Pose of the Week: Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Wide-Legged Seated Forward or Upavistha Konasana is a seated yoga posture that deeply stretches the inner groin and spine, while calming the mind. It is often practiced toward the end of a yoga class, when the body is warm, to prepare the body for even deeper forward folds.

Begin by sitting in Dandasana (staff pose) with a tall spine.
Extend your legs out to the side into a V. Flex through your feet and engage your quadriceps keeping the knees pointed towards the ceiling.
With your hands in front of you, inhale lengthen your spine and rock your pelvis forward, exhale begin to walk the hands out in front of you. Walk your fingertips forward until you find an edge that feels appropriate for your body and keeps the spine long. If you notice the spine rounds or the shoulders collapse try backing out of the pose and stopping at a place that emphasis lengthening evenly through the spine.
Hold for 10-15 breaths.
To come out of the pose, use your hands to walk yourself back up to seated upright. Place your hands to the outside of your knees. Bend your knees and use your hands to guide your legs back together. As a counter pose rock your legs from side to side to create internal rotation for the hips.
Tips:
Use a folded blanket underneath your buttocks to elevate your hips to assist in rocking the pelvis forward.
Place a bolster under your stomach to support your chest or a block under your forward to allow the body to relax into the pose.

Benefits of the pose include stretching of the hamstrings, spine, groins while stimulating the kidneys helping to improve their ability to remove toxins from the body. Forward folding draws awareness inward, which calms the mind which can alleviate anxiety, fatigue, and mild depression.