Baddha Parsvakonasana, also known as Bound Side Angle Pose, strengthens the legs, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hips and groin, while stretching the chest and shoulders.
|Baddha Parsvakonasana, Bound Side Angle Pose,
|Standing, balancing pose
|30 seconds to 1 minute on each side
|Towards the tip of the nose (nāsāgrā drishti);
Third eye (ājñā chakra)
|Muladhara (Root) Chakra, Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra, Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra, Anahata (Heart) Chakra
|Legs, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hips and groin, chest, shoulders, spinal mobility, back stiffness, flow of energy (prana), abdominal organs, digestive system, digestive health, stress, anxiety, restlessness
|Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold Pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose), Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose), Balasana (Child’s Pose)
|Tadasana (Mountain Pose), Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose), Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Fold Pose), Ardha Uttanasana (Half Forward Bend Pose)
|Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose), Utthita Parsvottanasana (Extended Side Angle Pose), Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), Savasana (Corpse Pose)
|Wrist or arm injuries, Spinal issues, Shoulder or neck injuries, Knee or hip injuries, Low or high blood pressure, Pregnancy
The name comes from the Sanskrit, which is made of four words — Baddha + Parsva + Kona + Asana:
- “Baddha” = “bound”
- “Parsva” = “side” or “flank”
- “Kona” = “angle”
- “Asana” = “pose” or “seat”
So, when combined, “Baddha Parsvakonasana” translates to “Bound Side Angle Pose.” The name describes the key elements of the pose, which involves binding or clasping the hands behind the back while assuming a deep side angle posture.
The term “bound” refers to the binding action created by interlacing or clasping the hands, and “side angle” signifies the deep lateral stretch and rotation of the torso in this pose. By combining the bind with the side angle position, Baddha Parsvakonasana offers a unique combination of strength, flexibility, and opening for various parts of the body.
Benefits of Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle Pose)
Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle Pose), offers a range of physical and mental benefits, the benefits experienced may vary from person to person.
- Hip and Groin Opening: Baddha Parsvakonasana deeply stretches the hips and groin, helping to improve flexibility and release tension in these areas. It can be particularly beneficial for individuals who sit for long periods or experience tightness in the hips.
- Leg Strength and Stability: The asana engages and strengthens the muscles of the legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. This can help build lower body strength and stability.
- Spinal Mobility: The rotation of the torso in Bound Side Angle Pose helps to improve spinal mobility and flexibility. It encourages a healthy range of motion in the spine and can alleviate stiffness or discomfort in the back.
- Improved Digestion: The deep twist in this asana can stimulate the abdominal organs, aiding digestion and promoting a healthy digestive system.
- Chest and Shoulder Opening: This asana involves extending one arm overhead, which helps to open the chest and shoulders. This can improve posture, release tension in the upper body, and enhance breath capacity.
Mental and Emotional Benefits:
- Increased Mind-Body Awareness: Practicing Baddha Parsvakonasana requires concentration and awareness of the body and breath. This cultivates a deeper connection between the mind and body, promoting mindfulness and presence.
- Calming and Grounding: The focused attention and deep breathing in this asana can help calm the mind and create a sense of grounding. It can be helpful for reducing stress, anxiety, and mental restlessness.
- Enhanced Focus and Concentration: The balancing and concentration required in Bound Side Angle Pose can improve mental focus and concentration, sharpening the mind and improving overall mental clarity.
- Release of Tension and Energy Blockages: The asana can help release physical and energetic tension, promoting the free flow of energy (prana) throughout the body. This can create a sense of vitality and balance.
Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle Pose) Practice Guide
Baddha Parsvakonasana is a challenging yoga posture that combines elements of a deep side stretch with a binding action.
In this asana, one arm reaches behind the back while the other arm threads between the legs to create a bind or clasp. The asana involves a deep bend in the front knee and a rotation of the torso, offering a stretch to the hips, groin, inner thigh, and side body.
