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Benefits of Supta Baddha Konasana and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

By Dr. Himani Bisht +2 more

Introduction: 

Yoga is popular due to its holistic approach. It is an array of practices of spiritual disciplines that originated in India. It has gone widespread and popular, equally within India and abroad. One such asana that benefits holistically is the supta baddha konasana. It is a relaxing pose, also known as reclined goddesses pose or reclined bound angle pose.1,2 

What is Supta Baddha Konasana? 

Supta baddha konasana or reclined bound angle pose, is a hip-opening pose that also relaxes the body. While performing this restorative pose, we should try to stay in a comfortable position.1 The pose is capable of stretching your inner hips, groin and thighs. It also eases and relaxes the pelvic floor muscles (muscles supporting the pelvic organs). It stretches the spine and eliminates tension in the lower back. The pose promotes circulation, enhances breathing, opens up the chest, releases the hips, strengthens and stretches the shoulders and centres and calms the mind.2,3 

Based on what I have observed, practising Supta Baddha Konasana might provide not only physical benefits but also contribute to emotional well-being. This particular yoga pose may help to release emotional tension and promote a sense of emotional comfort.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

How to do it? 

To perform supta baddha konasana, it is important to remain in a comfortable position.1 Then follow the following steps: 

  • Stretch your legs out in front of you as you sit on the ground. 
  • Bring your right foot inside while bending your right knee until the right heel is nearly touching your perineum (area between the thighs).  
  • Bring your left foot in till the soles of both feet are in contact with each other by bending your left knee. 
  • Grab the outside of your feet firmly with your hands, and make sure your thighs are as close to the ground as possible. 
  • Straighten up your spine as much as possible. Now, you are in baddha konasana (bound angle pose).  
  • From this position, using your right and left elbows as support, slowly lie down completely on your back in the supta baddha konasana position. 
  • Keep taking deep breaths and relax in this position.  
  • Place your hands either by the sides or on the thighs.  
  • When ready, carefully resume sitting before extending your legs forward.  

Variations: You can practice certain modifications of supta baddha konasana if you have difficulty performing the pose as mentioned above. You may follow the given modifications wherever required while performing this asana: 

  • Sit on a pillow or bolster to accommodate stiff muscles. 
  • You can also place a pillow or bolster under your back or head. 
  • Place bolsters under the knees.4,5 

In my experience, I have found that practising Supta Baddha Konasana might be highly effective in relieving stiffness in the ankles, knees, and hips. Also, this pose may result in improved hip mobility and increased flexibility.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Do You Know? 

Some insights on the possible background of this asana are good to read. Let us read some such fun facts. 

  • The name supta baddha konasana is derived from Sanskrit where supta, means reclining, baddha means bound, kona means angle, and asana means pose. 
  • The pose has a medieval correlation, as bhadrasana is a meditation seat (derived from the word Bhadra, which means throne. It is described in the 15th-century text Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā

Benefits of Supta Baddha Konasana: 

Supta baddha konasana might be beneficial in multiple ways, some of which are as follows: 

Benefits of supta baddha konasana for women: 

Benefits of supta baddha konasana in lowering PCOS symptoms 

Singh et al. (2021) studied that yoga can help women with some positive effects on their health and possibly lower the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome. They found that these benefits may be gained by performing these combination yoga exercises, including supta baddha konasana regularly. Women who practice it may be benefitted from a reduction in their overall PCOS symptoms. 1 However, further studies may be required. 

Benefits of supta baddha konasana in pregnancy 

Supta baddha konasana in combination with other yogic practices, may be beneficial for pregnant women. Sengupta (2014) studied its benefits during the 35th week of pregnancy. It might improve breathing by opening up the upper chest, may stretch the spine and relaxing the lower back, may stretch the hips, inner thighs and groin, may relax the muscles that support pelvic organs. Thus, it may also improve blood circulation and might have some effect on building focus and calming the mind.3 

Though several potential benefits are observed during this study, it is advisable to consult your doctor for appropriate advice before performing any exercise or postures during pregnancy.

