Release Your Spine With Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend

Image depicts a Upavistha Konasana or seated Forward Bend Variation.

Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend Pose (Upavistha Konasana) is a beautiful posture that stretches the lower back, hips, inner thighs, hamstrings, glutes, lower legs, and beyond. It is an excellent posture to target multiple body areas at once.

There are many ways to practice any given posture in the yogic repertoire, including—of course—Upavistha Konasana. 

Most of us tend to spend our days seated in a slouched position. In this article, we’ll explore a variation of this shape with an elongated spine. The focus is on hinging at the hip joints to specifically target the back of the legs and counter the usual “slouch” we often adopt throughout the day.

Lengthen Your Spine With This Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend Pose (Upavistha Konasana) Variation

For this variation of Upavistha Konasana, you’ll need a yoga bolster and a chair.

  1. Place your bolster lengthwise on your mat so it’s parallel to the long edge of your mat. Place your chair forward in front of your bolster. Image depicts a Upavistha Konasana or seated Forward Bend Variation.
  2. Come to sit on the edge of your bolster so that you’re just utilizing the bolster directly beneath your sitting bones.
  3. Spread your legs out wide into a V shape and activate your legs. Flex your ankles, press out through the balls of your feet, and spread your toes. Actively root your heels firmly into the floor beneath you. Option to bend your knees or to slide props beneath your knees for support.
  4. Allow your pelvis to tilt forward just slightly into an anterior tilt as if you’re trying to spill the contents of your pelvic bowl forward toward the top of your mat.
  5. Hinging from your hips, lean your torso toward the top of your mat and place your hands on the chair seat in front of you.
  6. Gently press your hands and/or forearms down into the chair seat and, without movement, energetically draw your arms back toward your body to help pull you further into the fold while maintaining length through your spine. It may feel as if you’re slightly creating a backbend through your spine—this sensation will likely give you the length you’re looking for in your back body.
  7. Option to stay as you are or to draw your legs further apart from each other.Upavistha Konasana a Seated Forward Fold with the support of a chair.
  8. Option to slide your chair further forward toward the top of your mat to allow your torso to release deeper into the forward fold. Option to hold further down on the legs of the chair. 
  9. Option to release the bolster from under your seat while maintaining your anterior pelvic tilt.
  10. Wherever you choose to be, focus on maintaining the length in your back body in this variation of Upavistha Konasana. Only go as far into the pose as you’re able to maintain a sensation of length in your spine and a subtle arch in your lower back.
  11. Hold in the variation of the Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend Pose you choose for a few long, deep breaths, utilizing your breath to create more space in your spine.
  12. When you feel ready, slowly release yourself from the pose the way that you came in. Stop and pause at all the points you worked on as you were coming into your fold to feel the reverse actions in your body as you draw yourself out of the shape.

Release Hamstring Tension and Lengthen Your Spine

Again, you can practice  Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasan) in many ways—this is not the only way. But it’s a nice variation to play with in your practice. It provides a deep release along the backs of your legs and helps you lengthen your spine. It’s especially helpful if you tend to sit slouched throughout your day.

Give it a try and see how you like it. It might be your new favorite variation of your Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend Pose.

Wide-legged Seated Forward Bend

Leah Sugerman, E-RYT 500, YACEP, yoga writer

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless schools and traditions of the practice. She teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings, both internationally and online. For more information, visit

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