The summer time is supposed to be about easy living, yet for some it can be exhausting. We can find ourselves overwhelmed by all the activity; family vacations, weekend getaways, community gatherings, outdoor sports, barbeques and more. Even though these are fun, it is so important to stop, breathe, and recharge our batteries so that we don’t get depleted.
A good way to unwind, nourish yourself and re-charge can be as easy as doing this classic restorative, heart-opening yoga pose referred to as ‘Sleeping Butterfly’. You may have noticed these beautiful creatures this summer, and in this pose we can imitate their free, open and tranquil nature. Try it yourself or with your family!
Sleeping Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
For maximum comfort in this pose, you will need three pillows. Start seated on the floor in a quiet space. Position a nearby pillow vertically behind you, so that it is the length of the torso, and in line with the spine and head. Once the pillow has been set, place both palms on the ground next to the hips. Bend the knees and place both feet together flat on the ground. Slide the heels in close to the groin. Keep the core engaged as you gently roll the spine down on top of the pillow and settle in. Take a few deep breaths here and slowly bring the soles of the feet together into Butterfly pose, let the knees surrender to gravity and fall out to the sides. Place the remaining two pillows underneath each bent knee for more support. To deeply settle into the pose, allow the head and neck to be heavy on the pillow supporting you. Let the shoulders and arms cascade down and out from the spine and spread the arms out on the ground at a comfortable angle. Let the palms and elbows face up, and externally rotate the upper arms to flatten the shoulder blades and create a beautiful opening in the chest. Allow the pelvis and knees to relax fully, avoiding temptation to drive the knees down, and instead focusing on the opening of the hips and creating heavy releases of weight into the pillows underneath your knees. Allow the eyes to close, take long deep breaths staying here, supported, for 2-5 minutes.
This pose relaxes the mind and the central nervous system. It can not only relieve symptoms of stress, but also depression, PMS and menopause. It opens the heart, stimulates the abdominal organs, and improves mobility in digestion. Butterfly pose frees energy flow in your pelvic area, nourishes the root chakra, and stretches your inner thigh and groin muscles.
Do not hold this pose for long if you have lower back pain or any groin or knee injury. To exit the posture, draw the arms in towards the body and use the hands to guide the legs back together. Lift the feet and circle the knees here in both directions a few times to bring awareness back to the legs and pelvis. Hug the knees into the chest and gently rock from side to side a few times. Engage the core pushing the lower back into the cushion as you draw yourself up to a seated pose. Plant the feet on the ground, and slowly roll up to stand. Notice how you feel in this moment and commit to doing this pose again whenever you need to unwind and re-charge.
Top Photograph by: Nicholas A. Tonelli