Benefits and Uses
Similar to its restorative version (reclined bound angle pose), this pose is a hip opener and is excellent for relieving lower back pressure and pain caused by uterine weight during pregnancy. It is a good pose to incorporate after a series of strengthening postures.
Sit on your mat and bring the palms of your feet together, a comfortable distance from your groin. Wrap your hands around your feet, interlacing your fingers under their outer edges. Sit up tall and use your elbows to press your knees gently to the ground, deepening the stretch in the hips and inner thighs.
Notice that the closer you bring your feet to your pelvis, the higher your knees will tend to rise. In this pose we ideally want the knees to be below hip level for maximum openness. Sit up on a blanket to elevate the hips, or work through the pose using the elbows to explore the different degrees of sensation in the body with relation to the height of the knees.
Keeping a straight spine, reach the chest forward slightly in order to increase the stretch further. Instead of folding forward by rounding the back, imagine lengthening with a straight spine over the legs, remembering that the reaching your forehead to your feet does not mean a perfect pose. If you choose to fold forward, maintain the length in your spine and space for your belly as you do so.
- Breath: Use the ocean-sounding (ujjayi) breath to maximize your comfort in the pose. Allow the breath to help you move deeper, or tell you when to ease up. Coordinate your breath with the stretch - inhale to prepare for movement and exhale to move deeper.
- Modifications: Sitting on a blanket to elevate hips is a very helpful way to create more comfort in the pose. Do not fold forward if this is uncomfortable or puts any strain on your back or belly. The pose can be as subtle or deep as you wish. Use your thumbs to massage the arches of your feet for extra pleasure.
- Release: To release the pose return your torso to upright and unhook your fingers from your feet.