Upavistha Konasana: Wide-Seated Angle Pose

UpavisthaKonasana_RodneyYee

Upavistha konasana (oo-pah-VEESH-tah cone-AHS-ah-nah) is a soothing – or intense – pose depending on the style and intention of the practice. This seated pose stretches the hamstrings and groins, while strengthening the supporting muscles of your spine. This pose is said to help improve your posture and promote ease and comfort in your body.

Wide-seated angle pose offers very different experiences depending on the intention and style of yoga. Yin and restorative styles will offer a relaxed variation, often with the use of props to support minimal effort.  In a more active practice like vinyasa, the pose may be used to actively stretch and build heat.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Place a rolled blanket under your knees for extra support.
  • Place a folded blanket under your seat to help encourage your pelvis to tip forward and prevent rounding in your spine.
  • Sit against a wall to support your spine.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin sitting in staff pose (dandasana). Slide your heels out as wide as you can without strain.
  2. Lift your hips up, send your tailbone back, then place your hips back down.
  3. Rotate your inner thighs up toward the ceiling so your kneecaps face straight up. Extend through your heels.
  4. Press your thigh bones into the ground and walk your hands forward. As you move forward, keep your torso long and your spine neutral. Bring your hands as far forward as you can while maintaining the length between your pubic bone and your navel.
  5. Hold the pose for up to 60 seconds. Gently lift your torso, then use your hands to bring your knees together to release.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Upavistha = seated
  • Kona = angle
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches the groin, adductor muscles, and hamstrings.
  • Strengthens the muscles along the spine.
  • Thought to improve posture.


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Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Bhujangasana (boo-jang-GAHS-anna) is a great way to strengthen the upper back and is often practiced as part of a transition back to downward-facing dog in vinyasa yoga. Practicing cobra pose regularly can improve your lung capacity, reduce stress, and stimulate many of the internal organs in your body.

Philosophy + Origin

Although often perceived as evil or dangerous, snakes also have a rich history of power and worship. In some yoga traditions, the energy of kundalini is represented by a serpent resting coiled at the base of the spine. By awakening this snake, we enliven our body’s energy and create a pathway towards enlightenment. This connection with enlightenment is also seen in many portrayals of the Buddha where he is shown with a cobra over his head.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Option to swap cobra pose for sphinx pose by placing your forearms on the floor.
  • Lengthen the back of the neck to avoid straining the neck and upper back.
  • If you experience discomfort in the lower back, bend the elbows more.
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