This week we will remain seated. Butterfly Pose presents options for static (still) or dynamic (moving) stretches of the groin and inner thighs. While seated, students may opt to relax or flutter their wings (legs) or use a combination of both. Adding a forward bend allows for a gentle stretch of the lower back in a restful position and draws focus inward.
Note to teachers: This posture is often more challenging for adults than for children, as we tend to lose mobility with age. See the modifications below if you need support for this position.
Benefits of Butterfly Pose:
- Releases lower back tension
- Stretches groin and inner thighs
- Opens hips
- Encourages mind-body awareness
- Invites calm
- Pairs well with a mindful breathing practice
Butterfly pose is a stress reliever. This position also offers the chance for a nice lower back stretch without requiring loose hamstrings. Incorporating specific mindfulness practices to anchor attention empowers students with additional, readily available tools for self-regulation.
Suggested script for mindful breathing.
Our thoughts naturally want to float from place to place which is ok much of the time. But sometimes, this can make us feel overwhelmed or distracted. It is important to practice keeping our attention in the present moment, so we can have a strategy for holding ourselves when we need to focus or relax. We are learning about mindful breathing with our yoga poses, but you can use this breathing practice anytime, anywhere. We learned about anchors when we tried Easy Pose. We will use these again as we try Butterfly Pose. Let’s review each of the anchors together. You can then use the one that works best for you today as we relax into our butterfly position.
REVIEW: WTN Mindfulness Practice – Drop Your Anchor
The Nose – Bring your attention to the tip of your nose where the air comes in and out. Use this place and the feeling of your breath in your nose as an anchor for X seconds.
The Belly – Bring your attention to your belly and notice how it moves as you breathe. Focus on the movement of your belly as an anchor for X seconds.
Words – Say these words in your mind to match your breath. Repeat “IN” when air comes into your body. Repeat “OUT” as air moves out of your body. Do this for X seconds.
Counting – Count to yourself. Start with 1 when you breathe in, and 2 as you breathe out. When you get to 10, start again at 1. Repeat this pattern until you hear the bell.
Butterfly Pose Instructions:
- Bring your body into a seated, “L” shaped position (legs out straight in front of you).
- Sandwich the bottoms of your feet together and use your hands to bring your feet toward your body until you feel a gentle stretch in your inner thighs.
- Rock side to side on your sit bones and come to center, spreading your weight evenly through your bottom.
- Place your hands around your feet. (Interlace the fingers and cup toes if comfortable.)
- Let your knees relax toward the floor, but do not force them lower. Move your feet closer to or further from your body to find the gentle stretch that is right for you today.
- Hold this position or gently flutter by moving your legs (knees bent) up and down like wings.
- Take three deep breaths.
- Relax your breath and hold this position for X seconds. Close your eyes or use a focal point and repeat part or all of the following as you breathe:
FOCUSED, LISTENING, OPEN, AWARE, THANKFUL
-OR- Use any of the anchors to keep your attention from floating away from the breath.
Continue with OPTIONAL FORWARD BEND:
- Stay in butterfly position with your legs.
- Bend from your hips and bring your torso towards your legs.
SAFETY TIP: Allow your back to curve naturally. Don’t force your body downward. To keep your airway open, don’t tuck your chin.
- Pull your attention inward and focus on your breathing. Hold here for X seconds.
- Continue to use any of the anchors to keep your attention from floating away from the breath.
To come out of this pose:
- Return slowly to a seated butterfly position.
- Place hands under your knees and press your knees together in front of your body gently.
- Wrap your arms around your knees/shins and hug your legs to your chest. Take a deep breath and release.
Modifications: Sit on a pillow or folded a blanket/towel to raise the hips and make this position more accessible and comfortable given physical tightness. You may also place supports under the knees.
Use the button below to download the mini poster for Butterfly Pose.
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