Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Bound Angle Pose, Baddha Konasana, (buh-ddh-ko-naa-suh-nuh)

buddha (bound) + kona (angle) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Cobbler Pose, Butterfly Pose, Baddha Konasana, Bhadrasana

Pose Type: Stretching, Seated, Sciatica, Restorative, Pregnancy

Difficulty: Beginner

woman doing bound angle pose

Open your hips and stretch your inner thigh muscles with Bound Angle Pose

bound angle pose Fundamentals

Open the hips, release emotions and improve your posture in Bound Angle Pose. This pose is a hip opener, but it also strengthens the back muscles and elongates your spine. Therefore, focus as much on keeping your spine long as you do on stretching the hips and thighs.

Thigh muscles can get tight both with over and under use, which makes this pose just as beneficial for athletes as those who sit for long periods of time. This pose helps improve the range of motion in the thighs, which will bring more ease to everyday activities.

Bound Angle Pose is also sometimes called Butterfly pose, as the legs resemble the wings of a butterfly, especially in the active version where you’re moving your knees up and down, just like a butterfly flaps its wings.

Baddha Konasana, which literally translates to bound, or fastened seated pose, is quite a recent name.

This pose was mentioned in the essential 15th-century yoga text Hatha Yoga Pradipika, where it was called Bhadrasana. Bhadra literally translates to the throne, referring to this pose as the throne for mediation. The other translation for Bhadra is blessed, or gracious.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika lists it under the key four poses for meditation. The text goes as follows: “Siddhasana, padmasana, simhasana and bhadrasana, these are the four main asanas.”

Here is how it describes the alignment and benefits: “Place the ankles below the genitals on the sides by the perineum, left ankle on the left (side) right ankle on the right (side). Then hold the feet, which are on their sides, firmly with the hands and remain motionless. This is bhadrasana which destroys all diseases.”

Bhadrasana is also mentioned in Gheranda Samhita, another classic yogic text, written 17th-century. In the text, it is mentioned as a meditation posture as well.

What makes the posture beneficial for meditation and pranayama practice is that it moves the prana, or life energy upwards, from the root and sacral to higher chakras. This allows you to first release any blockages in the lower body, then raise your attention and energy higher, and move into a deeper spiritual practice. 

Bhadrasana simultaneously activates the Root and Sacral Chakra. Besides its stimulating effect on the parasympathetic nervous system, this is another reason why it is often included in classes for students who deal with depression and anxiety. Both stretching the hips and activating these chakras can first help release pent-up emotions we often hold in this area. 

After we have let go of the emotions and blockages, which can sometimes take some time and practice, we can begin to understand the impact of stimulating these chakras on our mindset and energy.

Spiritually, activating the Muladhara chakra is key for those who are working to awaken the Kundalini energy within them. More practically, a balanced Root chakra brings a sense of safety, trust, and security. Although you sometimes need to go through some difficult feelings when you’re stimulating the Sacral chakra, which is the center of our emotion, after you go through this process of releasing, you will know it was worth it. Sacral chakra impacts so much in our daily life, helps us to get in touch with our sexuality and creativity, teaches us to be more responsive to our emotional needs, and helps us build better relationships. 

Since this pose activates both these chakras, it may be a powerful addition to a sequence dedicated to mental and emotional health and a transitional pose for classes that are dedicated to becoming aware of these two energy centers.

Even if you don’t currently work on your chakras, you will still feel the benefit of the pose, and it is a valuable addition to your daily routine, whether you are in the mood for an active yoga session, or looking for a comfortable seat for your meditation and breathwork practice. 

bound angle pose Benefits

  • Bound angle strengthens the psoas muscles, hip flexors, and the entire pelvic floor.
  • Lengthens and stretches the groin, spine, knees, and inner thighs.
  • May prepare you for more intense hip opening poses such as the Seated Straddle Pose.
  • By keeping your spine long, the pose also opens the chest, which may help you breathe more deeply and consciously.
  • The combination of hip opening and spine lengthening may help you improve your posture over time.
  • Activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which may help you conserve your energy, and also brings a sense of calmness and relaxation
  • Activates the kidney meridian, promoting metabolism and improving immunity. It also strengthens the reproductive organs and may help balance hormones, as well as reduce menstrual issues in women. 
  • As a restorative and therapeutic pose, it may help those who struggle with piriformis syndrome and sciatica, by releasing tension in the connective tissue in the lower back and the pelvic floor. 
  • By working on the hips, the pose may help the student release and balance their emotions, and feel a sense of stability. 
  • It is a fantastic prenatal yoga pose as it strengthens the pelvic floor, which brings ease, both during pregnancy and in childbirth. 

How To Do bound angle pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

1. Begin sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you, in Staff Pose (Dandasana). Root your sit bones into the mat.

