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Season 1 - Episode 8

Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold

15 min - Tutorial


When we feel supported, its easier to open. Kira and Jacqui show how to approach Upavistha Konasana (Wide Angle Seated Forward Fold) with a wall and a friend.
What You'll Need: Partner, Wall

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Jan 17, 2015
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Hi, welcome back. Thanks for being here. Thank you, Jackie. So we're gonna play with looking at Upavishta Konasana, seated wide angle pose. Our friend Betsy calls it piece of pizza. This is one of those postures that sure there are a lot of ways to work towards it and with it. But in my experience so far with Asana practice, either you're kind of born to do this posture or not. My friend Jackie has been practicing yoga for about 20 years and she's also a runner. So we'll take a look at the shape and then we'll show a way to play with it with a friend. Okay. So legs are as wide as is appropriate or as Edna in the Incredible says, stretch as far as you can without hurting yourself. And then you start to let your hands go forward. Okay, nice. I mean beautiful, right? So beautiful. Okay again, Jackie's been practicing for about 20 years and she's a runner. Okay. Most of us don't end up looking like this. What's required to sort of look like this is a really nice internal rotation of the hips, nice long length in the inner thighs, softness in the heart. Okay. Here's how I like to work it with my friends. So Jackie's gonna show. She's gonna roll back up. Okay. She's gonna bring her buttocks right up against the wall. Now the way to bring yourself up against the wall is to come side saddle to the wall, both booty cheeks. And once you get both booty cheeks to the wall, you tuck, tuck and roll. Nice. Now for some of you who are working with stickier hamstrings, this might not feel awesome. Okay. You might be too close to the wall already and some of you might need to back off just a little bit so you're at much more of an angle. Does this feel okay? Then you simply let your legs go wide. And for some of you, this might be dramatic enough. Okay. Because already you've got this really nice passive stretch through the inner thigh line, through the inner knee and if it already feels like too much, you just back off a little bit. And some people find the passive stretch is too much and they'll put, you know, maybe you have two small stools at your house or bricks. But here's how to work it with a friend. With Jackie's permission, is this okay? I'm going to step in and the key when you're working with a friend is to really give an exit route. So if at any point you want this exercise to stop, say stop. Okay. I'm going to bring my legs in close. Snuggle, snuggle, snuggle. Okay. I start with my knees bent and then when it looks like she's ready, I'm going to just so gently press like my legs towards straight so that that creates the action. Whoa, does that feel okay? That creates the action to allow, okay, her to feel supportive enough, supported enough so that her legs can relax a little bit. What tends to happen for us is we tend to think that we need to hold on to our legs and all of this gets quite munchy. And so my job is to provide that support so her legs know that they are attached. And when you're working with a buddy, the best place to look is at your buddy's face because her face will indicate how things are long before she'll say anything. And I'm trying to time it internally to be here about a minute or so. I'm in like filming land so I'm not exactly sure how long I've been here at this point. Filming minutes soft in the mouth, but it's about a minute that I'm going for. Okay, nice. And this might be enough. Some of you, this might be enough and when it's enough, the way you release is you just let your knees bend and you relax. We're going to show a few more things you can do to help play here. So Jackie's going to come into what we usually call Baddha Konasana. She's going to bring the soles of her feet together. Now, if the ankles against the wall causes mischief, sometimes a little blanket there can feel good. And I really almost forgot to give a shout out to Papa Shiffman for this one. So you start out really in close to your buddy because if I'm close into her hip joints, this is the safest place. I have the least amount of leverage, but it's the safest as I snuggle in and then I let my, is that okay? I let my legs draw straighter. Okay. And you'll get a sense. You're not, there's no award for getting your partner's knees against the wall. You're just trying to provide support. Now the closer I am into her joints, the safer it is. The least likely I am to cause any kind of mischief. The further I bring my legs out to her knees, the more leverage I have. Okay. And then when I have more leverage, I can, I can enact more action, but I also have greater risk of injury. So does it feel good for me to stay here or would it feel good for me to come a little wider? This is good. Yeah. Okay. So if, if, if for your partner it makes sense to get more leverage, you would widen your legs more out to the knees. For us today, this is the right spot. Okay. Again, I'm, I'm trying to be here about a minute or so. We'll find out how long it's really been in a moment. Okay. And then the play is here is how do we play with one side and then the other? So the way we like to do that is you release. So again, Jackie, remember, at any time it's too much. You just say stop. So I'm going to gently with my C3PO leg, I'm going to gently start to move towards, and the word is, this is a terrible word to use, but I'm, I'm gently trying to pin or press this knee towards the wall. It's not a goal. I'm just, this is the one that I'm putting action on. I'm letting this one come away. Does that feel okay? And then so gently with my R2D2 leg, I'm going to lengthen. It's almost like I've come into a warrior. I'm using this leg, too much. See, it's okay. Okay. I'm using this leg, okay, to help create an opening. So I'm, I'm, this one is stable. This one I'm using to create an opening. I'm watching her face because her face will tell me how it's going long before she will. It's okay. Okay. And if I want a little extra fanciness, I might do something like that. Oh, nice. And you'll be able to, that's fun. You can sort of feel with what's going on in there. Okay. And then when you're ready about, again, I think that's like a shy minute. Those of you at home, you might have a timer or something fancy like that. So again, I'm just, this and this, her sides are so wonderfully different. And you'll be able to tell when you play with this with your buddy. But I'm just, I'm trying to create this stability on this side. Does that feel like about right? Okay. And then I'm going to use this leg to just so gently. Is that enough? Okay. I'm using this leg to press. Oh, hello. Press back.

