“The pose is a blessing to women.” – BKS Iyengar, Light on Yoga
Those words from Iyengar were in reference to the yoga pose Baddha Konasana (BAH-dah cone-AH-sana) or Bound Angle Pose. You may also know it as Butterfly Pose. Its benefits are many, especially as a hip opener and especially what it does for women.
How to do Baddha Konasana?
Baddha Konasana is done seated on your mat. Before you rush into the pose, extend your legs out in front of you with your weight centered just in front of the sit bones. Align your shoulders over your hips and extend that straight line through the top of your head.
Bend your knees to the outside and bring the soles of your feet together. Bring your heels as close to the pelvis as is comfortable. If you feel any pain in your knees, move your feet further away.
Take hold of your feet placing your thumbs by your arches and rolling your feet open with the rest of your fingers on the tops of your feet. Your forearms should be on your thighs.
Depending on the tightness of your hips, you may be feeling something already. If so, stay here and breathe.
If you want to take Bound Angle Pose further, inhale, and as you exhale, fold forward.
The tendency is to want to round your back just for the sake of getting your head lower. But, to get the most out of the pose, keep your back straight, your head extended, and fold from the hips.
Gazing slightly forward will help you keep from rounding. Another tip – externally rotate your thighs to open your hips even more. With each inhale open the body; with each exhale extend forward.
If you have knee problems or feel any pain in your knees, place blocks or folded blankets under your thighs or sit on these props to raise your hips. Moving your feet further away will also relieve any pressure on your knee.
Tips for beginners
If you’re new to yoga, move into this posture slowly. It may be tempting to force your thighs lower or bend further forward than is comfortable for you. You may even want to start by sitting on a block or blanket until you get comfortable in the pose. As always, listen to your body.
Benefits of Bound Angle
This is one of those postures that you know something is happening, but you may not realize how beneficial it is to the internal organs.
Baddha Konasana benefits include:
• Stimulating the pelvis and reproductive organs and along with that many related symptoms including menstrual pain, menopause-related problems and even the prostate in men
• Opening the lower back which can help with back pains. Important to note, though, as always, if you have back problems, proceed with caution and listen to your body.
• Helping to relieve anxiety and depression and can help with difficulty sleeping –a benefit of all forward folds.
• Easing childbirth for women who sit in the posture throughout pregnancy
You may feel the stretch of Baddha Konasana from the get-go, or it may take going deeper. Whichever version describes you, by going to your edge and allowing the benefits to happen, you will feel a sense of calm and openness you will be able to carry with you. Most important is that you don’t judge yourself. Just open and breathe.