Lying in supta baddha konasana for just 15 minutes can make the practitioner feel calm, relaxed and rejuvenated. Bosco Bhandarkar shows how to hold the pose with props.
One of my favourite postures in an Iyengar class is supta baddha konasana. This posture is usually practised at the end of class to relax the spine and cool the body. I love practising the Iyengar school of yoga. I find that the use of props helps me to align my body correctly and it also allows me to stay in a posture for a long period of time, so I really get to experience the pose and observe my breath.
After an intense class of backbends or inversions, lying in supta baddha konasana on a bolster with a belt around my legs really relaxes and eases my entire body and my spine. It’s a great posture to end a class with and even if you’re practising at home, you can just lie in supta baddha konasana for about 15 minutes to feel instantly rejuvenated. It completely relaxes the nervous system and opens the diaphragm and chest. The props ensure that there is minimal strain or effort on the body and allow you to dissolve into the pose. Supta baddha konasana improves blood circulation in the lower belly and benefits the reproductive and digestive systems. It helps to lower blood pressure, releases stress and rests the spine. If you’re practising for the first time, it’s best to try the posture under the guidance of a qualified teacher. I’ve deconstructed the pose below.
Asana for Deep Relaxation
Supta Baddha Konasana
Before your start practice, make sure you have your props next to you. For this asana, we need a bolster, two bricks and a belt. Place the bolster behind you so that the end of the bolster touches your tailbone.
Using the buckle at the end of the belt, create a loop with the belt that goes around your body. Bring the strap around the back of your body below your sacrum and at the front of your body, place it around your feet. The sides of the strap will form a line on each side of your legs from your ankles to your hips. Next, place the bricks under your thighs to support the position and to avoid excessive strain on the groin.
Inhale, and as you exhale, start moving your torso backwards. You can use your palms and elbows to move back till your back is completely resting on the bolster. Once you’re completely resting on the bolster, place your arms to the side. Your shoulders are rolled away from the neck. Your chest is really open in this position, so it’s easy to take deep inhalations and exhalations. Stay here for as long as you can and enjoy the posture.
You can even take your arms overhead and interlock them for a deeper stretch. When you feel ready to release the pose, come back up on an inhalation. Keep your back and head stretched and elongated when you come up.
Bosco Bhandarkar is a Goa-based filmmaker and Iyengar Yoga practitioner.