This week, we’ve been indulging in the joys of Upavistha Konasana B.
Located towards the end of the Ashtanga Primary Series, Upavistha Konasana B is a pose of joy! The feeling of tons of energy and information coursing up and down your spine to stay balanced, the strength in the abdominal muscles to stay up on the sit bones and keep the spine long rather than collapsing into a ‘C-shape’, coupled with the powerful heart and hamstring opening effect; makes this pose a total winner.
Also over the course of this week, I haven’t seen one person attempt it without a big smile!
Here’s a step by step guide to upping yourself up into Upavistha Konasana B:
1) Lock down your yogi toe lock
Yogi toe lock is one of those things which, when understood and used ‘properly’ can absolutely transform your practice. Take Padangusthasana, for example. A good, grippy, yogi toe lock can help you to safely and dynamically stretch the whole of the back of your body, as well as balance confidently in Upavistha Konasana B.
Use your index finger and middle finger, and wrap them both around the big toe. Not just the tips of the fingers, no, no, the WHOLE FINGERS. Get a really good strong grip. Press your big toes away from you, but then with your fingers, pull the big toe towards you – this creates opposing actions which we love in a dynamic yoga practice.
2) Fire up your abs
Strong abdominals, or a strong Uddyana bandha (explanatory post coming soon) will help to keep the chest lifting whilst we lift our legs. It’s common to roll back or for legs to fall back to the floor – strengthening the abdominals will go a long way to keeping lift in the chest and legs, just like in Navasana. Just like in Navasana, we’re aiming to balance on the sit bones, rather than on teh cushioning of the bottom, strong abs will make this happen!
3) Turn off your Trapezius
Your trapezius muscle is the muscle that contracts when your shoulders hunch up towards your ears. It’s common for the Trapezius muscle to be packed full of tension, and it’s really common that they’re turned on for a large proportion of the day. When the Trapiezius is tense (you can tell this, as shoulders are lifted up towards the ears), this a) makes us feel tense all over, which is not great for the body in general, but also, b) impacts on the ability to balance.
If you turn off your Trapezius – i.e. roll the shoulder blades down your back, this releases tension but also, helps to turn on helpful muscles around the back and sides of the body which *will* help us balance, as well as support the spine and add on strength to that which the abdominal muscles are providing… The action of rolling the shoulder blades down the back really does help to achieve all of this!
4) Bend those legs
Be kind to your hamstrings, and they will be kind to you. If legs are reaching the edge of their stretch, bend them. This will help keep the lower back stable and healthy, and will help keep you balanced.
5) Bend those arms!
Bending your arms will bring strength into them, using those opposing forces I mentioned above. Aim to send your elbows away from each other, and point them down to the mat. Bent arms will also allow you to further expand your chest, which is a fabulous feeling!
Have a go at Upavistha Konasana B, we’d LOVE to hear how you get on!
Written by Holly
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