How to Do Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose in Yoga (Guide to Upavistha Konasana)

Wide-angle seated forward bend is a deep hamstring stretch that will improve mobility in the lower body.

After spending a few breaths or minutes here, you might like to lay on your back with your knees to your chest as a counterpose.

“Wide-angle seated forward bend is a particularly wonderful pose if you are experiencing tightness in the hips after a day of sitting,” says Yoga Answered contributor Keira Shepherd. “To adjust this pose to your body, stop moving your feet apart when you feel as though you’re caving in the lower back and finding it difficult to sit tall.”

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Upavistha Konasana
Pose Type: Forward Bend Yoga Poses, Hip-Opening Yoga Poses, Seated Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: Hamstrings, ankles, hips, pelvis, lower back, upper back, core, quads
Benefits: This pose stretches and strengthens the hips, hamstrings, calves, and shoulders. It’s also great for reducing stress and increasing mobility and range of motion in the lower body.
Preparatory Poses: Seated forward bend pose, butterfly pose

How to Do Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Start by sitting on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Ground your sit bones into the mat and grow tall through the crown of your head to lengthen your spine.
  3. Flex your ankles to point your toes towards the ceiling.
  4. Gently bring your feet as far apart as is comfortable – you should feel a deep stretch in the inner thighs but shouldn’t experience any pain.
  5. Stay here for a few breaths, allowing your hamstrings to open.
  6. Place your hands on the floor in front of you.
  7. When you feel ready, begin to hinge at the hips, bringing your torso towards the ground and using your hands to support the bend.
  8. Focus on keeping a straight spine until you’ve moved as far as it is comfortable.
  9. If you don’t have any pain in the spine you can round your shoulders, bringing your head closer to the ground – maybe even to rest on the ground.

Beginner’s Tip

The focus during this pose should be on keeping a straight spine. If this feels difficult or you feel as though you’re going to fall backward, bring the feet a bit closer together.

Contraindications

  • Avoid this pose if you have pain or injury in the hips.
  • Practicing this pose might be uncomfortable if you have pain in the sacroiliac joint.
  • Work on improving your breath awareness before practicing this pose if you’re still learning about the breath-body connection as you move into asanas.

Variation

You can modify this pose by adding props.

Bring a block or cushion underneath the sit bones if you find it hard to sit up straight through the spine with your legs apart.

You can also build a “tower” of blocks between your feet as a place to rest your forehead when you hinge forward. As well as making the pose more accessible, this can also instill a wonderful sense of calm and groundedness.

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