Bound Angle Pose, or Baddha Konasana, most commonly known as butterfly pose  is a liberating pose that all of us can do. It provides a deep relief. How often have you felt self-conscious in parting your legs and revealing your pelvic area? Baddha Konasana celebrates this intimate part of our lower bodies by providing an easy, but well-needed, stretch. 

The term comes from the Sanskrit baddha, meaning “bound,” kona, meaning “angle” and asana, meaning “pose” or “posture.”

As you engage in this pose, you are challenging the tightness in your hips, expanding your groin, and stretching your inner thighs. This upright position inspires wakefulness and improves your posture by lengthening the spine. As an asana, or yoga pose, this seated posture can take place at the beginning of your yoga practice, or before transitioning to Savasana (Corpse Pose). This is an excellent time to become aware of your breath and take part in a variation of Pranayama (breath control).

Benefits of Bound Angle Pose or Baddha Konasana

- Bound Angle Pose is best for increasing flexibility in the hips and inner thighs. 

-Spiritually, this pose can be meditated upon to address feelings of insecurity, shame, unfamiliar emotions, and stunted creativity. For visualization, we can imagine positive energy coming from the Earth, circulating through our body and its chakras, and exiting negative energy through the top of the head.

Chakras involved in Baddha Konasana

Bound Angle Pose or Butterfly Pose roots us to the ground through our root chakra, or Muladhara. This chakra is found at the bottom of the spine, along with the pelvic floor. In this asana, we can feel a sense of security as we work on our supportive foundation. To acknowledge the root chakra during Bound Angle Pose, we may gently chant the sound "Lam".

Another chakra this pose addresses is the sacral chakra, or Svadhishthana. Located just below the belly button, this chakra holds sexual power and sensuality, along with pleasure, emotions, and creativity. As we sit in an open-legged position, we can express our gratitude for our overlooked Svadhishthana. To acknowledge the sacral chakra during this pose, we may chant the sound "Vam".

How to do Butterfly Pose Pose or Baddha Konasana

Guide to Bound Angle Pose

- Begin by sitting comfortably on your bottoms on top of your yoga mat, feet outstretched before you, and backs straight with the tops of our heads pointing towards the sky.

- Fold your legs into your pelvic area, without force, until our knees are bent and the soles of our feet are touching. Your legs may create the image of a diamond, and depending on our comfort level, that diamond may be bigger or smaller; all sizes are perfectly acceptable.

- If you feel able, you can then shift your bottoms closer to our feet, making the diamond-shape of our legs wider and shorter. Little space may be left and the shape may no longer appear like a diamond.At this point, you are sitting on the ground, your knees bent and nearly parallel to the ground, soles of the feet touching.

- If you feel confident enough, you can then wrap your hands around your feet or toes, resting your elbows on your thighs or in your lap. It is not necessary to press the knees down with your elbows; instead, focus on naturally allowing the thighs to drop to the ground with each breath.

- Take a deep breath in, straighten your spine, and feel the stretch in your inner thighs, groin, and hips, and breathe out. You are doing Baddha Konasan or Butterfly Pose (Bound Angle Pose)

Optional Props to help you practice Butterfly Pose

- Yoga blocks, a stack of books, or a pillow can be placed under each knee.

- A folded blanket or pillow may be placed beneath the sit bone for added comfort.

- A bolster or stack of pillows can be used to prop the upper body on if folding forward or backward for an increased stretch.

Tips for Beginners

  1. It is important when engaging in a new yoga pose, or when new to yoga entirely, that we listen to our bodies. While wonderful to challenge our bodies, we must not push them to the point of breaking. Add as many pillows, bolsters, blankets, or blocks as possible, as long as they are supportive and do not hinder your practice.
  2. Take as much time as you need in a pose – many yogis find it beneficial to sit in the same pose for five minutes at a time! On the other hand, sitting in the pose for three seconds is just as acceptable.
  3. Take deep breaths. It can sound funny to hear a yoga instructor telling us to “breathe into” a body part that isn’t our lungs, but by focusing on the sensation the pose is creating in our bodies, it helps us understand what our body needs. While our bodies almost inflate and deflate with each breath, we are providing a gentle stretch to the part of our body that needs it most. That part will not be the same for everybody – we could feel surprised to feel a tightness in our back during Bound Angle Pose or realize that we can handle a deeper stretch.

When to Avoid the practice of Baddha Konasana

Avoid engaging in Bound Angle Pose or Butterfly Pose directly after giving birth or after having pelvic-related surgery. If experiencing any pain or discomfort, especially in the knees or spine, you should find a way to do the pose more gently, or seek an acceptable alternative. Always remember to listen to your body.

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