In traditional yoga texts, Baddha Konasana, or Bound Angle Pose, is said to destroy disease and banish fatigue.
This sitting pose is certainly powerful: it stretches the groins, inner thighs, opens the hips and stimulates the heart. As with all asanas, this pose must be performed mindfully, with awareness of the delicate knees.
Here is out step-by-step guide:
* Sit down with your legs out in front. If you are beginner, or feel you need more height, sit on a folded blanket or a block. Ensure you are sitting high on your sitting bones, rather than on your tail bone. The pelvis should be in a neutral position.
* On an exhale, draw the soles of your feet together and bring your feet as close to your body as is comfortable. Keep the feeling of lifting out of your pelvis.
* Let the knees soften out to opposite sides, but be mindful of how your knees feel.
* If you plan to stay in this pose for a while, place two cushions underneath either knee, so they are supported.
* Work on lengthening the crown of the head and spine upwards, keeping the sitting bones rooted. Use every inhale to lengthen in this way, and each exhale to soften into your edge.
* To intensify the pose, come into a forward bend with the spine tall, rather than collapsed. Use each exhale to draw the navel gently towards the feet, and each inhale to lengthen.
* Consciously and mindfully work into your 'edge' with your breath. Do not use physical force, and be aware of your knees.
* Come up slowly on an inhale. Stretch out the legs in front of you to release the thighs.
Note: this pose can also be taken lying down - Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined Bound Angle Pose).
Start by lying on your back. Draw the soles of the feet together, and towards the sitting bones. Let the knees gently fall away from one another and soften the groins and inner thighs. Let the arms float by your sides, palms face up. Breathe here as long as is comfortable.