Upavistha Konasana ("Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend") is one of the many yoga poses which require straddle flexibility. This pose stretches the hamstrings and inner-thigh muscles (also known as adductors). Prolonged sitting can cause tightness in the back, hips, and hamstrings which can make one more prone to injuries.
There are many routines that can help to improve straddle flexibility. These routines can be done as warm-ups before going into a deep stretch as well. Besides flexibility, I often incorporate elements of strengthening exercises in my routines for muscle-toning.
Here are a few routines that can improve straddle flexibility and at the same time, tone the muscles:
Surya Namaskar ("Sun Salutations")
Begin with a few rounds of Surya Namaskar to prepare yourself for the practice. You can turn on soothing music to calm your thoughts and bring your mind to a focus.
Anjaneyasana ("Low Lunge Pose")
Skandasana ("Side Lunge Pose")
Baddha Konasana ("Butterfly Pose")
Utkata Konasana ("Goddess Pose")
Consistency is the key to achieving straddle flexibility.
Stretching once a week is definitely not enough! To make significant progress, try to stretch daily for a start and reduce the frequency when you feel more confident coming into hip-opening poses. Be patient with your body and be comfortable in your practice.
For those who are looking for some fun, try the Pancake Fold.