2. Bend your knees, and join the bottom of your feet together, simultaneously allowing the knees to open to the sides.

3. Grab your ankles or feet with your palms, and use the strength of your arms to bring the heels a bit closer to the groin. If your lower back begins to round, move the ankles slightly away from you.

4. Push your knees energetically towards the ground, but don’t physically force them to touch the floor. Keep your spine long, and move your shoulders down and back. Tuck your chin slightly towards the chest, to keep the neck in a neutral position.

5. Begin flapping your legs up and down, to warm up the inner thigh muscles and increase circulation in this area. 

6. Slowly stop the movement and become still in the pose. Keep your legs active, particularly your inner thighs. 

7. Hold the pose for as long as comfortable, at least 5 breaths. You can also remain in it for your entire meditation practice. 

8. Before releasing the pose, you can try holding the inner arches of your feet and opening them slightly to the sides like a book. This will help to open your hips further. 

9. Release the pose by lengthening your legs back to Staff pose once more. Shake your legs or rotate your feet to release any tension. 

Tips And Tricks:

  • If you struggle to keep your back straight, or you want to work more on your posture, sit with your back against a wall. 
  • If you have any knee issues, or your knees are sensitive, move the feet away from your hips, in a diamond position.
  • Don’t force your knees to the floor, it’s completely fine, they hover slightly above the ground. Rather, focus on releasing the thigh bones to the floor. 
  • If you’re holding the pose for longer, place blocks or cushions below the knees for support.
  • If you usually prefer elevating your hips when in Staff Pose, do the same for Bound Angle Pose. Elevating your hips will help to elongate your spine.
  • Keep your hips stacked, and balance your weight evenly through both sit bones. Shift your body back and front and to the sides when you enter the pose to find a central position.

bound angle pose Variation:

Bound Angle Pose Variation: Bound Angle Forward Bend 

woman doing a bound angle pose with a forward bend

This variation is a fantastic way to release tension in the back. In Ashtanga yoga, it is done immediately after the standard Bound Angle Pose. 

There are two variations of the Bound Angle Pose forward bend. In the first variation, bring the torso to fold forward as much as you comfortably can. First, bring the heart close to the feet, and then slowly reach towards the floor with your head. In this variation, it is important to keep your spine and torso long, and your hips shouldn’t come off the floor.

In the second forward fold variation, turn your pelvis into a posterior tilt position, tucking it towards the stomach. Then, hold onto the feet and round the back deeply, aiming your forehead towards the toes. This movement should be done gently, and you should reduce the depth of the pose if you feel any cramping. 

Bound Angle Pose Variation: Bound Angle With A Strap

If you have a strap you can use it to deepen the stretch and to help keep your spine long, especially the lower back. In this manner, it may also help you move your awareness towards the Sacral chakra.

Loop a strap, and place it around your body, at the level of your sacrum, over your thighs, and then under your feet. Adjust the length of the strap, so it can be tight enough to help you sit straighter. You can also use it to move your feet slightly closer to your body, as long as it does not feel too restrictive or painful. 

bound angle pose with strap

Bound Angle Pose Variation: Yin Yoga Butterfly Pose

In Yin Yoga, this pose is more commonly called the Butterfly Pose.

To practice the Yin version of this pose, begin with cool muscles. Bring your feet in the same position, but keep them away from the hips, creating a diamond shape with your legs. Support your knees by placing a blanket or a block beneath them.

Then fold forward, and allow the gravity to do all the work for you. Begin slowly, and as your body relaxes, you will naturally fall deeper into the pose. In Yin Yoga, it’s crucial you are gentle to your body, as that doesn’t only prevent injury, but is the only manner in which your muscles can relax and stay passive, to allow the stretch to penetrate the deeper tissues in the body.

You can support your stomach by placing a bolster or a large cushion beneath your torso. You can also let your head hang, or support it in your hands. Once you find a comfortable position, stay in this pose for 3 to 5 minutes or longer.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Forcing the knees towards the ground. Touching the ground with the knees is not the aim of the pose. The full expression of the pose doesn’t only depend on your range of motion, but also on your unique anatomy. Instead of focusing on your knees, energetically push the thigh bones towards the ground.  

Rounding in the spine. It would be best to practice the position sitting on a cushion or a folded blanket. This will immediately improve the alignment of your spine, especially the lower region, and is often the preferred option among both beginners and more advanced students.

Groin Injury or Knee, Ankle, and Hip Surgery

If you have a groin injury, any type of injury in the knee, or have recently undergone surgery in the hips and ankles, avoid this pose as it may further aggravate the issues. Also, avoid it in case of rheumatoid arthritis.

Related Poses

Accomplished Pose

Supine Bound Angle Pose

Lotus Pose

Preparatory Poses:

Reclining Hand-to-Big Toe Pose

Head to Knee Pose

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend

Counter Poses:

Cow Face Pose

Seated Forward Bend 

Seated Angle Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

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Sara Popović

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