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B A D D H A K O N A S A N A
In Sanskrit baddha means bound and kona means angle. So, Baddha konasana is "The Bound Angle Pose".
THE TECHNIQUE ITSELF
This asana has two stages of immobility: the first stage implies the keeping of the spine perpendicular on the floor, and the second keeping the spine bent forward. We will study these stages separately.
THE STARTING POSITION
Sitting on the floor, legs stretched to the front, bend the knee and bring the heels close to the trunk, so that the soles are placed out front and stuck together.
Intertwine your fingers together, and place them underneath your soles, pulling your heels as much as possible to the perineal area. Push the knees downwards, if possible touching the floor.
THE FINAL POSITION WITH THE SPINE STRAIGHT
During this static stage we need to contract the musculature of the back as much as possible, which determines the compression of the kidneys, bringing the shoulders towards the back, until the spine is straight.
Due to the fact that the hands are very well anchored to the feet, the contraction of the back musculature acts on the legs and perineum. At the same time it creates a compression at the level of the spine, especially in the lumbar area, which is highly important.
In this position, breathe deeply, predominantly at the level of the thorax and clavicles, keeping the abdominal muscles contracted.
Stay in this position for at least 2-3 minutes. Then proceed to the Baddha Konasana with a bend towards the front.
THE FINAL POSITION WITH A BEND TOWARDS THE FRONT
The final pose described above becomes starting pose for the phase with a bend towards the front. Relax the musculature of the spine, and breathe deeply for several seconds. The knees will stay on their places, and the soles are still stuck to one another.
Exhale slowly, bending over to the front so as to place the forehead on the floor, without allowing the heels to go far from the perineum.
In the beginning, touching the floor with the forehead will seem an impossible task. Nonetheless, through perseverant practice, we will progress gradually.
The beneficial effects come mainly from the correct execution of this asana, aiming to touch the floor with the forehead at all costs is completely irrelevant.
When the forehead touches the lowest possible level, stay still, breathe deeply and focus on the spine, which needs to be as relaxed and as stretched as possible.
The breath is balanced, in the sense that the inhalation and the exhalation take about the same time. Come out of this pose slowly.
Focus firmly at the base of the spine. Perceive the flow of energy through legs, the lumbar area and the area of the perineum.
Perceive the activation of Muladhara Chakra, enhanced vitality. Perceive also the activation of the subtle breath apana vayu and at the same time the harmonization of prana vayu and apana vayu.
Pregnant women will not practice this asana after their fifth month of pregnancy.
The joints and ligaments of the modern man are usually quite rigid. Therefore, some people will not want to practice this pose.
However, Baddha Konasana is recommended especially for these people. Even though one cannot do it perfectly from the very beginning, one needs to persevere into its practice.
The flow of the energy will gradually lead to the improvement of the joints flexibility, so in time one will find no trouble in doing this asana.
The practice of Baddha Konasana will also allow us to do Padmasana with a lot less effort and pain.
There are two great areas of action of this asana: the spine and the pelvis.
During the static phase the musculature of the spine is contracted and compressed mostly in the lower part, as if we were lifting a heavy weight.
Baddha Konasana is one of the few yogic poses that have this particularity. In the civilized life we have fewer and fewer occasions to work on our spine in this manner.
The spine and especially the inter-vertebral disks need to be compressed from time to time to keep their elasticity.
This compression acts also on the nervous roots that start from the spine. The entire musculature of the spine is fortified by the practice of Baddha Konasana.
In the final phase, all the organs from the abdominal area are intensely energized.
THE HIP AND THE KNEES JOINTS
The mobility of the hip joint is extremely important. After the age of 40, many adults begin to lack mobility in these joints, they begin to have indications of arthritis, and slowly the overall mobility of the body deteriorates.
The people who allow this to occur are preparing themselves for a future of suffering and premature aging. The mobility of the knees is also very important, as is that of the ankles. Baddha Konasana acts beneficially on all these joints.
THE PERINEUM AND THE PELVIC ORGANS
During the first phase the muscles of the perineum are contracted, fact that increases the blood flow in this area.
The women who practice this pose are favored because the perineum muscles, the vagina, uterus, ovaries, the urinary apparatus including the kidneys and the sur-renals benefit as a result of the practice of the asana.
The problems rising from a disturbed menstruation are usually eliminated. Practiced regularly, Baddha Konasana helps to deliver significantly easier.
The pelvic plexus and the nervous centers of the spine that coordinate the genitals and the excretion are toned.
The men who practice this asana will have healthier genitals. The prostrate is no longer congested, and the virility increases significantly.
The pain and heavy sensations of the testicles are eliminated. These glands, whose hormonal action is very important, are toned, and the hormones they secret rejuvenate and revitalize the organism.
The great yogi Iyengar indicated the fact that the Hindu shoemakers who work almost all the time in this position have problems with the genitals quite seldom.
The overall bodily attitude is much improved by the practice of Baddha Konasana and this fact is obvious when we stand and when we sit.