Pose of the Month: Cobblers Pose

Baddha Konasana

From the football field and gymnastics mat to the tennis courts and dance studios this pose has been done by most.  In sports, it is fondly known as the butterfly stretch.  This pose is useful for every sport as well as recreational athletes and should become a part of every workout warm up or cool down.

How to: Cobblers Pose

Start seated on a stable even surface, no matter what your level of expertise is in this pose, fold a blanket or towel and sit up on it.  This makes your hips higher than your heels and gives you ease in the pose with less force.  With your hips propped up you will have a slight feeling of going downhill in the pose.

Bend your knees and bring your feet together.  Take some time to perfectly align yourself. Take the bottoms of your feet and gently press them together.

Hold on to your lower leg or foot.  Do not hold your toes, unless you are very flexible or familiar with the pose.  When you grab the toes, you tend to pull your ankle and foot out of alignment, which can stress the knee and encourage an improper stretch.  Begin to let your knees drop down.  Position your heels as close to your body as you can without strain on the knees.

You can hold here, focusing on your breathing and a tall straight back, you can begin to fold forward.  If you fold over, use your elbows on the inside of your legs to help encourage the knees to drop down further, NEVER FORCE, OR BOUNCE. Take it slow. Fold with a flat back having the feeling that your chest would touch the floor before your forehead would.

Benefits of Cobblers Pose

  • Stimulates abdominal organs, ovaries and prostate gland, bladder, and kidneys
  • Stimulates the heart and improves general circulation
  • Stretches the inner thighs, groins, and knees
  • Helps relieve fatigue
  • Soothes menstrual discomfort and sciatica
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Therapeutic for flat feet
  • Consistent practice of this pose until late into pregnancy is said to help ease childbirth.

For the lay person or the Yogi, this pose is great to add to the warm up or cool down of your workout.  Cobblers Pose also helps tone and strengthen the thighs, which can help you improve your yoga game, or if you do not practice yoga strong legs are useful for many of life's daily activities.  The more you practice this pose with a strong tall back the more you can improve your breathing and reduce daily anxiety too.

For the athlete, cobblers pose is amazing for releasing tight groin inner thigh pre or post game.  Taking time to open the hips in all directions is a sure way to reduce the stress and strain on the vulnerable knee joints, So Cobbler away.  This pose is a perfect way for you to observe which hip, groin side is tighter on you, therefore giving you clues to go ahead and work on the tight side a little more.  So observe which knee is higher, if any, and that is the tighter groin hip side.  As mentioned before, this pose is utilized and effective for anybody from soccer players to hockey players, who are always on unstable surfaces, to the agile tennis great and fluid breast stroke swimmer.  A must do for all athletes.

Although you should always consult your physician and research a properly trained teacher before starting a yoga practice, there are a few instances where you should avoid this pose entirely:

  • Recent back surgery
  • Groin or knee injury: (Only perform this pose with blanket support under the outer thighs.)
Have fun exploring this pose and learning about your body!
Gwen Lawrence has been a practicing fitness professional since 1990. Her current practice includes private yoga training, class instruction and her sport-specific Power Yoga for Sports training program www.poweryogaforsports.com. Gwen's unique combination of dance, massage and yoga training experience, coupled with her extensive knowledge of anatomy, nutrition and homeopathy, provide her clients, class participants and athletes with overwhelming benefits. Gwen is the yoga instructor for several New York Yankees baseball players, team yoga instructor for the New York Giants, New York Knicks, New York Red Bulls, and the Pace University baseball team; as well as many youth teams in a variety of sports. She is also the official spokesperson for AFRIN PureSea. Visit her website at www.poweryogaforsports.com

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