Let’s face it: life just gets busier and busier. But even though it’s hard to pencil in a yoga class, squeezing in a few poses at home doesn’t require a mat or instructor. Take five to ten minutes and try the two postures every woman can benefit from.
Bound angle pose (baddha konasana)
Sometimes you hear baddha konasana, or bound angle posture, called butterfly pose. The soles of the feet come together and the knees fall open to the sides, like wings. But no matter what you choose to call this asana, there are plenty of reasons to spend a little time in it.
As a gentle hip opener, bound angle pose relieves cramping and can also help prepare the body for childbirth. (It engages and relaxes the pelvic region.) BKS Iyengar, the father of yoga, also considered baddha konasana good for fertility. Why? It improves blood flow to organs in the abdominal cavity, like the ovaries. For this reason, some women report bound angle pose even helps with hot flashes during perimenopause and menopause.
Getting into bound angle pose
Here’s how to make your way into baddha konasana:
- Sit on the floor with the legs extended, grounding through the sit bones.
- Bring the soles of the feet together, so the knees naturally point out to sides. Avoid actively trying to press the knees toward the floor. Note: if your knees won’t lower here, or if you have hip pain, modify the pose by sitting on a yoga blanket or folded towel. For knee injuries, roll up towels and place them underneath the outer thighs for added support.
- Draw the feet in gently toward the body, stopping when you meet your edge.
- Lengthen through the spine to avoid rounding the back. Leading from the heart center, walk the hands out in front of the legs as far as comfortable (without letting the sit bones or glutes lift). If you can, release the forearms to the ground or on yoga blocks. If you feel any strain on the spine, return the torso to an upright position.
- Breathe fully in and out through the nose.
Modifications for bound angle pose
A deeply restorative option for baddha konasana is reclined bound angle pose (supta baddha konasana). Start by laying down on the floor. Bend the knees and bring the feet close together with the soles on the floor. Take the arms and bend at the elbows, bringing the palms to the ground under the low back. Allow the low spine to rest on the hands. Gently open the knees, letting the soles of the feet come together. Remove the hands and extend them behind the head or alongside the torso.
Chakra energy for bound angle & its benefits
Chakras are an Ayurvedic, or Eastern medicine, concept. They’re believed to be energy wheels, or centers, along the midline of the body. When you are feeling well, it’s said your seven chakras are aligned and clear. If energy becomes static or blocked in any chakra, it can cause discontentment and even disease in the body.
Every yoga asana, or pose, activates different chakras, and, therefore, has different effects on the body. Baddha konasana, or bound angle, focuses on two chakras: the sacral (svadhisthana) chakra and the root (mulahdara) chakra. By activating these chakras, baddha konasana can help you feel more grounded and centered, which helps with reducing stress. Because the mulahdara chakra is also linked to the large intestine, stimulating it may help with constipation from hypothyroidism and improve your body’s ability to get rid of excess estrogen. The sacral, or svadhisthana, chakra is closely tied with the reproductive organs and may aid in regulating or easing associated issues or symptoms.
Most people love that you get to lay down in this asana. Savasana, or corpse pose, is usually the final posture in a yoga practice. For some of us, it’s the only quiet we may get in a day. But that relaxation does a lot more than simply let us rest.
How to get into savasana
Savasana may look like sleep, but the goal is to not fall asleep. See if you can invite total relaxation with the following steps:
- Recline on your back and extend the legs long. If you have any low back issues or pain, modify by bending the knees and placing the soles of the feet on the floor. Walk the feet wide and let the knees knock together.
- Extend the arms behind you (by the ears) for a moment. Stretch out through the fingertips. Inhale in, and on the exhale release the arms alongside the torso. Turn the palms up.
- Let the eyes close or your gaze be soft. Relax the knees, release tension in the jaw, and smooth the space between the brows. Begin to let the mind follow each inhale and exhale, quietly repeating each word to yourself.
- As you sink into stillness, stop softly saying “inhale” and “exhale” and instead imagine each inhale creating spaciousness in the body. On each out breath, allow yourself to feel the complete support of the earth beneath you.
- Stay for as long as you like. At first, it may be difficult to be still for longer than a few moments. However, with time, you be able to work your way and come to love savasanas of 10 or more minutes.
Chakra activation in savasana & its benefits
While meditation during savasana can activate several chakras, its biggest benefits may come from energizing the crown (sahasrara) chakra and the third eye (ajna) chakra.
The crown chakra is linked to connectedness, acceptance, and a balanced central nervous system. This helps reduce stress and may even lower stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. Keeping cortisol in check over time can help maintain adequate levels of progesterone and also benefit thyroid hormone production and conversion.
During savasana, drawing attention to the space between the brows, or the third eye/ajna chakra, also provides some amazing effects. The third eye is tied to the pineal gland, which secretes melatonin and helps govern the sleep-wake cycle—so you just might be able to get some better sleep, too. Activating the third eye can also stimulate the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland releases hormones and regulates the secretion of hormones from other parts of the body as well.
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