A Shiny Yoga How-To Guide: 5 Reclined Bound Angle Pose Variations

Taylor Harkness
A Shiny Yoga How-To Guide: 5 Reclined Bound Angle Pose Variations

I’m often asked about my favorite yoga poses and why they mean so much to me. Certainly, things shift and change based on where I am in life and on what my body needs or is craving, even on a day-to-day basis.

One pose that I continuously return to though is Reclined Bound Angle Pose aka Supta Baddha Konasana for its hip and heart opening goodness. It has plenty of variations and they each realign and clean house in a slightly different part of the body.

Along with the front and medial body stretch, this pose is grounding in a way that just feels natural. I’ll often begin and/or end a class with this pose. In my home practice and when taking public classes, I prefer to return to this pose as my resting pose, even over child’s pose.

It’s also a good way to fall asleep, a great way to wake up, and an excellent way to spend a layover at the airport. There’s even a variation you can take with your significant other or a friend to snuggle up.

Here are some tips and variations I’ve found on how to get the most support and benefits from this posture. Enjoy!

1. The Classic

Supta Baddha Konasana The Classic

This variation is clean, simple, and feels dreamy. No props needed. Time to stay: at least two minutes, up to five if you’re comfortable.

  1. Lie down on your back and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing the knees to drop open, stretching the thighs.
  2. Make either a cactus (goal post) shape with the arms to open the chest, or simply place one hand on the heart and the other hand on the belly to connect with the breath.

2. The “Ohhhh Yeah”

Supta Baddha Konasana The Ohhhh Yeah

This is a similar variation to the Classic, yet adds support for a more restorative, restful pose. Props needed: two blocks (or pillows) and a bolster. Time to stay: at least two minutes, up to six and even more if you’re comfortable.

  1. Take a seat and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing the knees to drop open, stretching the thighs.
  2. Place a block or pillow under each thigh at a level that allows a gentle stretch, yet also supports the weight of the legs.
  3. Lie back on a bolster. It can either be placed lengthwise along the length of the spine to allow the arms to cactus overhead, or can be placed crosswise like a speed bump, directly under the chest or the lumbar spine, depending on your range of motion. Play with each variation to see what feels best.
  4. Make either a cactus (goalpost) shape with the arms to open the chest, or simply place one hand on the heart and the other hand on the belly to connect with the breath.

3. The Sacral Lover

Supta Baddha Konasana The Sacral Lover

This variation allows for a nice release in the sacral space and the lowest part of the posterior chain, between the sits bones. No props needed. Time to stay: at least one minute, up to four minutes.

  1. Lie down on your back and stamp the feet down wider than hip distance apart (the edges of the mat are a good general guide, unless you have one of those huge runway mats—you know who you are). Aim the knees up.
  2. Slowly allow the knees to knock in on each other and find rest. If this is too intense, then heel-toe the feet closer together. If you’d like more of a stretch, then heel-toe the feet wider.
  3. Make either a cactus (goalpost) shape with the arms to open the chest, or simply place one hand on the heart and the other hand on the belly to connect with the breath.

4. The Holy Moly

Supta Baddha Konasana The Holy Moly

This variation is the biggest of all and provides a deep heart opener as well as an inner hip stretch. Props needed: two blocks (preferable foam and not wood. Time to stay: at least one minute, up to three.

  1. Take a seat with the soles of your feet together and allow the knees to drop open wide, providing a basic adductor stretch.
  2. Place one block on either the low or medium side (the higher, the more intense) underneath the bra strap/scapular region as you lie back.
  3. Place the second block on the high side underneath the back of the head. It will feel intense until you arrange and situate the second block, then you should be able to relax and breathe smoothly without any tension on the neck. Let the block hold the weight of the head.
  4. Cactus shape (goalpost) the arms to stretch even deeper.

5. The Cuddle Puddle

Supta Baddha Konasana The Cuddle Puddle

This variation is great for couples or friends looking to snuggle up and stretch.Time to stay: at least one minute, up to four minutes.

  1. Partner A sits down in traditional Baddha Konasana with wider, diamond shaped legs, but remains seated.
  2. Partner B places his or her booty in the diamond shape of Partner A’s legs, then wraps his or her legs around Partner A’s body to make a similar Baddha Konasana shape (This is a great moment for a smooch or two!).
  3. Both partners lie back on each other’s feet. The feet should fall just between the other’s shoulder blades and energetically splay open like a book to stretch out the shoulder space.
  4. Both partners cactus (goalpost) the arms and relax. The hands can also be placed on the belly and heart. Aim to settle and soften. Giggles are totally welcome.

So, which of these Reclined Bound Angle Pose variations do you enjoy the most? Share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments!

Image Credit / Yogi: Taylor Harkness