Upavistha Konasana: Wide-Seated Angle Pose
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.
- 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.
- Begin sitting in staff pose (dandasana). Slide your heels out as wide as you can without strain.
- Lift your hips up, send your tailbone back, then place your hips back down.
- Rotate your inner thighs up toward the ceiling so your kneecaps face straight up. Extend through your heels.
- 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.
- Hold the pose for up to 60 seconds. Gently lift your torso, then use your hands to bring your knees together to release.
- Cobblers pose | Baddha konasana
- Wide-legged forward fold | Prasarita padottanasana
- Reclined hand to foot | Supta padangusthasana
- Tortoise pose | Kurmasana
- Garland pose | Malasana
- Cow face pose | Gomukhasana
- Easy pose | Sukhasana
- Seated forward fold | Paschimottanasana
- Upavistha = seated
- Kona = angle
- Asana = pose
- Stretches the groin, adductor muscles, and hamstrings.
- Strengthens the muscles along the spine.
- Thought to improve posture.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Upward Facing Dog Pose
Urdhva mukha svanasana (OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna) is a challenging backbend commonly seen as part of the transition series in vinyasa yoga.
Philosophy + Origin
The Mahabharata tells a story about a loyal dog who accompanies Yudhishthira, one of the five Pandava brothers, to the gates of heaven. Lord Indra greets the pair at the gates, but tells Yudhishthira that the dog is not allowed into heaven. Upon hearing this, the brother argues for the sake of the dog, telling Lord Indra of its devotion and loyalty. Yudhishthira says that because the dog has been so loyal to him, he will return that loyalty. At this moment, the dog is revealed to be Dharma, and Yudhisthira and his loyal companion are welcomed joyously into heaven. When practicing upward facing dog, remind yourself of the loyalty and dedication you have to your practice and showing up each day in your life. Persistence is always rewarded.