Around the World in 30 Asanas: Upavista Konasana

The end to the Omaha trip required a touch of flexibility and resilience.

Between my host’s stolen credit card, a heat advisory, a flooded train track and the subsequent canceled train, I found myself leaving two days early – before I was able to achieve most of my goals there.

Sunset over the reservation.

It was simply a series of unpredictable circumstances and in the end, I had a lot to be grateful for: the rare experience of a pow wow, preparing an array of delicious healthy foods (cooking’s a real treat for me right now), and of course, meeting some lovely people to whom I was able to give at least one yoga class.

Fig and cumin cous cous with balsamic zataar tomatoes on a bed of baby spinach.

In a sense, it was a fantastic weekend.

But I wanted to do more.  I wanted to provide more yoga classes to the patients of the diabetes program Ho Chunk Hope.  I wanted to offer healing massages as a gift to the program workers.  I wanted to put together a quality article that would spread the good word about this program.  And most of all, I wanted to prepare for service back home.

(Want, want, want!  Achieve, do, succeed!  I know, these are taboo words in many circles.  But the point of it all was service . . . )

Home, good ole Hawaii

I’d been visiting Ewa Beach and Honolulu for a week but left early to write this article in Nebraska.  Being part Native Hawaiian, I’ve always felt a calling to serve the community when I return back home.  Be it through yoga, writing, teaching or even building a bridge between a brilliant doctor and the right public health officials, I’m still not sure.

On a personal note, it wasn’t easy to say goodbye to my family again, after such a short trip, or to leave the magical beaches and mountains behind.  Just one week left me with this sweet feeling of comfort I didn’t realize I was missing until I had it back in my heart again.

So when most the service goals of this trip completely fell through … I had to take a deep breath and listen to what the Universe was saying to me.

C’est la vie.

Go with the flow.

The strength of bamboo lies in its flexibility.

The greatest effort is not concerned with results.

And just the faintest little voice, that vaguely resembled my 9 year-old cousin: EPIC FAIL!

Hehe.  No, it was a partial fail, if anything, and to be honest, the change of plans simply translated into extra time with my Irish family in Chi-town.  What I’d planned simply wasn’t meant to be.

Hence the pose, upavishta konasana, in the middle of downtown Omaha. 

Flexibility in the midst of temporary chaos.
To get into the pose, sit on the mat with your legs straightened in a ‘V,’ or wider if your body will allow.  Put your hands on the floor in front of you and gradually walk them forward.  Go deeper on the exhale until you reach your intelligent edge, going only as far forward as feels good.  Once you’ve found a space that is both challenging and enjoyable, make no judgements and breathe.
Just like the unexpected outcome of this trip to Nebraska, sometimes, you can only go so far.

In Ayurveda, the pose is used for treating arthritis, sciatica, and kidney issues.  According to Yoga Journal, the pose also:

  • Stretches the insides and backs of the legs
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Calms the brain
  • Releases groins
If you have any lower back concerns, start with a more narrow space between your legs, and consider using a pillow under your bum.

In this variation, I’m sitting upright, rather than with my fingers bound around my big toes, torso parallel to the ground.  The choice of a prayer-like mudra was a logistical one – sidewalks are usually pretty dirty, afterall – though you can bet I was praying to any Divine that might exist there’d be no more hiccups in the trip!

Oh, Life

Hehe.  And there were.  Hiccups, that is, not divine intervention :o)

Carrot cake gone AWOL, misprinted boarding passes, a 50 minute wait on the runway, minor icicles on the tip of the iceberg.  But you breathe through it, remember to respond consciously, and slap a little grin on your face, even if it’s just to stop yourself from biting someone’s head off!  (kidding, of course ;))

Cuz just around the corner, there’s a cheery airport security worker who’ll be more than happy to make you laugh before you get on that airplane.  And suddenly, life’s all good again.


For more Around the World in 30 Asanas on The Weekly Jo, click here.

The rest of the posts will be featured on Yoga Lovin’ in weeks to come.  Watch this space.


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