Baddha means bound and kona is angle, hence bound angle pose. Baddha Konasana is also called cobbler’s pose because Indian shoemakers sit effortlessly in this pose with a shoe between their feet. In our society many people have tight hips from sitting in chairs and all our typical Western activities: running, hiking, biking, etc. which all move the thigh bone in the hip socket in same forward and back movement. In many other cultures, India included, hips are more open because they sit on the floor and fold the legs in cross-legged positions.

Baddha Konasana, or Bound Angle Pose, is a posture that quickly brings some people to their edge. Like all poses, Baddha Konasana requires a combination of stability, flexibility, and effort, and any of these aspects of the pose can make you confront your limitations. The pose is a big stretch for the inner thighs and groins. Because of the open position of the legs, it requires strength in your core, your back muscles, and your outer thighs. When you sit on the floor in Baddha Konasana, your core works to keep you from rounding the back and dropping the chest. Your back works as you actively lift your spine up and away from the grounding of your thighs. Your outer thigh muscles must be strong enough to rotate your thighbones out, helping your inner thighs stretch. If that sounds like a lot to think about, it is! The actions of Baddha Konasana are similar to those used in standing poses that call for open hips, such as Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose) and Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose). Although it’s not a classic meditation pose, practicing Baddha Konasana can make sitting easier.

Two other variations: Add a forward fold while clasping the fingers and holding onto your toes or ankles. You may need to add another blanket under your sit bones. For a more resting pose, add support under the knees and thighs and lie back on blankets and add a bit more height under the head so it’s higher than the heart — this is called supta baddha konasana.

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