How I Get More out of My Favorite Seated Yoga Asana
The cover photo on my website is me doing a variation of one my favorite poses, Upavista Konasana (Wide Leg Forward Bend). This image also gets me a constant stream of email inquiries: “What are doing with the strap in that picture?”
It seems an official explanation is overdue so I’ll post it right here on the udaya site along with a quick video tutorial.
In summary, the belt gives you some resistance to assist with your isometric contractions. Notice how when Terry (at 2:45) took her legs wider, she used her hands? That’s her passive range of motion. She didn’t just take her legs there without assistance. By contracting into the belt at end range, she is able to strengthen her hip muscles in that joint position so that in the future, she may have active access to that range.
As I mentioned in the video, this is great for students who lack lateral hip strength. If you tend to hyperextend the knees and lift the heels, you can also roll up a blanket or towel and place it under the knees. If you really want to challenge yourself, try pulling away from the belt without actually slacking the belt while also pressing into the belt (co-contracting the medial and lateral hip musculature). Yowza!
If you have further questions, reaching out to me on twitter will get you the fastest reply. My handle is @julesyoga.
If you want to experience this pose in the context of a sequenced yoga class, you can watch the whole class, Drop Down and Give Me 20!, on Udaya.com.
by Jules Mitchell, MS, Yoga Educator/Therapist
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