Ideal for opening the hips and relieving urinary-tract disorders, the Bound Angle Pose, also known as Baddha Konasana, is a sitting pose worth including every day in your yoga practice.
(Pronounced as "bah-dah cone-AHS-anna")
Baddha means "bound or fixed" and kona means "angle."
While sitting, put both legs straight out in front of you. Inhale. While exhaling, bend your knees and pull your feet together so that the soles of your feet press together. Now observe your back. Can you sit up straight while holding your feet together? If you cannot, then sit on a folded blanket or cushion that's high enough to keep your back straight while your feet press against each other.
Use your hands to pull your heels as close to your perineum as you comfortably can. Allow your knees to relax and drop down by your sides. Gravity will naturally help you press your knees down. Do not force your knees to reach the ground by your sides if your hips are stiff. Just let the knees be as they are while you wrap your hands around your feet and let the outer sides of your feet press down into your yoga mat. You can also grab your shins if it is too difficult to reach your feet.
If you have pain in your knees, then place pillows or yoga blocks underneath your thighs as you sit in this position to relieve some of the pressure on the knee joints. This way, your hips still get a stretch while your knees can relax.
Now lift up your chest and sit up straight on top of your sitting bones, keeping your pelvis straight underneath you. Do not lean forward or backward as you sit.
Focus on allowing the tops of your thigh bones to sink down to the floor. This movement helps your legs descend on their own. If you have no knee problems and feel comfortable in this pose, then you may go deeper into the stretch by pressing your elbows down on your thighs.
You can begin by holding this pose for one minute and increase the duration to five minutes or more as you feel comfortable. When you are ready to come out of it, take a breath and put your hands on your kneecaps. Hold your knees as you straighten your legs out to the sides and then bring the legs back straight in front of you once more.
In order to feel how much your thighs need to release in this pose, try it with a yoga block under your feet. Place the block on the ground so that it creates an approximately 3 inch platform under your clasped feet as you hold the posture. This variation releases the hips more, but do not attempt it if you have a recent knee injury.
When you have no major discomfort in this pose, then continue to push the soles of your feet firmly together as you bend forward and try to rest your head on the floor in front of you.
When you suffer from a headache, perform Baddha Konasana and bend forward from the hips, letting your forehead rest on a pillow placed on the seat of a chair. Keep your back straight as you relax the weight of your head into the pillow so that you block out all light to your eyes, relieving eye strain as well. Bring the chair closer or further away from you as needed to keep your back straight while resting your head.
Both of you should sit facing each other while performing the Bound Angle pose. Keep about a foot of space or so between you. Now grab each other's hands. One of you should lean back, pulling your partner forward as far as they can bend. Move slowly together in a circle, alternating between pulling each other forward while the other leans back.
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