Wide-legged forward bend pose

Prasarita Padottanasana

Categories:
Forward bend, Hip opener

The wide-legged forward bend pose stretches and opens the legs, hips and spine. This pose can have a calming effect on the nervous system.

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Step by step explanation

The Butterfly pose or Baddha Konasana can be done by

  1. Start by standing tall with your arms relaxed to your sides.
  2. Now, take a big step back with your right foot and bring your feet parallel, with your big toes facing inwards and heels outwards.
  3. Now straighten and lengthen the upper body, as you bring your hands to your hips and draw the elbows back towards each other. Keep your spine nice and long, as you slowly start to fold forward from the hips and reach the crown of the head down.
  4. From here, place your hands on the floor under your shoulders, bending the knees a little if you need. Keep maintaining a long spine, as you draw your abdomen in, open your shoulders and keep the legs active.
  5. If you feel any resistance or trembling, hold the position firmly and try to breathe deeply and steadily. Gaze softly forward.
  6. After a couple of breaths, lengthen your body and bring your hips a bit further towards the ceiling on a long inhale. Use then a long exhale to perhaps folding forward, walking your hands closer in line with your feet and dropping the head down towards the ground. If you like, you can try moving in and out a couple of times, if it helps to deepen the stretch. Keep listening to your body and your breath.
  7. Stay here for at least five breaths.
  8. When you are ready to come out of the pose, slowly pushing your torso halfway up on an inhale. Bringing then your hands to your hips, and using the strength of your abdomen, to come all the way back up to standing again. From here, step your right foot back next to the left foot, coming back to where you started with both feet together.

Cautions

Read the following cautions to stay safe

  • Do not perform the bend of this pose if you have a back injury.
  • If you are concerned about anything of this pose, please contact your physician on whether this practice is good for you.

Making the pose easier

  • If the stretch of the hamstring is too strenuous and you cannot really reach the floor with your hands without rounding the back, you should bend your knees. Try to bend them slightly and see how far you can reach with the hands. Do not bend the knees too much, though, you still want to feel the stretch in the legs.

Suggested preparation poses

Suggested follow-up poses