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  • Bound Angle Pose
    A Stretch for the Inner Thighs

    bound angle forward fold with hands grabbing feet

    Bound Angle Pose (baddha konasana) is often used as a counter pose (or rebalancing pose) for wide leg forward bend.

    A Seated Forward Bend

    Also called Butterfly or Baddha Konasana, this is a forward bending yoga pose in which the knees are bent and opened out to the side. The feet are pulled in as close to the pelvis as possible.

    Another version of this seated yoga pose has the feet about two feet away from the pelvis so that as you lean forwards you bring your face closer to your feet. (It's a good opportunity to see how clean or dirty your feet are.)

    This "wide" variation of bound angle pose, with the feet further away, tends to stretch the outer thighs, in a way similar to pigeon pose.

    With the feet closer to the pelvis, the inner thighs (adductor muscles) get the stretch.

    Sitting Upright

    To begin with, sit upright with the soles of your feet together, your knees bent and opened out to the sides.

    In a lot of instances you may be instructed to turn the soles of your feet up while pressing your heels together.

    I'd suggest that you also experiment with keeping the soles of your feet together. In particular try to press the bases of your big toes together.

    This may help to make your feet stronger and more stable, particularly when you hold on to them with your hands when bending forwards.

    Brace Your Body, Press Your Feet Down

    Place your hands on the floor behind you to brace your upper body. Lengthen your neck and lift your chest. Move your shoulders back so that your blades move towards each other.

    bound angle pose with hands behind body
    bound angle pose with hands behind body, chest lifted

    Instead of pressing your knees straight down, reach them forwards slightly, away from your hip sockets, and press them down.

    The "reaching your knees forwards" may help you to create space in your hip sockets. You may find that creating this space makes it easier to press your knees down and subsequently bend forwards in bound angle pose.

    Another option is to focus on pressing your feet into the floor.

    Feel like you are trying to stand on the outside edges of your feet.

    You may notice that this creates tension along the outside of the shin and the outside of the thigh. And you may also notice that it helps to pull the knees down automatically as a result.

    Bending Forwards

    In bound angle pose it can be difficult to use your body weight to bend forward. And so it helps to grab on to your feet (keep them active) and use your arms to pull your ribcage forwards and down. While doing so you can keep your spine straight so that the pull of your arms goes towards tilting your pelvis forwards as opposed to bending your spine forwards.

    bound angle forward fold with hands grabbing feet

    So that you keep your spine both long and straight pull your head back and up relative to your ribcage.

    Pull your front ribs up away from your pelvis.

    Keep your body feeling long as you tilt your pelvis forwards.

    Straighten Your Spine, And Bend It

    As you hold the pose you can experiment with straightening your spine and with bending it forwards. To straighen your spine first lengthen the back of your neck. Push your head back "relative to your ribcage." The idea of this action is not only to straighten the back of your neck but to help open the top of your chest.

    From there focus on drawing your chest away from your pelvis so that the front of your belly gradually feels longer.

    To bend your spine forwards try pushing up through the middle of your back (just below the bottom of your shoulder blades.) This is to bend your ribcage forwards. You can also pull your front lower ribs towards your pelvis to bend your lumbar spine forwards.

    If you find this creates pain in your lower back then keep your spine straight.

    Using Blocks

    You can experiment with the use of yoga blocks in bound angle pose. Try sitting on blocks with your feet on the floor or try putting your feet on blocks while keeping your butt on the floor. Another option is to place a block between your feet.

    Lifting Your pelvis

    An option you can try while sitting upright is to lift your pelvis off of the floor. Do this with your hands on the floor behind you. Press your hands down, lift your chest up, and lift your pelvis about an inch off of the floor.

    Move your pelvis to the right a little while keeping it level. Press your left knee down. Then move your pelvis to the left and press your right knee down.

    Repeat this a few times (slowly and smoothly) and then put your pelvis back down on the floor and continue as before.