This basic pose Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) is a great one for the hips, inner thighs, outer thighs & low back.
I love to teach & practice this pose toward the end of the practice. It’s a little easier to sit when the body is warm and you can allow yourself to just drop into the hips as you fold forward to take it a little deeper and let gravity pull your upper body over your lower body. There are two (well, actually three) versions to practice here.
First, just sit with your feet together, knees wide. If you have any rounding in the low back bring blankets under your sits bones to allow the spine to lengthen up. You want a long spine in this version and heels close to the groin area. If the knees aren’t low to the ground, bring a folded blanket under each leg/knee. This will give you the support needed to allow the legs to begin to open. If you have sandbags available (sometimes yoga studios have these) bring one to each inner thigh keeping the blankets under the leg. Open the feet like the are a book. Work the outer edges of your feet together while opening the inner arches with your hands. Lengthen from your tailbone all the way up your spine and out the crown of your head. Stay here for 1-3 minutes and breathe.
To deepen Version 1, keeping the spine long and all that delicious alignment intact, begin to fold forward. Do not round the back! This is super important. You want to keep a long spine so if you find yourself rounding, back off and lengthen back up and out the crown of the head. The stretch will be situation in the inner thigh area. If the elbows come to the knees, you can use them to press the knees a little wider. Stay here 1-3 minutes and breathe.
Taking it a little deeper still…from Version 2, if you are still there, lift back up to Version 1 (long spine, sits bones rooting into the mat, outer edges of the feet together, knees wide). You can bring the heels away from the groin area some in this version if it feels better but not so far away that you can’t still work the feet open like a book.
This time, round the spine forward. Pull the navel in deep to the spine and round your back as you fold forward working the crown of the head into the book you are making with your feet. You’ll most likely find the stretch on the outer thighs and maybe even some in the low back. As you fold forward, you may find yourself pulling forward by using your upper body. This is ok as long as you keep sliding those shoulder blades toward the sits bones ad down the back keeping a nice long neck. Breathe here for 1-3 minutes.
Benefits of Baddha Konasana:
This pose is NOT for you if you have recent or chronic knee issues/injury , hip issues/injury or inflammation in the joins of the hips or knees.
Practice this pose for the month of November! Since it’s a seated pose, I find it more grounding and especially good for this time of the year. Typically, the air is drier in the Autumn of the year and things begin to cool down. Auyervedically speaking, this pose keeps the warmth in the body while simultaneously anchoring us to the earth (so to speak) so we won’t feel too dry (airy, fairy) or cold.
As always, let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below!