Each luminous, colourful butterfly was once a caterpillar. Not born with wings that could take it to great heights, the former ground-crawler had to be reborn to see the world in a whole new way and experience newfound freedom. In many ways, the spiritual path is like this. As one of my favorite children’s books, “Hope For The Flowers” by Trina Paulus, reminds us, we can too easily find ourselves stuck in the hum-drum of living, crawling along the ground and forgetting that a butterfly waits to be born within us.
In India, cobblers traditionally sat to repair shoes in Butterfly pose, also known as Bound Angle Pose or Baddhakonasana in Sanskrit (baddha/bound kona/angle). Likely due to its ability to open the flow of life-force energy through the kidneys, sexual and digestive organs, groin and prostate, it was noted that often these workers did not suffer from such diseases.
Safe for most anyone who does not suffer from severe knee, groin or hip injuries, this simple yoga pose will provide you with an opportunity to gently go within while deepening a rooted sense of connection to the Earth. As your spine spills over your hips and you release your forehead towards the ground, your overheated thinking mind eases into surrender to the cooling compassionate Earth. It is a panacea for those suffering from menstrual disorders and of great benefit for any expectant mother, even late in pregnancy.
As you practice, remember to focus on your breath. Allow the life-force that exists there within to move into your cells and tissue. Give yourself to it. The thought may arise to want more flexibility, to go further in the pose. Avoid this as it will only lead to pain. Allow your body to gently open like a flower, in a rhythm and pace that it dictates. Through the spacious quality of your breath, possibilities will arise. Make room for such as you allow yourself to relax, while focusing on the in and out flow of your breath that carries life-force energy.
Please remember that this YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine exercise series is designed to build one exercise upon the next to be of most benefit to you. Before starting the butterfly exercise, please do Savasana and The Breathing Wave first to cultivate awareness of life-force energy moving through your body/being.
Find a quiet and relaxed environment where you can lie on the floor on a towel or yoga mat.
Begin with Savasana, bringing your breath awareness from the crown of your head through your body and down into your toes. Feel your whole body breathing.
Then bend your knees, feet flat on the floor, hip width apart, and practice The Breathing Wave.
Once you sense ease through your spine, roll onto your right side, and scoop yourself up into a sitting position. Place the soles of your feet together and allow your knees to part. Place your thumbs on the soles of your feet, palms over the tops, as you open your feet up like a book, which assists in the rotation of your hips. Rest your elbows on your knees.
Begin by sitting tall. With your shoulders and hips relaxed, feel the crown of your head float up to the sky as your tailbone releases to the ground. Breathe in and draw energy down your spine. Exhale, allow the feeling of two-way moving energy to continue down through your feet, and also rebound back up your spine and out through your head.
On the next exhale, gently start to roll forward, head first, rolling through your neck, down your spine. When you have reached your limit, rest there for a few breaths.
Breathe in, draw energy down your spine. Exhale, feel the energy move in two directions. Allow your hips to release. Imagine ease and space between each of your vertebrae. Feel the breath move through every part of your body.
Should a particular part of your body feel tight, bring more breath awareness there.
Only stay in the pose for as long as you feel comfortable. Do 80% your maximum, and allow a lot of room to breathe.
When you feel you have had enough, gently roll back up vertebra by vertebra, initiating movement from your tailbone. Allow each vertebra to stack one on top of the other. Let your chin and head be the last to rise.
Gently close your knees and hug your knees into your chest. Breathe in, draw energy into the spine through the crown of your head. Exhale, two-way moving energy.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine and an internationally recognized Canadian musician, yogi and new thought leader. As a chart-topping touring musician, Parvati spearheads the Post New-Age musical genre with her independent success hit single “Yoga in the Nightclub”. She founded YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine, a powerful yoga method that combines energy work and yoga poses. Her debut self-help book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie – A Revolutionary Life Makeover for the Sincere Spiritual Seeker” is forthcoming in 2016.