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Yoga 101: Butterfly pose opens hips, knees

The baddha konasana posture is especially helpful with arthritis and during pregnancy.

Our pose this week is the perfect complement to , or easy posture.

Baddha konasana, or the butterfly pose, is one of those postures I just love. Let's transform into the beautiful butterflies we all are!

Before you start, get yourself a blanket for support. Let your legs be long in front of you. Draw one foot in as you bend the knee and place the outer edge of the foot on the floor. Draw the other foot in until the two feet meet, with the soles of the feet together.

When we first start doing this posture, we feel it instantly in the groin and hips. Consciously meditate on relaxing those areas with your pranayama, or breath work. Move the flesh of the buttocks away from the sitz bones, as we did in .

It may feel better to draw the feet away from the body so the hips can settle a little more comfortably. Adjust the distance of the heels from the groin until you are comfortable. Hold your feet with your hands covering the toes. As you inhale, grab your feet and fill your lungs. As you exhale, relax your shoulders and neck but keep the length in your spine. On every exhalation, pull your navel toward your spine. This will strengthen your belly and spine. Hold this position for five or six breaths.

Then inhale, look up and draw your shoulders back and your chest through. Exhale, drawing your chin in toward your chest and lowering your head toward your feet, arching your upper spine like a Halloween cat. Play with the position of your heels again until you find comfort in the tension. Do not try to force your body beyond its edge. Be where your body needs to be. If for any reason you feel pain, come out of the pose immediately. Use your breathing to help soften your body. Get the breath into the nooks and crannies of those physical and mental edges. Breathe in to your upper back, and as you exhale draw your navel in toward your spine. As you relax into the pose, the breath will help quiet your mind. To take the pose a little deeper, you can use your elbows to help roll your thighs outward.

Take five or six breaths in this posture.

A regular practice of this pose will help open up hips and help with arthritis in the knees, hips and pelvic joints, and it's a must posture for pregnancy.

After you rise from the posture, lengthen your legs, lie back and take a savasana for four or five minutes. Enjoy the openness in your knees and hips. With a daily practice of baddha konasana, your body will transform like a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Namaste!

Contraindications: This pose might not be suitable for those who suffer from knee, hip or lower back pain. I offer the modification of sitting on a blanket. Do not practice this posture if you have a displaced or prolapsed uterus. Before practicing yoga or any physical fitness, consult with your doctor.

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