[Pose Of the Week] Upward-Facing Seated Angle Pose (Intermediate)

Stretch & open your heart, hips, legs, & more with Upward-Facing Seated Angle Pose…

Upward-Facing Seated Angle Pose (Urdhva Mukha Upavistha Konasana) – also known as Upward Facing Seated Straddle Pose or Upward Seated Splits Pose – is a seated yoga pose that offers a great stretch for the calves, hamstrings, and upper body among other areas. This intermediate-level pose opens the chest and hips, releases the groin muscles, and stretches the legs, arms, shoulders, lower back, spine, and inner thighs. It is also thought to stimulate the inner abdominal organs, as well as the Heart and Sacral Chakras.

Be gentle with yourself in this pose, being careful not to compress your lower back, neck, or shoulder joints, and don’t open your legs wider than what is comfortable for you. With time and practice, your flexibility will increase, so don’t be in a hurry to achieve the full pose just yet if you are a beginner or new to this pose.

To modify the pose, you can bend your knees slightly, or sit on a folded blanket. You may also try changing the direction that your fingers are pointing while your palms are on the floor to vary the stretch.

Those with lower back injuries should consult a doctor or qualified instructor before attempting this pose.

How to Do Upward-Facing Seated Angle Pose:

  1. Begin in Staff Pose (Dandasana), back straight and legs outstretched in front of you. Lean back slightly and open your legs about 90 degrees or more. Press your thigh bones into the ground and make sure your knees are pointing up towards the sky. Keep your muscles engaged and your feet flexed with the toes pointing up. Push your hands into the floor and push your buttocks forward, increasing the angle of your stretch.
  2. Check the position of your legs. Your knees should be pointing up toward the ceiling; if they are not, roll your thighs outward slightly and press them into the floor. Push through your legs and out your heels.
  3. Keeping your spine long and your shoulders square, place your hands 1-2 inches behind your sitting bones, palms down and shoulder-width apart. Your fingers may be pointing out directly behind you, or in directly toward you. Open the chest and the shoulders and gently curve your back as you shift your weight onto your hands. Tilt your head without putting strain on the neck, gazing up at the ceiling.
  4. Hold for 30-60 seconds, or longer if you feel comfortable. Do not curve your back too far as this could cause tension in the lower back, neck and shoulders. Come out of the position with an exhalation.
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