- Begin by standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) at the top of your mat. Take a moment to ground yourself and establish a steady, even breath.
- Step your feet wide apart, approximately 3 to 4 feet distance, depending on your comfort. Turn your right foot out to the right side, ensuring that the heel aligns with the center arch of your left foot.
- Bend your right knee, so it aligns directly over the right ankle. Keep your left leg straight and engaged, with the inner thigh actively lifting.
- With an inhalation, extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Your palms should face down.
- Exhale and begin to bend your right knee deeply, sinking your hips down towards the floor. Make sure to maintain stability and avoid any discomfort in the knee joint. You can adjust your foot position if needed to protect your knee.
- As you deepen into the pose, bring your right forearm to rest on your right thigh. Your forearm should be parallel to the floor. Keep your left arm extended overhead, in line with your torso.
- Now comes the binding action. Reach your left arm behind your back, bending at the elbow. Try to bring your left hand towards your right hip, aiming to clasp your right fingertips.
- Simultaneously, thread your right arm between your right thigh and calf. Bring your right arm under your right thigh, reaching towards your left hand. If possible, aim to clasp your hands together in a bind. However, if your hands don’t reach, you can use a strap or hold onto your clothing to create the bind.
- With the bind established, focus on keeping your chest open and your shoulders relaxed. Engage your core muscles to maintain stability and balance.
- Take a few deep breaths in this position, allowing your body to gradually open and release any tension.
- To release the pose, gently unbind your hands, releasing the grip. Straighten your right leg, coming back to the starting position. Repeat the same steps on the opposite side, reversing the position of your feet.
While practicing Baddha Parsvakonasana, it’s common for people to make certain mistakes that can affect the alignment, stability, and effectiveness of the asana. However, the common mistakes that individuals can make in Bound Side Angle Pose are explaining below:
1. Collapsing or sinking into the bent knee
When the front knee collapses inward or extends beyond the ankle, it can strain the knee joint and compromise stability. This mistake often occurs due to tightness in the hips, lack of strength in the legs, or improper alignment. To avoid this, focus on keeping the knee directly over the ankle and engage the thigh muscles to support the knee joint.
2. Rounded or collapsed shoulders
Allowing the shoulders to round or collapse forward can lead to poor alignment and a compromised chest and shoulder opening. This mistake often occurs due to weak upper back muscles or tight chest muscles. To correct this, actively draw the shoulder blades down the back, broaden across the chest, and lift the sternum upward, maintaining an open and lifted posture.
3. Loss of balance
This mistake is common, especially when first attempting the asana or if there is weakness in the legs or lack of core engagement. Losing balance can occur when weight is not evenly distributed between the feet or when the core muscles are not engaged to stabilize the body. To improve balance, focus on grounding through all four corners of the feet, engage the leg muscles, and activate the core by drawing the navel toward the spine.
4. Straining the neck or hunching the back
It’s common to strain the neck by craning it forward or to hunch the back when reaching for the bind. This mistake often happens due to a lack of awareness or improper alignment. To avoid this, maintain a long, neutral spine, keep the neck aligned with the spine, and focus on the opening of the chest and rotation of the torso rather than straining to achieve a deep bind.
5. Forcing the bind
Trying to force the bind by overstretching or straining the shoulders, arms, or wrists can lead to discomfort or injury. This mistake often occurs when there is limited flexibility or strength in the shoulders or arms. It’s crucial to honor your body’s limitations and work within a safe range of motion. If you can’t reach the bind comfortably, use a strap or hold onto your clothing to create a connection between the hands instead.
Modifications and Variations
Modifications and variations can be used to adapt the pose to individual needs and ensure a safe and effective practice. They allow practitioners to work within their limitations, gradually build strength and flexibility, and explore different aspects of the pose. It’s crucial to choose modifications or variations that suit your current level and gradually progress as your practice evolves. Always listen to your body, practice with mindfulness, and if needed, consult with a qualified yoga teacher or instructor for more guidance and support.
