Supta Baddha Konasana
(Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
(SOUP-tah BAH-dah cone-NAHS-anna)
supta = lying down, reclining
baddha = bound
kona = angle
This yoga pose is a posture for restoration and may be modified to meet any level of yoga practicer, from beginner to enlightened. The back is not exercised in this yoga posture and all tension should be consciously released!
Stimulates abdominal organs like the ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys
Stimulates the heart and improves general circulation
Stretches the inner thighs, groins, and knees
Helps relieve the symptoms of stress, mild depression, menstruation and menopause
Groin or knee injury: Only perform this pose with blanket supports under the outer thighs (see Modifications & Props).
Performing the Asana
Perform Baddha Konasana. Exhale and lower your back torso toward the floor, first leaning on your hands. Once you are leaning back on your forearms, use your hands to spread the back of your pelvis and release your lower back and upper buttocks through your tailbone. Bring your torso all the way to the floor, supporting your head and neck on a blanket roll or bolster if needed.
With your hands grip your topmost thighs and rotate your inner thighs externally, pressing your outer thighs away from the sides of your torso. Next slide your hands along your outer thighs from the hips toward the knees and widen your outer knees away from your hips. Then slide your hands down along your inner thighs, from the knees to the groins. Imagine that your inner groins are sinking into your pelvis. Push your hip points together, so that while the back pelvis widens, the front pelvis narrows. Lay your arms on the floor, angled at about 45 degrees from the sides of your torso, palms up.
The natural tendency in this pose is to push the knees toward the floor in the belief that this will increase the stretch of the inner thighs and groins. But especially if your groins are tight, pushing the knees down will have just the opposite of the intended effect: The groins will harden, as will your belly and lower back. Instead, imagine that your knees are floating up toward the ceiling and continue settling your groins deep into your pelvis. As your groins drop toward the floor, so will your knees.
To start, stay in this pose for one minute. Gradually extend your stay anywhere from five to 10 minutes. To come out, use your hands to press your thighs together, then roll over onto one side and push yourself away from the floor, head trailing the torso.
Modify Your Practice
If you feel any strain in the inner thighs and groins, support each of your thighs on a block or folded blanket slightly above the maximum stretch of the groins. Make sure each support, whether a block or blanket, is the same height. Continue sinking the groins into the pelvis. To assist this action, lay a 10-pound sandbag across each inner groin, right where the thigh joins the pelvis (the bags will form a "V" with its apex at your pubis). But don't use the bags unless your thighs are supported.
You can modify this pose and increase the stretch to the inner thighs and groins by elevating your pelvis off the floor. Bringing your heels to the floor in Supta Baddha Konasana, press through your feet to lift your pelvis slightly up. Position a block under your pelvis, lower your sacrum onto the block, and drop your knees out to the sides again, pressing your soles back together. The block has three heights, low, medium, and high: Start at its lowest height and gradually work your way up the ladder. Be careful with the block's highest height—-it can be quite intense.
Baddha Konasana - Bound Angle Posture
Supta Padangusthasana - Reclining Big Toe Stretch
Virasana - Hero Pose
Vrksasana - Tree Balance Posture
Tips for Beginners
Another way to deal with strain in the inner thighs and groins is to raise the feet slightly off the floor. Use a block padded with a sticky mat and lay the outside edges of your feet parallel to the long axis of the block's top face. If the lowest height of the block isn't sufficient to relieve the strain, turn the block to its middle height.
Deepen the Pose
You can also involve your arms in this pose. Inhale and raise your arms toward the ceiling, parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor. Rock back and forth a few times, further broadening the shoulder blades across your back. Then inhale again and stretch your arms overhead, on the floor, palms up toward the ceiling. Rotate your arms so the outer armpits roll toward the ceiling and pull your shoulder blades down your back toward your tailbone.
A partner can help you get a feel for the release of the thighs away from the sides of the torso. Perform the pose with the tips of your toes braced against a wall. Have your partner straddle your pelvis, facing away from the wall, and step back until your partner's calves are pressing firmly against the very tops of your thighs. If you like you can reach your arms overhead on the floor, and stretch the sides of your torso actively away from the sides of your thighs.