Butterfly Pose (or Badhakonasana) has many benefits, including giving the inner thighs, groin and even the knees a nice stretch, which helps to increase flexibility in the hips and pelvic area. This pose keeps the stomach and intestinal area nice and open, helping to aid digestion. Butterfly can also offer some relief for menstrual discomfort or menopause symptoms. It may help ease sciatica pain. During pregnancy, this pose can help open up the hips more, which could contribute to a smoother delivery.
Cautions: If you have any knee or groin injuries, you may want to use blocks, blankets or pillows under the knees/outside thighs for added support. You can also slide your feet a bit farther forward to alleviate pressure on the knees.
– Also use caution or avoid this pose altogether if you have a lower back injury or herniated vertebral disc.
To get into Butterfly pose:
- Sit tall, with the spine erect and the legs straight out in front of you. Exhale.
- Inhale as you slowly bend your knees, bring the soles of the feet together and the heels in toward your pelvis.
- You can either grab your feet with your hands, place them under your feet for added support or gently open up your feet slightly (as pictured above) with the hands clasping the ankles.
- If it feels good, gently begin flapping both legs up and down like a butterfly’s wings, staring slowly at first and gradually increasing speed while breathing normally throughout.
- Then begin to slow down before coming to a stop. Take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, gently hinge at the hips, bending forward but keeping the chin level and the spine straight. You can also press your elbows into the thighs or gently against the knees to press them down and increase the stretch if it feels good. ALWAYS listen to your body.
- Continue taking long, deep breaths in and out as you enjoy the stretch.
- When ready, take a deep breath in as you raise the torso back up. Then exhale and release the posture, letting the legs straighten back out in front of you and relax.