Christian Leeby has studied, practiced and taught Yoga for over 25 years. Visit his website at www.miracleofyoga.com
Bound Angle Pose, or Baddha Konasana, is a popular seated posture where the soles of the feet are together and the knees apart. This classic “hip opener” shows just how open, or tight, your hips are. When you sit in the pose the height of the knees from the floor is what you look at, to determine how flexible you are. If your knees are on or close to the floor then your flexibility is good, and if they’re up in line with your armpits you’ve got some work to do.
Improving a tight Baddha Konasana is a good goal because hips tend to get stiff as we age, and if yours are already tight it will only get worse. When the hips are tight we loose the ability to walk fluidly, which starts creating problems in other parts of the body that have to compensate for the lack of movement in the hips. This is a great pose that’s easy to practice and when done consistently over time, really pays off.
Consistency is the key with this one. If you haven’t really taken the time to practice Baddha Konasana much, then at first you’ll see little change, which is why you have to stick with it. Take your time and tolerate doing the pose for a month or so even if you’re not seeing results, they will come. If you practice the pose every day your results will come quickly, but still not overnight.
Using the wall for support in this pose makes a lot of sense, because if you want to see big changes you have to be in the pose for more than a minute or two; ideally 3 – 10! Try practicing this pose in the middle of the room, and you’ll see that it’s very hard to sit upright for time, the body gets fatigued and slouches quickly. So use the wall.
Sit with your back against the wall and bring the soles of the feet together, letting the knees fall to the sides as much as possible. Now this is very important – take a look at how high your knees are. If they’re higher than the middle of your waist you need to use props to get the most out of the pose. If your knees are in line with the middle of your waist, or closer to the floor you’re good to go, you should do the pose sitting on the floor.
For those of you who’s knees are too high, put some folded blankets, a bolster, or a block under the buttocks so the hips are higher then the floor. Then try it again, bring the feet together and the knees apart, and take another look at where the knees are. Continue propping the hips higher until your knees are no higher than the middle of the waist. Doing the pose with the knees really high will not get you anywhere, so take the time to figure out how much height you need under the hips and always stick to that rule. As you see the knees fall towards the floor more and more, remove the height from under the buttocks. If you continue in that manner you’ll eventually be sitting on the floor with the knees right where they should be – close to the floor.
Remember to roll your shoulders away from the chest when sitting in this pose. It’s generally hard to sit up straight against the wall, because the back muscles get sore. This is a good thing, it means you’re taking the “slouch” out of your posture and strengthening the back muscles that have weakened over time. As you roll the shoulders away from the chest, lift the chest up, keeping the back of the hands resting on the knees.
Understanding that the knees should not be too high in this pose, take your time to figure out if you need to sit up on props. Having established the right position for the knees, sit with your back to the wall, chest open, for 3 to 10 minutes. The more you practice the easier it will become to practice for longer periods of time, the lower your knees will fall, and the happier your legs and hips will be.