The Benefits Of Butterfly Pose, Yoga’s Easiest Hip Opener


Sometimes the most beneficial yoga poses aren’t the bendiest or the toughest to do, but easy postures you can drop into while watching TV. One prime example? Butterfly pose, a chill yet effective move that opens your hips and lengthens your spine while you sit on the floor.

Butterfly pose — also called bound angle, cobbler’s pose, and baddha konasana — is a seated, grounding yoga pose that effectively opens tight hips, says Mimi Ghandour, a yoga teacher and founder of Mimi Yoga. “It’s a great pose for people who sit at a desk all day, as they tend to have very tight hips, and it’s also a great stretch for runners or cyclists,” she tells Bustle. Try it in the evening or after a workout, and see how good it feels.

This pose also comes to the rescue when you’ve been on your feet all day, says Whitney Berger, a certified yoga instructor, personal trainer, and founder of WhitFit NYC. “It increases the blood circulation in your lower body, so it can be helpful if you have been standing or doing a lot of walking,” she tells Bustle. And because it requires you to sit up straight, it also lengthens your spine to improve your posture.

This simple stretch is considered a good entryway into yoga, says Ghandour, and it’s often taught to kids, who are told to “flap” their knees up and down like butterfly wings. Basically, it’s the gentlest way to stretch your inner thighs, groin, and knees. And if you do it on the regular, it’ll help strengthen your hips, too. Here’s what to know about butterfly pose.

How To Do Butterfly Pose

Here, Ghandour breaks down how to do cobbler’s pose so you get all the best benefits.

– Begin in a seated position.

– Bring the soles of your feet together.

– Let your knees fall open.

– Clasp your big toes with your index fingers.

– Inhale and sit up straight to elongate your spine.

– On the exhale, slowly being to hinge forward at your waist.

– Lower your head towards the floor.

– Hold for 10 breaths.

– Rise back up, keeping your spine straight.

– Repeat two to three times.

How To Modify Butterfly Pose

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To make your butterfly less intense, simply push your feet further away from your body and keep your knees pointed up. If you like, you can also lie back to do a pose called supta baddha konasana. “Instead of hinging forward, you lay back on your mat while keeping your feet pressed together,” Ghandour says. “It provides a deep hip stretch and is also very relaxing.”

If you’re feeling extra flexible, try modifying butterfly pose by bringing your heels closer in towards your body and lowering your forehead to your feet. According to Ghandour, this will provide a deeper stretch for the hips — and you’ll feel it in your booty, too.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

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Even though this pose is as comfy as it gets — and an ideal one to try while relaxing in front of Netflix — do resist the urge to slump forward or round your back. “It’s important to focus on keeping your spine straight,” Ghandour says. As long as you sit up with your soles together, it’ll be enough to stretch the hips and back.

Also, while it feels nice to lower your head towards your toes, this isn’t the most important part of the stretch, so no need to force it if you’re feeling stiff. “I always say that flexibility starts in your mind,” Ghandour adds. “You have to meet your body where you are.” If that means flapping your knees up and down like a butterfly, so be it.

Experts:

Mimi Ghandour, yoga teacher, founder of Mimi Yoga

Whitney Berger, certified yoga instructor, personal trainer, founder of WhitFit NYC





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