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Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) is a go-to pose for opening the hips and stretching the inner thigh muscles. This seemingly simple pose also strengthens your core and improves your posture.
Also known as Cobbler’s Pose, this asana activates the muscles in your back as you lengthen and stretch through your spine. A strong and stable core is also key to this posture: “When you sit on the floor in Baddha Konasana, your core works to keep you from rounding the back and dropping the chest,” says yoga teacher Annie Carpenter, creator of SmartFLOW Yoga.
While Bound Angle Pose may seem simple, if you stay in it for an extended period of time, your back muscles will likely tire, making it difficult to keep your chest upright, says Carpenter. Your hip, thigh, and hamstring muscles may also feel fatigued. If that happens, ease out of the pose. “Exploring your edges should not create pain,” she says. “It should help you move toward an amount of stretch or muscular effort that’s sustainable for you.”
Bound Angle Pose basics
Sanskrit: Baddha Konasana (BAH-dah cone-AHS-ah-nah)
Pose type: Seated
Why We Love It: “How does a yogi sit in meditation comfortably? At first thought, I would say with kind attentiveness and mental fortitude,” says Jenny Clise, a frequent YJ contributor. “But, there is a literal element to this as well—by preparing the physical body to experience ease, as well. I love Bound Angle Pose for this purpose.” She sites Cobbler’s Pose as one that improves the flexibility in your lower back, hips, thighs, groins and ankles—dissolving some of the tension you may experience from sitting for extended periods. “There are many ways this pose serves me, but in its rawest form, the action of this pose helps prepare me for a more comfortable practice of inaction. My meditation moves from only noticing areas of discomfort while seated, to mindfulness of other senses, thoughts, and emotions,” says Clise.
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Bound Angle Pose can help you recover after running or other activities. It improves postural and body awareness and stretches your groins, inner thigh muscles (adductors), and front of your thighs (quadriceps).
Bound Angle Pose: Step-by-step instructions
- Begin in Staff Pose. Sit directly on top of your sitting bones, rather than behind them.
- Bend your knees and allow them to fall open to the sides.
- Draw the soles of your feet together and use your hands to open them as if you were opening the pages of a book.
- Press your shoulder blades against your upper back to lift through your sternum or chest. Clasp your ankles to help you find lift along your torso.
- To exit the pose, gently release your feet and come back to Staff Pose.
Remember that everyone has natural limits. Your bone structure and muscular development may prevent your knees from ever opening all the way to the floor. That’s OK; Baddha Konasana will still help you to stretch your inner thighs and build strength in your back.
Teaching Bound Angle Pose
These cues will help protect your students from injury and help them have the best experience of the pose:
- If your back is tight or your posture needs attention, sit with your back against a wall for support.
- Never force your knees down. Instead, release the heads of the thigh bones toward the floor; your knees will follow. (Use blocks, folded blankets or pillows to support your knees.)
- If your knees are tender, move your feet further away from the groin.
- If you find it challenging to sit upright, place one or more folded blankets under your hips to lift your pelvis and spine.
Variation: Bound Angle Pose forward bend
Lean forward by flexing at your hips while keeping a long spine. This may intensify the sensations in your inner thighs. You can also use your hands to open your feet like a book.