The term comes from the Sanskrit words 'upavistha' meaning seated, 'kona' meaning angle and 'asana' meaning posture.
Instructions: Sit erect and keep the spine straight with the legs straight in front of you. Lean your torso back slightly on your hands and slide both the legs outwards in such a manner that they spread on the sides of the pelvis (the legs should form a 90-degree angle with the pelvis as in the image). Press your hands against the floor and slide your buttocks forward, widening the legs another 10 to 20 degrees. If you feel uncomfortable, raise the buttocks slightly by placing a folded blanket under the buttocks. Let your toes point upwards. The kneecaps of the outstretched legs should point straight up toward the ceiling. Now with your buttocks pressed heavily into the floor and your kneecaps pointing up at the ceiling, walk your hands forward between your legs as you exhale gently. Keep your arms long. As with all forward bends, the emphasis is on moving from the hip joints and maintaining the length of the front torso. Do not bend from the waist or curve it. Always bend forward from the hip keeping the torso straight. Stay in the pose for a minute or so breathing calmly. Inhale, raise the torso and release the pose gently. Repeat 3-4 times.
- It gives a very good stretch to the hips, legs, the abductor muscles of the groin and the hamstrings.
- It tones and detoxifies the internal organs and improves digestion.
- It soothes the mind and helps reduce stress and anxiety.
- It provides relief from sciatica and arthritis.
- It detoxifies the kidneys.
- It activates the core muscles.
- This asana should be avoided by people suffering from lower spine, groin, hip or hamstring injuries.
- This asana should be avoided by pregnant or menstruating women.