Asana Alphabet – Butterfly Pose

Baddha Konasana called in the West “a butterfly” exists in many different styles of Yoga: Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin… It has different variations – in Ashtanga we need to keep our backs straight (option A), in Yin we can just surrender on the bolster (round back is acceptable and natural, but supported), and in Iyengar we can use the bolster or the strap, but the back needs to be correct!

It is a great hip opener that relaxes and stretches those tight adductors (Your inner thighs – ouch! Right?) strengthening at the same time their antagonists (the opposite group of muscles) – abductors. Our everyday lifestyle doesn’t help to have nicely open and flexible hip region, so baddha konasana is strongly recommended to all office workers and people sitting or standing the whole day. Another challenge (and I really do struggle here) are external rotators in our hips (ouch again? yes, it’s ok, just step back a bit).

Even if you are not the biggest fan of your butterfly at the beginning, and you don’t feel comfortable – don’t give up on this pose! Trust me, my thighs are always so tight and painful, but slowly, systematically, and with props you can help to your body to feel much better and discover the beauty and benefits of the butterfly!

It can be a very meditative posture giving you a chance to look inside for a while, listen to your heartbeat, closing from the outside world… It can stretch your back and relax the neck tired of sitting at your office desk. It connects to the breath, and reminds of being in the Mother’s womb – safe, protected, loved. As most of the hip openers baddha konasana can trigger some hidden emotions, insecurities, and suppressions, but that’s why we all should do it right now! We need to release our emotional blockages in case to avoid their harmful effects!

Butterfly Pose:

  1. Sit on the floor.
  2. Bend your legs and place the feet of the soles together.
  3. If your lower back is not feeling fine, and your hips are tight use the bolsters: one underneath your buttocks, and 2 underneath your knees.
  4. Grab the soles of your feet with your hands and move them slightly outwards – like an open book.
  5. If you are a true Ashtangi use your index and middle finger to open the feet outside.
  6.  If you want to play with this pose flap your legs as if they were wings of the butterfly (kids just love it!)
  7. My favourite option is to lie down in a butterfly on one bolster behind (see on the picture), I can stay like this forever!

Benefits:

  1. We are using our feet all the time. When we sit – on the other hand – we just sit on chairs. This is a great pose to relax those thigh muscles of our legs, relax the feet, and connect to the ground.
  2. It aids better digestion and supports the organs.
  3. It allows you to focus, surrender and trust

Contraindications:

1. As all forward folds in Yoga it can be tricky for people after slipped disc injury and with various spinal problems

2. It can be performed mindfully while pregnancy – using a bolster underneath the forehead is a nice idea that protects the belly from being pressed

3. Tight adductors need time to build the stretch – never push, never force… Remember, Yoga is non-violence ALWAYS!

 

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