asana of the month

each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons.

butterfly pose is a posture in the yin yoga tradition. while outwardly, the pose bears some similarity to baddha konasana (or cobbler’s pose), as we discussed last month—the intention behind the yin postures is distinctly different.

yin yoga utilizes long-held, passive floor postures to decongest connective tissue and fascia around the hips, pelvis, lower back and knees. these yin postures, such as butterfly pose, help the body remain supple at its core while encouraging stagnant ch’i (prana) to flow through the body’s “energetic highways,” or meridians, thus enhancing the health of the joints and organs.

baddha konasana, by contrast, is typically approached in a more “yang-like,” or active fashion, and has as its primary target the muscle tissue, as opposed to the deeper connective tissue of the body.

butterfly pose:

benefits:
gently stretches for back, spine, groins, and hips
serves as a good introductory pose to a yin practice, in that it impacts all six of the major meridians of the lower body while simultaneously helping us cultivate the discipline to quiet both body and mind according to bks iyengar, this is a good pose for the kidneys and the prostrate gland and he recommends it for people suffering from urinary problems mr. iyengar also claims that the pose removes “heaviness in the testicles and is a boon to women … to regulate periods, [allow] ovaries to function properly, and make delivery easier…”

[speaking of mr. iyengar, let’s all remember to send a shout-out to him on december 14, as he celebrates his 91st birthday! clearly, yoga works for him…!]

cautions/contraindications:
may aggravate sciatica in some individuals—try elevating the hips so that they are higher than the knees and ensure that the pelvis is not in a posterior tilt
may be uncomfortable for the ankles. if this is the case, practitioners may wish to place a thin layer of cushion under same.

joints affected:
hips and lower spine

meridians affected:
gall bladder & urinary bladder and, to a slightly lesser extent, kidney, liver, spleen (the latter which also has an impact on the stomach meridian).

suggested hold time:
may be held for three to five minutes, or much longer, if desired.

song that most comes to mind while in the posture:
ok, not the most original choice, but an amazing aria nonetheless: “un bel di vedremo,” from puccini’s madama butterfly (libretto by luigi illica & giuseppe giacosa)

cult movie that i most want to view after holding the posture:
“the collector” (1965), with terence stamp and samantha eggar. you’ll never again look at lepidopterists in quite the same way after viewing this film!

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asana girl, aka danielle polen, is a tranquil space yoga teacher.

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