Supta Baddha Konasana
(Photo taken by Wakia Hayward at Body in Motion Fitness studio in Crownsville, MD)
*Note: None of the below advice is intended as medical advice!
This is my all-time favorite go-to yoga pose. There are many ways to support yourself in this pose. In the photo here I am demonstrating my favorite way - using a thick round bolster with a block underneath to prop it up on an incline and a block under each knee to prop the legs open like a book (notice the slight angle inwards of the blocks - this is my favorite way - play with block height & angle to make yourself comfortable). I'm also using an eye pillow to block out any light. If you don't have bolsters at home, you could stack a couple of firm pillows or fold up some blankets. Some people like to use a strap around their hips and feet. You can also pad the ankles with a blanket or towel wrapped around them. You can elevate the head slightly with another folded or rolled blanket if your chin tends to lift up to the ceiling - keeping the back of the throat long. If you experience any low back pain - you probably need to lift yourself up higher with more blankets/pillows - or be at an incline, as pictured. If I lay flat back on the bolster - the angle does not feel good on my lumbar curve and I experience pain, so I personally prefer the pose on an incline. This pose opens the whole front of the body. It is a great heart/chest/shoulder and hip/pelvis/inner groin opener, and it helps balance the 2nd chakra. It can support digestion, ease PMS symptoms & cramps, calm anxiety and reduce stress/tension headaches. It is also a great asana for pregnancy (Google supta baddha konasana + pregnancy, and you will find great photos of how to prop yourself into this pose for pregnant women). When feeling completely depleted, this is the pose I reach for. Stay in the pose anywhere from 5 - 10 minutes - as long as you still feel comfortable. When you are ready to come out of the pose, slowly bring the knees together and roll to one side off of your blankets or bolster. Take a few breaths on your side before slowly rising up to a seated pose, or perhaps take a forward bend such as child's pose or paschimottanasana or Gomukasana with your head on a block as a superbly nice counter pose. Enjoy and Be Well!