Reclining Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddhakonasana): Steps and Benefits

Supta Baddha konasana - variation of baddha konsaana
Sanskrit

Pronunciation
Supta baddhakoṇāsana (सुप्ता बद्धकोणासन)

soup-tah bad-dha-kon-ah-sah-nah
CommonReclining bound angle pose, Reclining butterfly pose, Supine bound angle pose
Type Supine pose
LevelBeginner 
StretchesInner elbows, core, hip flexors, pelvis, groins
StrengthensPelvic region, inner thighs, and knees

Supta Baddhakonasana is a restorative pose that is an excellent hip and chest opener. Due to its reclining posture and relaxing effect, it is often performed towards the end of a yoga session along with Shavasana.

This asana is a reclining position variation of the butterfly pose which is a seated yoga pose. 

In Sanskrit, supta means reclining or lying down, baddha means bound, kon means angle and asana means pose. It’s called butterfly pose because in this pose you can swing bent knees up and down in a reclining position. This movement of the feet is extremely helpful in improving the flexibility of the hip joint and knee as well as reducing stiffness in the hamstrings and groin muscles. 

It is a fairly easy pose to perform and can be practiced by practitioners of all expertise levels. You simply lay down on your back and bend your knees to join your both ankles together. It gives a great stretch in the inner thighs and groin. It’s beneficial for people who have to sit for long hours, are constantly on their feet, or are athletes.

Being a restorative yoga pose, it helps in alleviating anxiety and stress and promotes restful sleep. Practicing this pose regularly will also boost the energy flow throughout the body and increase circulation.

Step by step instructions

Follow these steps to perform reclining butterfly pose:

  • Lie down on your yoga mat with your legs bent at the knee and feet grounded.
  • Keep the feet together and by externally rotating your hips, tilt both the knees sideways.
  • Bring the soles of your feet together, just like you would in the seated version of this pose.
  • Open your legs as far as you can, based on your hip and thigh muscle flexibility.
  • Place a rolled towel under your neck if you have trouble keeping your head completely down on the floor.
  • Keep your hands by your side with palms facing down or you can keep them on top of your abdomen.

Hold the pose for 5-7 breaths. If performing as a restorative pose, you can practice this pose for up to 7-10 minutes.

Beginner’s Tips

In reclining butterfly pose, it is natural to push down the knees towards the ground with the belief that it will increase the stretch in the inner thighs and groin. However, this may backfire and tighten those muscles along with the muscles of the belly and lower back. 

To avoid this, imagine your knees floating upwards while you continue to gently push your groin towards the pelvis. This will automatically bring your knees to drop towards the ground.

To make this pose restorative, use props in the following ways:

  • Place a bolster under your back (lengthwise) so that your buttocks remain on the ground and your entire spine is supported by the bolster. In this variation, you will observe more opening of the chest than in normal procedure.
  • Use a folded blanket or a yoga block under the rib case to increase the chest opening.
  • Place yoga blocks, cushions, or folded blankets under each knee for support.
  • Folded blankets can also be used under the thighs and groin to avoid overstretching.
  • Place sandbags on the juncture where the thigh meets the hips to add weight and push the groin towards the pelvis.

Your body can cool down in restorative yoga poses so keep a blanket or a sweater handy. Cover your feet or upper body accordingly.

Benefits

After a thorough and rigorous yoga session, Supta Baddha Konasana helps to ease the lower body muscles. It calms the mind and relaxes the whole body. Above that, it stretches the hips and groins.

Below are some purported benefits of this pose:

  • The inner thighs and groin muscles are stretched and the adductor muscles are expanded by opening the thighs and pulling the knees towards the floor.
  • The stretching of the hips, thighs, and groin further improves posture and gait.
  • This asana reduces symptoms of mild sciatica and lower back pain.
  • With regular practice, the flexibility of the ankles and knees can also be improved.
  • The pose stimulates the digestive organs, reducing issues such as indigestion, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
  • Other organs such as kidneys, liver, and urinary bladder also receive enhanced blood and energy circulation.
  • It improves blood circulation towards the reproductive organs which helps with the fertility of both men and women.
  • It opens the chest, leading to fuller breathing and better oxygen flow, which is very good for asthma sufferers.
  • The chest opening also stimulates the heart and regularized the blood pressure and improves circulation to the entire body.
  • For women, practicing the pose, particularly before their menstrual cycle will help reduce cramps.
  • It activates the parasympathetic nervous system and reduces stress, anxiety, tension, and mild depression.
  • Supta Baddha Konasana relaxes your muscles and removes fatigue and insomnia.
  • Practicing this pose in the morning will keep you rejuvenated and fresh throughout the day.

Variations and modifications

Supta baddha konasana for pregnant ladies – Lying completely on the back can put pressure on the lower back and tailbone, hence it will be beneficial for them to use props to elevate their upper body. To achieve this: 

  • Place two yoga blocks in for of a T, with the top block on its highest setting and the lower one on its side. 
  • Take a wide surfaced rectangular bolster and place it lengthwise of the yoga block arrangement. Place it in a way that supports your entire spine.
  • Use a folded blanket under your hips and cushion under your knees
  • For more height and support, use a folded blanket or a low pillow under the head.

Lower body on the wall – Instead of placing your legs on the ground, you can place them on the wall and bring your legs into the position for the bound angle pose. It will be a great inversion and also enhance the stretch of the hips, inner thigh, and groin.

Precautions and contraindications

Perform supta baddha konasana with precautions in the following conditions:

  • Severe sciatica: Perform pose with as many props as possible.
  • Lower back pain: People with lower back pain should also use support if they feel discomfort.
  • Pregnant ladies: Use props in a way that their upper body is raised in a reclining position instead of lying completely on their backs. 
  • Recent childbirth: Women who have recently given birth should avoid this pose till their pelvic muscles have become firm again.
  • Lower limbs surgery: Do not practice the pose if you have recently undergone surgery or have an injury in the hips, groin, knees, lower back, or neck.

Preparatory poses

Follow-up Poses

Conclusion

The supine bound angle pose is not only a good hip and groin opener but also a relaxing pose in itself. It is one of those poses which promotes the free flow of energy and improves blood circulation to the lower organs. Practicing this pose in the morning will promote rejuvenation while performing it in the evening will boost relaxation and sleep. Overall, this pose benefits the mind and body holistically.

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