Benefits of supta baddha konasana for hot flushes  

Cohen et. al. (2007) found that the preliminary data of their study indicates potential improvements in the severity and frequency of hot flushes. Moreover, it improves the sleep quality and the quality of life in these women. A bigger randomised-controlled study to examine the effectiveness of this yoga for the treatment of hot flushes is advisable.6 

Benefits of supta baddha konasana for menstrual cramps  

Guruprasad et al. 2019 studied the effect of yogic postures such as supta baddha konasana and physiotherapy exercise on severe menstrual cramps. The findings demonstrated that in severe menstrual cramps, patients experienced an instant decrease in pain. Thus, it may indicate that asanas like supta baddha konasana may help women with menstrual cramps.7 However, it is suggested that larger studies may be conducted to verify the exact effects. 

Benefits of supta baddha konasana for urinary incontinence in women 

A study with a core set of eight postures including supta baddha konasana was carried out by Huang et al in 2014. Findings offer evidence for the viability, effectiveness and safety of a group yoga therapy intervention to manage female urine incontinence.8 However, it is always best to consult a professional for their opinion instead of self-medicating. 

Benefits of supta baddha konasana for pelvic pain in women 

The findings of a study by Huang et al. done in 2017 indicate a possibility that yoga can be used by women who suffer from chronic pelvic discomfort to reduce pain, enhance the quality of life and enhance sexual function. Participants showed a moderate improvement in the severity of their pelvic pain as well as improvements in several areas of functioning and well-being.9 Even then, it is advised to take a professional opinion for better health outcomes. 

 Other benefits of supta baddha konasana: 

  1. It may increase the movement of the hip joint and gait function.11 
  1. It can help cancer patients, and survivors gain vitality and reduce fatigue.10 

Yoga practice may help develop the mind and body; however, it is still not an alternative to modern medicine. You must not rely on yoga alone to treat any condition. Please consult a qualified doctor who will be able to assess your condition correctly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries.  

Risks of Supta Baddha Konasana: 

There are certain risks involved in any yogasana if performed incorrectly or without consulting an expert. Even though supta baddha konasana is a relaxing pose, some risks are involved with it. There are certain precautions that can be taken with the posture that can be guided by a trained instructor.1 With the guidance of a qualified and experienced yoga teacher, we can assess and analyse the risk factors and continue to practice supta baddha konasana with precautions.  

Conclusion:  

Supta baddha konasana is a rejuvenating and relaxing pose that is performed with mindfulness keeping the body comfortable. It is a beneficial yoga posture for women having chronic pelvic pain, menopausal symptoms and urinary incontinence. It may also be helpful for relieving fatigue in cancer patients and age-related mobility issues in elderly people. 

Also Read: Exercises for Hip Pain: A Research-Based Guide to Relief

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Is supta baddha konasana safe for the elderly? 

Yes, it is safe for the elderly if performed under the guidance of a yoga trainer. It can help them to improve age-related issues in hip extension and gait. The elderly can also use pillows, bolsters and blankets to comfort themselves while performing this pose.7 

2. How to do supta baddha konasana? 

 To perform this yoga pose, you must first sit on the ground with legs stretched in front. Then bend your knee and bring your right foot inside. Next, bring your left foot in till the soles of both feet touch. Now grab your feet firmly with your hands and make sure your thighs are as close to the ground as possible. From this position, using both your elbows as support, recline on your back in the supta baddha konasana position.4 

3. What are the supta baddha konasana benefits in weight loss? 

There are no proven benefits of supta baddha konasana for weight loss. Even so, this asana might have some effect on PCOS. Thus, it may control PCOS and stress hormone-related weight gain. However, you must consult a proper trainer for guided weight loss.1 

4. Are there any benefits of supta baddha konasana for hair fall?

 No, there are no proven benefits of supta baddha konasana for hair fall. You must take proper treatment and guidance from a qualified doctor for hair fall issues. 

5. Does supta baddha konasana help with hormonal imbalance? 

Yoga and its postures such as supta baddha konasana can produce a rejuvenating effect on our physical and mental energy that might help to improve fitness and reduces unwanted hormones. Thus, maintaining hormonal balance in our body.1 However, research on a large scale is needed to evaluate the exact effect of these poses on human health. It is advisable to consult a qualified doctor for proper treatment. 

