks like this pose during high school P.E. class or sports practice. But yoga takes a very different approach to the classic seated straddle. Instead of moving jerkily in and out of the pose, we take it nice and slow, using the breath to gently extend and deepen.

Because this pose is pretty intense on the hamstrings, there are degrees of forward bending that vary from sitting upright to laying your chest on the floor. Any of these is perfectly acceptable. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, use props as necessary for your comfort and prioritize maintaining a long spine over getting your forehead to the mat. 


1. From staff pose, open your legs out as wide as is comfortable.

2. Keep your thighs engaged and your feet flexed.

3. Make sure your toes are pointing straight up to the ceiling since that is the safest position for your hips and knees. Don't let your feet flop inward or open outward.

4. Press the legs down into the floor.

5. Inhale and ground down through your seat. Exhale and forward bend by rotating the pelvis forward. Continue this pattern on each inhale and exhale to deepen the pose. 

6. Let the arms come straight out in front of you and keep your gaze softy at the floor to avoid cranking your neck.

7. Spend at least five breaths deepening your pose.

Beginners' Tips:

1. If sitting up with the legs wide is challenging enough, don't come into a forward bend.

2. Put padding under the sit bones if necessary. This sometimes helps you become for comfortable by angling the pelvis forward. 

3. You can bend your knees slightly if the hamstring stretch is too intense.

Try sliding a blanket under each knee. 

Advanced Tips:

1. Hold your big toes in a yogi toe lock as you forward bend. 

2. Bring your chest all the way to the floor if you can do so with a flat back.

3. If you are near the floor but not quite there, you can place a block under your forehead for support. 

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