Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend: Relax and Reset

Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose, a Restorative yoga pose

Article At A Glance

Sometimes, we need a break during a hectic day. Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose is the perfect respite. Explore this Restorative Yoga Pose with many variations here. You’ll be happy you did.

Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend (Salamba Upavista Konasana) is a calming pose that is also a good release for the back body. It gently stretches the lower back and the backs of the legs and releases tension in the shoulders and neck. It also stretches the inner thighs and groins, areas that get tight and protected in both men and women.

It’s a quieting pose, as forward folds, in general, are inward-focused. So Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend is an excellent pose for reducing stress, calming the nervous system, and quieting the mind. I recommend practicing this pose often during busy seasons and whenever you need some time to go within, release tension, and reset.

The pose is not for everyone, though. Those with groin or hamstring injuries or with severe neck issues should avoid this pose.

How to Set Up Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose

Restorative yoga and Supported Wide Angle Forward Bends require yoga props.

  1. To set up for the pose, you’ll need the following: a yoga mat, 1 bolster, and 2 to 3 blankets as needed. For some variations, you’ll also need a chair and/or two sandbags.
  2. Start by spreading a yoga mat on the floor. Place a yoga bolster or stack of blankets by the side of the mat. If you’re planning on using a chair instead of folded blankets, place the chair on the mat and place a folded blanket on the seat of the chair.
  3. If your hamstrings or hips are tight, fold a blanket to sit on.

How to Practice Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose

Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose, a Restorative yoga pose

  1. Sit in Easy Crossed-Legs Pose (Sukhasana) in the center of the mat, either on the mat itself or on the edge of a folded blanket. From there, sit up tall, find your sitting bones, and let them settle into the ground.
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you and open them up as wide as is comfortable. Place the bolster, stack of blankets, or chair between your legs. The bolster can be placed vertically or horizontally on the mat.
  3. As you inhale, lengthen your spine. As you exhale, fold yourself forward from your hip joints over the props. Make sure your neck is long, and your shoulders are soft.
  4. Either rest your forehead on the bolster or turn your head to the side and rest on one cheek, whichever is more comfortable.  If you are resting on one cheek, make sure to switch to the other side halfway through your time in the pose.
  5. Stay in the pose for 2 to 4 minutes if you feel comfortable.

Feel the Love: Refine Your Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose

  1. Elongate the back of your neck, allowing your forehead or cheek to relax onto the props. Invite your shoulders to release.
  2. Take several slow, deep breaths, melting into the support. Sense all the places you feel your body making contact with the props and the ground, and allow yourself to settle. Turn your attention inward and focus on your breath. Greet the sensations in your back body, groins, inner thighs, and entire body with an open mind, observing without judgment. If emotions arise, observe them and the changing sensations in loving awareness. If you feel any pain or discomfort, gently come out of the pose.
  3. You can also try releasing tension, stress, anxiety, worry, and exhaustion on the exhalation and cultivating peace, self-love, and comfort on the inhalation.
  4. In quieter holds, anchor your awareness in the sensations in your body by following the breath as it moves in and out, finding stillness as you open and expand into the pose.

Variations for Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose

A supported by a chair variation of Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose

  1. Less flexible people or people who just want a very supported version of this pose can do the pose with a chair instead of a bolster. Place your folded arms on the chair seat and rest your forehead on your stacked hands.
  2. If your knees require additional support due to tight hamstrings, slide a rolled-up blanket under each of them.
  3. For a deeper sense of grounding, place a light sandbag on each of your thighs.

Image depicts a chair pose variation of Supported Wide Angle Forward Bend Pose.

This pose can also be done as a forward bend to one side at a time, as in the photograph below. This variation stretches the sides of the body, the waist, and the lower, middle, and upper back. Releasing muscle tension in those areas may enhance your relaxation. Make sure to time the pose for the same amount of time on each side.


Image depicts a variation of the featured pose



Reprinted with permission from the Yoga for Healthy Aging Blog
leza lowitz

Leza Lowitz is a California girl who lives in Tokyo. Always willing to go to any length and travel any distance to discover who she was and how to be happy, she met her soulmate at a jazz club in Yokohama and moved to Japan to be with him. Ten years later, Leza and Shogo undertook the crazy project of opening a yoga studio in Tokyo. Three years after that, they adopted a beautiful boy and rescued two dogs, starting a family in their mid-forties.

For over two decades, Leza has been bringing together the worlds of yoga and creativity at her popular yoga studio, Sun and Moon Yoga, and in over twenty best-selling books. Originally from San Francisco, she studied meditation, yoga, and healing for over 35 years and taught for over 25. Lowitz credits her yoga and meditation practice with deepening her creativity, discipline, and compassion. She considers yoga and writing to be life-saving tonics that offer amazing self-discovery experiences, love, joy, creativity, and community. 

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