10.30.2011

Asana of the Week: Upavishta Konasana

A
Upavishta Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) is a beautiful seated posture that strengthens and lengthens the torso as it promotes increased circulation and good health of the pelvic region.  Gregor Maehle claims this posture balances the flow of pranic and apanic energy in the body (Ashtanga Yoga:  Practice & Philosophy), and BKS Iyengar promotes this posture as a "boon to women" for it's ability to regulate menstrual flow and "stimulate the ovaries" (Light on Yoga).

There are two phases to this posture, the first of which is pictured above, wherein the back of the legs and the front of the torso are laid on the floor.  In this phase, the feet should be flexed with the toes and knees pointing straight up to achieve the desired rotation of the legs.  Spread the legs as wide as possible while maintaining a firm grip on the feet.  Keep the back body long and melt the heart toward the floor.  If the chest is resting comfortably on the floor, lift the gaze to take the chin down rather than the forehead to promote further forward extension.

After 5 breaths in position A, inhale to lengthen and lift the head, then exhale to fold toward the floor with the purpose of creating momentum so that, with the next inhale, you roll up to balance on the sitting bones with the legs spread wide in position B.  Try to maintain your grip on the feet through this transition.  If it is not possible keep hold of the feet (which is the reality for most of us), you may release the feet and lift your straight legs to meet the hands at the top of the roll.  Once your grip is established, point the feet and lift your gaze to the sky.  Remain in position B for 5 deep breaths.

B

For those lacking in flexibility, it is preferable in position A to bend the knees rather than allow the back to round.  However, in position B it is best to keep the legs straight even if that means holding on to the big toes or calves instead of the edges of the feet.  Ground into the sitting bones to lift from the crown of the head.  Feel the heart open and expansive as you press the legs wide and plug the arm bones into their sockets.

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful, especially position B!!

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  2. Megan, is there any benefit in practicing position B for men?

    Regards
    CA. Abhishek Sanyal

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