‘Baddha Konasana’ is known as the ‘Bound Angle Pose’. Baddha means bound, Kon means angle and asana is posture. In this asana the feet are close to the groin and clasped tightly with the hands. The posture gets its name from its resemblance to a tightly bound object from a particular angle. The posture is also called the cobbler pose or bound angle pose as it resembles a cobbler at work.
Popularly known for being a great hip opener, this asana also stretches and strengthens the thighs, core and back. Using the core, one has to work towards keeping the back straight in the posture. This way the chest also remains open, helping you breathe deeply.
It might seem like a simple posture in the beginning. But for someone with tight hamstrings and a stiff back, it is difficult to bring the thighs close to the mat. If this is the case for you, regular practice will slowly help you open up the hips.
For women, it’s one of the best asanas to improve and maintain reproductive health, reduce menstrual cramps and manage period irregularities as it induces blood flow in the abdomen and pelvis. It also strengthens the pelvic muscles.
Further on, we will talk more about steps and benefits of baddha konasana to get a better understanding of the asana.
Position type: Seated
Spinal bend type: Stretch and forward fold
Ideal for: Flexibility
Targets: Gluteus, groin and hips
Pose level: Beginner
How to prepare for this asana
Baddha Konasana (pose to stretch inner thighs) is usually a preparatory pose, it is best to do a few simple hip and back stretches like cradling the baby pose, low lunge and high lunge. Standing asanas like extended side angle pose (Parsvakonasana) and triangle pose (Trikonasana) are also helpful.
Improving the flexibility of the back is also helpful. Regularly practicing forward bends like seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana) and wide legged seated forward bend (Upavistha Konasana) are helpful. Even if you can’t fully bend forward in these poses or achieve the final posture (Upavistha Konasana can be challenging for many people), the movement itself provides a stretch and will improve flexibility. Back bends like the camel pose (Ustrasana) and cobra pose (Bhujangasana) will also improve flexibility of the back.
Baddha Konasana Steps
Getting into the posture
- Sit with the spine straight and legs wide apart.
- Now bend the legs and bring the feet as close to the groin as you can. Join the soles of the feet together.
- Grab the feet or the toes tightly with the hands. You can place the hands on the mat, below the feet, if you need more support. Ensure your back remains straight.
- Now slowly try to bring the feet closer to the groin if you can.
- If you are comfortable, you can also try to slowly push the thighs and knees towards the mat. Remember to be gentle and do as much as possible.
- Engage the core so you are able to hold the posture. Keep your attention on the stretch in the groin, inner thighs and back.
- Stay here for a few slow, deep breaths. This will help you relax in the posture.
Getting out of the posture
- Slowly, exhale and release the toes or feet.
- Extend the legs forward into the staff pose (Dandasana) and relax here.
What are the key benefits of Baddha Konasana?
The asana opens and strengthens the hip flexors, inner thighs and knees, thus improving flexibility in the groin and hip region. It stimulates the abdominal organs, bladder and kidneys and improves circulation in the lower body. The asana is particularly helpful in relieving cramps and discomfort during menstruation. It also helps reduce anxiety and fatigue.
For those with any knee pain or injury, keep the feet away from the body or keep a cushion or blanket under the thighs for support. Or, it is best to avoid the pose if it feels intense. If there is back pain also one must be very careful or avoid the asana. In case of any lower back pain, keep the spine erect and do not let it curve even while bending forward. It should also be avoided in case of groin injury. These are the few baddha konasana contraindications that one should follow while practicing this asana.
- Child’s pose (Shashankasana) is good to practice as this posture will relax the groin, hip and thigh muscles. The back will also get a counter movement after the intense stretch.
- You can also sit in the staff pose (Dandasana) for a few minutes. Stretching the legs will help relax the muscles. You can also shake the legs a little as they might feel tight after staying in a bound position for long.
Baddha Konasana variations
Here are two baddha konasana variations that you can practice.
- Initially, if it is difficult to bring the feet close to the groin, you can keep them a little away. This will help reduce the intensity of the stretch.
- You can also flap your legs up and down. This movement is called the Butterfly pose and will help to further loosen up the muscles.
In Baddha Konasana, fold forward, with hands on toes, or walking the hands forward. Now place the forehead on the ground. This will intensify the groin and inner thigh stretch. Always be gentle with your back and do not force bend.
Advice for beginners
Try keeping the feet away from the groin initially. With practice, you will find your hips opening up more and more. And as this happens, you can gradually bring the feet closer to the groin.
If the hips are very tight, it will be difficult initially. In this case it’s important to work with a teacher who can help you with hip stretches in the beginning. A teacher will guide and provide tips to slowly progress in an injury-free manner.