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Ardha Baddha Konasana- Half-Butterfly Pose- Practice, Benefits and Contraindications

Common Name(s)Half Butterfly Pose in English, Ardha Baddha Konasana in Sanskrit
MeridiansUrinary Bladder
ChakrasSolar Plexus (Manipura Chakra), Sacral Chakra (Swadisthana Chakra) and Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra)
ElementsWater , Earth and Fire

Half-butterfly pose, also called the ‘Ardha Baddha Konasana’ or ‘Ardha Titli’ pose, is a pose done in sitting position and involves forward bend and stretch. It is a variant of the The full Butterfly Pose or the Baddha Konasana which has been described in detail is a separate article. 

The half butterfly pose is considered a pre-yoga pose for Badda Konasana Uttanasana. In this pose, one of the legs is spread out away from the groin which stretches the hamstrings while the other one remains closed on the groin. Then forward bending is done with hands stretched out. 

Half-butterfly pose affects the Urinary Bladder meridian. Due to compression introduced by forward bend, it stimulates and massages the kidneys and liver, improving their function. It also activates the chakras which are energy centers of the body. The three chakras affected by it are Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra), Sacral Chakra (Swadisthana Chakra) and Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra). If there are energy imbalances, these are taken care of by this yoga pose. 

This yoga pose is also helpful to balance kapha and pitha doshas of body. Overall, it influences the Earth, Water and Fire elements of the body and brings wellness. 

Contraindications of Half-butterfly Pose

This pose should be performed with certain precautions so that there are no issues. 

1/5. People suffering from Sciatica problem should avoid this pose. The hips need to be elevated with proper cushioning if you have sciatica.

2/5. For people having problem of lower back, the spine should be kept straight.

3/5. In case of any problem with neck, whether whiplash or stiffness, do not drop it while bending forward.

4/5. Do notice for pain in knee while stretching out the leg. If it is acute, you shall try to tighten the thighs or get into a comfortable position by adjusting a little and reducing the level of stretch. If the hamstring is problematic, you can place some support or even bend the knee.

5/5. If the leg, which is close to groin, is not comfortable you can make adjustments and place the cushion below the knee or move toe away from the groin to some extent which relaxes the muscles.

The objective of adjustments in the postures of this asana is to allow gradual attainment of the right pose.

Steps in practice of Half-Butterfly Asana

1/4. Sit down on the floor either in ‘Sukhasana’ or with legs forward.

2/4. One leg shall be bent at knee and its toe shall be moved to the groin. The other leg shall be straight and kept wide apart in forward position.

3/4. Bend your back and try to touch the toe of the leg which is straight. If there is difficulty in bending, use a bolster beneath the knee and lift the knee a little. People who have good flexibility can even try and touch the nose on the knee. 

Another variation at this step is that instead of touching the toe of the feet which is kept straight, you can simply bend the spine forward right in front and stretch out the arms ahead to the extent possible. More variations are discussed below.

4/4. Repeat same steps with the other leg being forward and by bending or rotating the spine outwards to touch the toe with both hands.

Alternatives to the Ardha Baddha Konasana Pose

There are certain variations or alternatives to this pose. One of the important ones is discussed below.

Instead of bending the spine straight to touch the toe of straightened leg, you can turn the spine to let stomach face the ceiling and take one arm over the head to touch the toe.

The heel and toe of other leg can remain close to the groin. Alternatively, you can take this other leg behind the hip in Vajrasana position.

Time period to hold the posture

Generally, 3 to 5 minutes is the ideal time period for this asana. You can cut this time period short depending on your comfortable level.

How to get back To normal?

You can come out of the half butterfly pose by placing the hand on floor for balancing, slowly rolling up the arms and straightening the back. On sitting straight, simply use the push of hand on floor to adjust the hips and release the tension. Straighten both the legs. 

Counter poses

Since you have bent forward to complete the asana, it is time for a gentle back bend as a counter pose. You can even be in Windshield Wipers pose which is also a relaxing pose.  

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