Passive, supported poses like Supta Baddha Konasana are what are known,in yoga jargon, as "restorative" poses. They allow the body to relax and receive the healing effects of yoga--including quieting the mind and increasing circulation to the organs--without working the muscles.

They are also an excellent way to quiet down and listen to our innerorgans. Undistracted by the need to hold ourselves forcibly in a pose,we can put our full awareness into sensing exactly what we are feelingdeep inside.

Supta Baddha Konasana is especially useful for pregnant women--itgently opens the hips in preparation for childbirth, releases tension in the spine, deepens the breath, and encourages blood flow to the uterus. But anyone can benefit from its healing effects.

To practice this posture, you will need some way of propping yourselfup, such as yoga bolsters or an assortment of firm blankets. Foldseveral blankets so they are about as wide as--and slightly longerthan--your torso (folding them in half, then in thirds, is oftenappropriate). Stack the blankets (and yoga bolster, if you have one) ontop of each other lengthwise. Place another folded blanket crosswise ontop of the log to support your head. If you wish, you can roll two moreblankets into cylinders to support your thighs.

Sit with your back touching one end of the stack of blankets. It shouldreach about as high as the bottom of your back ribs. The edges of theblankets can be staggered slightly (creating a "stair-step" effect) soyou will have a gentle slope to lie back on. Draw the soles of your feet together and let the knees drop out to the side. You can slide therolled blankets at an angle under your thighs to offer additionalsupport [Figure 1]


Now lie back onto the support of the blankets [Figure 2]

. Release yourhands to your sides with the palms facing up. Your breastbone should beelevated higher than your bottom ribs, and your forehead slightly higher than your chin, so you are lying in a gentle arc. (Especially if you are pregnant, you should not be lying flat on your back--you should feel more like you are reclining on a chaise longue.) Make whatever adjustments you need to in your pose. Then relax completely.

Let your face soften, your jaw release, and your eyes close. Let thelayers of tension unravel. Draw your attention inward. Focus especiallyon the feelings in your heart and belly--both physical and emotional.With gentle, spacious attention, allow these feelings to shift and growas big as they want to.

Stay in the pose for 10 to 20 minutes. When you are ready, draw yourknees together and roll gently to one side. Lie there for severalbreaths before pushing yourself up to a seated position.