How to Do Reclined Bound Angle Pose in Yoga
Reclined Bound Angle Pose, also known as Reclined Cobbler's Pose, is a deeply relaxing yoga position that is recommended for students of all levels. Its Sanskrit name — “Supta Baddha Konasana” (SOOP-tah BAH-duh cone-AHS-uh-nuh) — comes from four words:
- “Supta” — meaning “reclining”
- “Baddha” — meaning “bound”
- “Kona” — meaning “angle”
- “Asana” — meaning “pose”
It is the supine, or lying down, version of the seated hip-opener, Bound Angle (or Cobbler's) Pose (Baddha Konasana).
This pose is also sometimes referred to as “Goddess Pose,” but is not to be confused with the standing squat position (Utkata Konasana), which is also sometimes called “Goddess Pose.”
Benefits of Supta Baddha Konasana
Supta Baddha Konasana is a restorative pose that relaxes the mind, body, and spirit. It has all the benefits of other restorative poses, such as Corpse Pose (Savasana), including:
- Lowered blood pressure
- A decreased heart rate
- Decreased muscle tension
- Reduced occurrence of headaches
- Relief from fatigue and insomnia
- Reduced nervous tension and stress
- Relief from anxiety and panic attacks
- Increased overall energy levels
In addition, this pose encourages the relaxation of the abdominal muscles, which is soothing for intestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); and for reproductive disorders, such as PMS and infertility. This pose stretches the groin and inner thigh muscles, improving blood flow to the pelvis. It opens the chest, allowing for deeper breathing and improved oxygen flow — this is particularly beneficial for those with asthma and heart disease. Supta Baddha Konasana also positively stimulates the digestive organs, and improves digestion and elimination.
Relaxation is the process of observing your tension.
“A Year of Living Your Yoga”
Avoid practicing Supta Baddha Konasana if you have a groin, knee, lower back, shoulder, or hip injury. Women who are pregnant should keep their head and chest raised in the pose by resting on a bolster or cushion (see Modifications & Variations, below). Women who have just given birth should avoid practicing this pose for at least eight weeks or until the pelvic muscles become firm again. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
- Begin seated in Staff Pose (Dandasana), with your legs extended in front of you on the mat. Bend your knees and draw your heels in toward your pelvis. Press the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop open to both sides. This is Bound Angle (or Cobbler's) Pose (Baddha Konasana).
- Lean backward and bring your elbows to the floor. Then, lower your back all the way to the floor.
- Gently shift your buttocks from side to side, adjusting your position so your spine lengthens along the floor while maintaining the natural curve of the lower back.
- Draw your shoulder blades gently inward and let your arms relax with your palms facing up.
- Relax your buttocks and lengthen your tailbone toward your heels.
- Close your eyes. Let your awareness become fully internal.
- Let your breath occur naturally. Allow your body to feel heavy.
- Stay here for 1-10 minutes. To come out of the pose, draw your knees together. Then, roll to your right side and use your hands to press yourself up to a comfortable seated position.
Modifications & Variations
Supta Baddha Konasana can be a soothing and restful way to end a yoga practice or to end your day. You can practice this pose just before your final relaxation, or even use it in place of Corpse Pose (Savasana). It's important to feel comfortable when practicing this pose, so make whatever adjustments you need to feel fully supported. Here are some suggestions:
- The body often cools down significantly in restorative poses. You may want to keep a blanket, sweater, or a pair of socks nearby to cover yourself up before settling into the pose.
There are several ways to use props to support the body and facilitate greater opening in the chest and groin, and to make the pose even more deeply relaxing. A few ideas include:
- Place a small, rolled towel beneath the back of your neck.
- Rest your head on a low pillow.
- Use a bolster or several folded blankets beneath the spine.
- Use a block beneath your rib cage to deepen the chest opening.
- Place a block under each knee for support.
- Drape an eye pillow or folded towel over your eyes.
- For even greater supported relaxation in your thighs, groins, and hips, try this variation: While seated in Bound Angle (Cobbler's) Pose (Baddha Konasana), loop a yoga strap around your lower waist like a hula hoop. Then, loop the front portion of the strap around your feet, so it comes between your legs and around the outer edges of both feet. Tighten the strap as much as is comfortable. Then, recline into the pose with or without other props as mentioned above.
Supta Baddha Konasana, along with other restorative poses like Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani), is a “feel good” pose. It should feel good! Make whatever adjustments you need to ensure you have no discomfort in the pose. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Breathe naturally throughout the pose.
- Soften your belly.
- Relax your face, jaw, and tongue.
- Take your time exiting the pose. Keep the relaxed mindset with you throughout the rest of your day.
Relax & Let Go
Adding restorative poses to your practice can greatly benefit your health and overall well-being. Practicing Supta Baddha Konasana at the end of a long day can be deeply renewing and rejuvenating to your mind, body, and spirit! Learning to slow down and listen to your body allows the true meaning of yoga to come forth. Once you have accessed your own inner peace and presence, you can bring your yoga with you into every area of your life.