SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA
Level 1: Beginner
- Stretches the inner thighs
- Hip opener: improves range of external rotation of the hips
- Can incorporate a heart opening element (with bolster/blocks)
- Calming and restorative
- Can aid digestion by activating the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ mode
- Can be relieving for menstrual cramps and tension
Contraindications/Cautions (consult your physician):
- Knee pain
- Lumbar back pain
- Pregnancy- suitable for all trimesters, but after 16 weeks do not lie flat on your back. Use bolsters/pillows/a wall to recline at a 45 degree angle, and only stay for a few minutes.
- Start in a seated position and bring the soles of the feet together, allowing the knees to lower out and down towards the ground (Baddha Konasana). Place any supports you may need under the knees now, and position any pillows or bolsters behind the back, if you intend to use them. Ensure they are nestled right up against the lower back from the start.
- Keeping length in the spine, inhale and walk the hands around behind the hips/either side of the back supports.
- Exhaling, carefully lower yourself down to the ground or the supports, and settle yourself into position.
- Place the arms out at 45 degrees beside you with palms facing up, or alternatively mirror the shape of the legs by bringing the arms overhead with the elbows pointing outwards and the fingertips touching.
- Breathe smoothly and deeply in and out through the nose, and try to release tension in the hips, abdomen, chest, and arms. Relax the jaw, forehead and tongue in the mouth. Stay for several minutes, or however long feels comfortable/you have time for, and breathe.
- When you are ready to come out, inhale and engage the pelvic floor, using the arms to push yourself back up to a seated position. Exhale and use the hands on the outside of the knees to bring them back in together. Stretch out the legs and energetically release the posture.
- You should not feel any pain in this posture. If you have knee pain, use blocks/bolsters/cushions under the knees to support them in an elevated position, which should be more comfortable. If you have any back pain, use pillows/bolsters behind the back- they should extend the full length of your back, i.e. not just supporting the lower lumbar area.
- Eyes may be softly focussed, or closed. Some yogis find it helpful to use eye coverings, such as masks, or bags, to aid relaxation in this posture.
- This is a lovely posture to do if you don’t have time for a full yoga practice, but would like to find relief at the end of a hard day.