Baddha Konasana (Bound Side Angle) and its many variations are a mainstay of my personal practice and a frequent feature in my classes. This posture has loosened my low back, lengthened my adductors, and opened my hips for the practice of Padmasana (Lotus Pose).
Also known as Cobbler's Pose because it depicts the manner in which Indian cobbler's sit, Baddha Konasana is said to eliminate and prevent diseases of the urinary tract and reproductive organs. Regular practice may also bring relief from sciatic pain and prevent hernia.
Baddha Konasana stretches the quadriceps and inner thighs as it contracts the deep external rotators of the hip. In forward bending variations of the pose, the quadratus lumborum and piriformis are given a deep release, while in the upright variation shown above, the rectus abdominis, spinal extensors, and quadratus lumborum work in careful coordination to maintain the natural curve of the spine against a strong temptation to round the low back.
In the practice of this posture, use your hands to turn the soles of the feet up as you engage your glutes to pull the knees toward the floor. With your hands connected to your feet and the arms held straight, engage the muscles of the back to draw your shoulders back and down. This action creates a pull on the feet encouraging greater external rotation of the legs and a deeper expression of the posture.