By Aadil Palkhivala, Certified Yoga Instructor, Co-founder of Alive and Shine Center, and the College of Purna Yoga, Bellevue, WA
Years of sitting in chairs and cars have left most of us with chronic tightness in our inner thighs. How can we release this tightness and free up our hips and groins? This is necessary to enjoy everyday life and also to do many yoga poses, particularly the standing poses.
Badda Konasana (pronounced BUD the cone AAH sun uh) is a classic seated pose that releases the tightness in our hips and groins. It also offers us a way of centering ourselves. By sitting erect, opening the hips, dropping the head, and bringing the soles of the feet together, we become focused and calm.
Baddha means bound and kona means angle, so this is the bound angle pose. It is sometimes called the Cobbler’s Pose because this is the position assumed by cobblers in India.
This deceptively simple pose has many other benefits:
- It is good for the health of the prostate for men and the lower reproductive system for women. For this effect, hold the pose for a minimum of five minutes, preferably with your back against a wall. It is interesting to note that Indian cobblers are unique in that they have no prostate problems. This pose also assists in alleviating sexual tension and frustration.
- For women, this pose soothes menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause. Regular practice in the second and third trimester of pregnancy reduces discomfort during childbirth.
- It soothes the lower abdominal organs and releases tension in the bladder. It helps the excretory system remove waste from the body.
- The pelvis is known as the root of emotion, so when we open the groins, we allow the expression of emotion. Most creativity comes from an emotional place, not a mental place, and thus, by opening up the foundation of emotion, we allow creativity to flow more freely.
If you find yourself putting off practicing this pose or other Yoga poses, consider this story:
Three men were traveling through a desert on camels. As the sky began to grow dark, a booming voice from the clouds commanded, “Get off your camels and fill your bags with rocks!” The men were tired after a long day of travel, and didn’t want to burden themselves or their camels, so they grudgingly put a few rocks in their sacks. Then they traveled on to the camp, set up their tents, and went to sleep.
In the morning, the men opened the leather sacks and discovered that, during the night, the rocks had been turned into diamonds. The men were simultaneously glad and sorry. They were glad they had put a few rocks in their sacks, but sorry they hadn’t put in more.
So it is with Yoga. As you go through life, traveling in darkness and deserts, when morning comes and you have to face the day, you’ll be glad you did whatever practice you did, and sorry you didn’t do more.