However, the modifications and variations of Baddha Parsvakonasana (Bound Side Angle Pose) are explaining below:
1. Using a block for support
Placing a block under the bottom hand (the forearm resting on the thigh) can provide additional support and stability, especially for beginners or those with limited flexibility. The block helps to bring the ground closer to the hand, making it easier to maintain balance and alignment while still receiving the benefits of the asana.
2. Using a strap for the bind
If reaching the hands in the bind is challenging due to tight shoulders or limited flexibility, a strap can be used to create a connection between the hands. By holding onto the strap with both hands, you can gradually work on increasing the range of motion and flexibility over time. The strap allows you to maintain proper alignment and prevents straining or overstretching.
3. Extended hand variation
Instead of binding the hands behind the back, this variation involves extending the bottom arm forward, resting it on the thigh, while reaching the top arm overhead. This modification provides a similar side stretch and opens the chest, but without the binding action. It’s useful for beginners or those with limited shoulder or wrist mobility, allowing them to focus on proper alignment and opening the chest.
4. Wall support
Practicing Baddha Parsvakonasana with the support of a wall can help with balance and stability. Stand with your side body facing the wall, and place the outer edge of your back foot against the wall. As you bend your front knee and come into the asana, you can use the wall for support, allowing you to focus on proper alignment and increasing the depth of the stretch with stability.
5. Revolved variation
This variation adds a twist to the pose, enhancing the spinal rotation and deepening the stretch. Instead of reaching the top arm overhead, you can bring it to the outside of the front thigh, pressing the palms together in prayer position. Then, twist the torso to the side, using the arm against the thigh as leverage to deepen the twist. This variation provides additional benefits for spinal mobility and digestion.
Precautions and Contraindications
While Bound Side Angle Pose offers numerous benefits, it’s crucial to be aware of precautions and contraindications to ensure a safe and appropriate practice.
- Knee or hip injuries: If you have an existing knee or hip injury, it’s crucial to approach Baddha Parsvakonasana with caution. The deep bend in the front knee and the rotation of the hip joint can put stress on these areas. Modify the asana by taking a shorter stance or reducing the depth of the bend to avoid exacerbating the injury. It’s advisable to seek guidance from a qualified yoga teacher/instructor or physical therapist to ensure proper alignment and modifications.
- High or low blood pressure: This asana can create a deep stretch and increase blood flow to the upper body and head. If you have high blood pressure, be cautious when bending deeply or holding the asana for an extended period. The intense stretch can temporarily raise blood pressure. Similarly, if you have low blood pressure, rising from the deep bend can cause dizziness or lightheadedness. Take breaks, listen to your body, and modify the asana as needed.
- Shoulder or neck injuries: Binding the hands behind the back in Bound Side Angle Pose requires shoulder flexibility and mobility. If you have a shoulder or neck injury or limited range of motion, avoid attempting the bind. Instead, focus on the extended hand variation or use a strap for support. Respect your body’s limitations and work within a pain-free range of motion.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, it’s crucial to be cautious with deep twists and intense stretching. Baddha Parsvakonasana involves a deep side stretch and rotation of the torso, which may not be suitable for all stages of pregnancy. Avoid compressing the abdomen and consult with a prenatal yoga instructor/instructor or healthcare professional for modifications or alternative asanas that are safe for you and your baby.
- Spinal issues: If you have a spinal condition, such as herniated discs or sciatica, it’s crucial to approach Bound Side Angle Pose with caution. Twisting and bending deeply can exacerbate these conditions. Focus on modifications that support a neutral spine, such as the extended hand variation, and avoid over-twisting or straining the back.
- Wrist or arm injuries: The binding action in Baddha Parsvakonasana requires flexibility and strength in the wrists and arms. If you have a wrist or arm injury, avoid attempting the bind or use a strap to create a connection between the hands instead. Place less pressure on the wrists by using a block for support or exploring alternative asanas that don’t strain the injured areas.