It is often challenging to maintain a straight spine while working to open the hips in baddha konasana. How does one open the hips and feel comfortable in the pose?
It may seem to many that however hard they try, they are not getting any progress.
Baddha konasana is the basic practice for many seated and deep hip-opening postures – padmasana (lotus) or paschimottanasana (seated forward bend).
Further, asanas are interlinked. Baddha konasana can even help improve standing poses such as virabhadrasana (warrior), vrikshasana (tree) and vice versa.
The Wall – The Key to Freedom
Sometimes we sit against the wall in either pranayama or meditation for a considerable time. This can be an alternative for practicing baddha konasana.
Some may think, “The wall isn’t for me; it is only for the very stiff, the eldery or the injured”.
The wall is a useful prop, not just for beginners but for those who have been practicing yoga for years.
Lay the Foundation
The wall teaches us to be alert, to be aware and to adjust. Notice how the hips and torso improve with the wall practice.
All the following postures can be held for 1-5 minutes with even breaths.
Against the wall, hands on the knees
- Place two blocks horizontally and close to the wall.
- Sit on the blocks and lean against the wall in baddha konasana.
- With the soles of the feet touching, bring the groin closer to the blocks.
- Take the knees wide apart and place a block under each knee.
- Bring the palms into chin mudra on the knees.
Benefits: This helps the knees widen and lower gradually towards the floor. Sitting on the blocks helps keep the pelvis stable and the spine erect. The wall becomes a grip to broaden the shoulders and keep the spine erect.
Against the wall, hands raise up
- Get into the pose as above. Then stretch the arms up.
- Bring the palms to face forward and draw the shoulder blades together.
- Let the entire back and arms lean against the wall.
- Pull the abdomen in and keep the chest lifted.
Benefits: This lengthens the spine, relieves any compression in the lower back. It opens the shoulders and broadens the chest.
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