References: 

  1. Bijendar Singh JB, Laxmi V. The Positive effects of Asanas and Pranayama on PCOS and How to deal with hormonal imbalance? Science and Technology. 2021;7(0707029):190-5. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Editor-Ijmtst/publication/353644174_The_Positive_effects_of_Asanas_and_Pranayama_on_PCOS_and_How_to_deal_with_hormonal_imbalance/links/61080b190c2bfa282a1782ff/The-Positive-effects-of-Asanas-and-Pranayama-on-PCOS-and-How-to-deal-with-hormonal-imbalance.pdf 
  1. Nicosia FM, Lisha NE, Chesney MA, Subak LL, Plaut TM, Huang A. Strategies for evaluating self-efficacy and observed success in the practice of yoga postures for therapeutic indications: methods from a yoga intervention for urinary incontinence among middle-aged and older women. BMC complementary medicine and therapies. 2020 Dec;20(1) :1-3. Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12906-020-02934-3 
  1. Sengupta PA. The bliss yoga inculcates during the different stages of pregnancy. Int J Pharm Pharm Sci. 2014;6 (10):86-7. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Pallav-Sengupta-2/publication/287896848_The_bliss_yoga_inculcates_during_the_different_stages_of_pregnancy/links/57ff200308ae7275640169e6/The-bliss-yoga-inculcates-during-the-different-stages-of-pregnancy.pdf 
  1. Antenatal and Post-Natal Yoga Practices, Advanced Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education & Research (Acyter), JIPMER. Notes. Internet [cited on Sep 2022] Available from: https://www.academia.edu/download/59303633/yoga_preggy20190518-57087-1ahdjwf.pdf 
  1. Miller D. Yoga in Healing in Urology: Clinical Guidebook to Herbal and Alternative Therapies 2017 (pp. 185-208). Available from: https://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/9789814719094_0009 
  1. Cohen BE, Kanaya AM, Macer JL, Shen H, Chang AA, Grady D. Feasibility and acceptability of yoga for treatment of hot flushes: A pilot trial. Methods. 2006; 12:13. Available from: https://www.iyengaryogamilano.it/files/uploads/2020/09/16/3-cohen-et-al-2006_hot-flushes-1.pdf 
  1. Guruprasad P, Sharma U, Palekar T, Pimpri P. Immediate Effect of Yoga Postures v/s Physiotherapy Exercises Along With K-Taping on Pain in Dysmenorrhea. International Journal of Scientific Research in Science and Technology. 2019;6(2):487-94. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Urvashi-Sharma-24/publication/332398783_Immediate_Effect_of_Yoga_Postures_vs_Physiotherapy_Exercises_Along_with_K-Taping_on_Pain_in_Dysmenorrhea/links/5d7231a94585151ee4a0de86/Immediate-Effect-of-Yoga-Postures-v-s-Physiotherapy-Exercises-Along-with-K-Taping-on-Pain-in-Dysmenorrhea.pdf 
  1. Huang AJ, Jenny HE, Chesney MA, Schembri M, Subak LL. A group-based yoga therapy intervention for urinary incontinence in women: a pilot randomized trial. Female pelvic medicine & reconstructive surgery. 2014 May; 20 (3):147. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4310548/ 
  1. Huang AJ, Rowen TS, Abercrombie P, Subak LL, Schembri M, Plaut T, Chao MT. Development and feasibility of a group-based therapeutic yoga program for women with chronic pelvic pain. Pain Medicine. 2017 Oct 1;18(10):1864-72. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article-abstract/18/10/1864/3737820  
  1. Bower JE, Garet D, Sternlieb B, Ganz PA, Irwin MR, Olmstead R, Greendale G. Yoga for persistent fatigue in breast cancer survivors: a randomized controlled trial. Cancer. 2012 Aug 1; 118(15):3766-75. Available from:  https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cncr.26702 
  1. DiBenedetto M, Innes KE, Taylor AG, Rodeheaver PF, Boxer JA, Wright HJ, Kerrigan DC. Effect of a gentle Iyengar yoga program on gait in the elderly: an exploratory study. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 2005 Sep 1;86(9):1830-7. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003999305003175 

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