Heart Opening Pose

WITH YOU, I BREATHE: A forty day yoga column

#10: Heart Opening Pose, Supta Baddha Konasana

I’ve been writing about the heart so today I’m going to write about a heart opening pose. Supta Baddha Konasana also known as reclining bound angle pose is a gentle back bend. Back bends, which I might write about in another column, are heart opening poses. This is a restorative pose that will relax the body and open up the chest. You can practice this pose at home with just a few blankets or if you show up to a yoga class early, you can do this pose before class, as a way to tune in to your body and mind before practice.

Step by step, visual directions are here.  I’m going to be honest and tell you I didn’t listen to her step by step directions, I just watched the video on silent and figured it was easy to follow visually and her alignment point seems right on. So I hope she’s not talking crazy talk in the video, I doubt she is. Anyway, you can go ahead and use blankets as props, if you don’t have mats. You just want to fold it, in a way that’s similar to the size of the rolled up mat in the video.

This pose is heart opening but it also stretches and releases the hips and groin area, which can feel really nice if you are experiencing PMS and pregnant, unless you are new to yoga or your pregnancy is high risk. However, if you want only to focus on the opening of the chest, feel free to release and stretch out your legs.

In the video, she stretches out her arms, which creates more space, but for some people, this action can feel too vulnerable, too much a surrender. You can experiment with how it feels to lie with your arms stretch out and how it feels with your arms, down by the side of your body, with your palms facing up. How you feel in a pose can, of course and often does, change from day to day.

I’d suggest practicing reclining bound angle pose for at least five minutes, with the lights dimmed or off. Turn off your phone, TV, computer and lie in silence, or, if you find music helps you relax, maybe even helps quiet your thoughts, go head and put on a soothing song. If you’re using your computer for music, just make sure to make the screen black.

Before you practice this pose, I recommend doing a gentle warm up, like cat/cow, just to release the spine a little bit. You can do cat/cow for five breaths. During the pose, close your eyes and relax the jaw by placing the tongue on the bottom of the mouth. After the pose, lie on your back or do child’s pose, which will allow your back to come back to neutral.

If you decided to try it, let me know how it goes! And if you have any questions.

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