Butterfly pose

Step by step

  • From a seated position, bring the soles of your feet together, a comfortable distance away from your pelvis.
  • Fold forward from the hips, allowing your spine to round, placing your hands in front of you.
  • Relax your legs and spine and allow gravity to work with your body weight.
  • Hold for 3 to 5 minutes. Eventually this pose can be held up to 20 minutes.
  • To come out of the pose, use your hands to push the floor away and allow your spine to slowly unroll.
  • Use your hands to bring your knees towards each other.
  • Place your arms behind you and lean back to release your hips, and straighten your legs.
  • Allow your body to settle in this seated position, before moving to a counter pose.

Beginners tips

  • You may want to sit on a folded blanket or a pillow to facilitate the folding forward action.
  • You could support your knees / thighs with blocks if the sensation is too strong in the thighs or groin.
  • If this pose is too intense for you, you might want to try a Reclined Butterfly variation.

 

Benefits

  • Stretches the spine, inner thighs and hamstrings.
  • Increases hip mobility.
  • Beneficial for menstrual pains.
  • Stimulates kidneys, ovaries, adrenal and prostate glands.
  • Stimulates the Urinary Bladder meridian along the spine.
  • Stimulates the Kidney and Liver meridians if a stretch is felt along the inner thighs.
  • Stimulates the Gall Bladder meridian if a stretch is felt along the hips. 

Watch out for

  • Can aggravate Sciatica
  • In case of lower back injuries, explore the Reclined Butterfly version

Variations

  • Adjust the position of your legs to allow your spine to fold forward: you might want to bring your feet closer to your pelvis or even separate your feet a few centimetres apart from each other.
  • Support your head with your fists or a block in case of neck issues.
  • Support your chest with a bolster placed across your thighs.
  • Support your chest and head by placing a bolster on your feet, towards your pelvis and elevate the furthest part of the bolster with blocks.
  • Place folded blankets or blocks under your knees if the groin or hips are tight.
  • If you are very comfortable in this pose, a wheat-filled bolster or sandbag could be placed along the spine and/or on the thighs (never on the knees).
  • Try Butterfly at the wall: lie with your hips against the wall, legs up. Bend the knee, placing the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to open up to the sides.

Alternative pose

  • Reclined Butterfly

Counter poses

  • Reversed Tabletop
  • Windshield Wipers