Okay. I'm watching her face. Her job is to communicate. I can be fancy. Nice. That changed. Okay. You're just creating stability, creating length, checking in with your partner, seeing how that's going. Nice. Hmm. Feels like about two nice, big, more breaths. Okay. So then when you've done the equal amount on each side, now again, like so, so before I was really quite close into her hips, does it feel safe to come out to the knees a little bit more? So just to show, like you might go back into your partner's hips, but if it feels okay, again, if you're out by the knees a little bit more, is it all right? You'll get a little bit more leverage. So nice. Pretty. Then when you're ready, you'll gently release. Okay. And the partner on the floor, in this case, Jackie, she'll let her knees come together and then she'll let her legs go back up the wall. And then when she's ready and if she's ready, she'll let them go wide one more time. Just to find out if that, to sort of find out if that was useful. Okay. And then you might decide to stay here. Really, this is the safest way to approach Upavishya Konasana, just here, because when you're on your back, okay, you're not putting any pressure in the discs on the back. So there's, there's very little risk in the forward fold here and you can get the inner line opening. Okay. But if you'd like to see how this affected the posture, to come out of here, you'd bring the legs back up. You'd let the knees bend. You'll roll to a side. You come back up and then just be tender, be gentle, and then maybe find your way back towards Upavishya Konasana just to see. Again, these are just ideas. How's that feel so far? Okay. And there's all sorts of ideas. Some of you might like to flex your feet. Some of you might like to point your feet. Some of you might rotate your hips back or forward. Pretty. Now, because I'm Jackie's friend and because I can see what's happening with her feet a little bit, how's that feel? Does it feel different? How does it feel different? Feels more open in the inner groin. Feels more open in the inner groin. So now in this direction, just one more thing you might do if you happen to be lucky enough to have some yoga friends, because just, this isn't great for everybody, but for Jackie, what might feel good, let's try, is I'm just gonna give a little pressure and just actually, even though the posture is asking for the hips to roll forward, if I kind of roll her back a little bit, it's providing that same stability. Is that okay? That same stability that I was providing at the wall? How's that feel? Okay. She said, oh good, so I'm just gonna take that as truth. And I'm rolling back a little bit and I'm also pressing down. That just gives her a sense of stability, because until we feel held, until we feel that sense of stability, it doesn't make intelligent sense to let go. Okay, and so that's one of the main benefits of relationship. It's like somebody to lean up against. That's why the wall's a good one. Okay, nice job. Only when you're ready, you can come back up. So again, like, you know, this is one of those postures where, of course, there's so many things we can do. We can put blankets under your knees. We can do straps. There's many things, but today, because my friend Jackie was here, I just wanted to show something that you can do with a friend. Play up against a wall and see what you find out. Let us know. Thanks for being here. Thanks for being here. Love.


Misty Eve Hannah
super lovely sensing into what supports and helps me to feel held in these poses...warm hearted thank you!

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