How To Do Butterfly Pose

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Butterfly pose might look suspiciously like a pose you did in gym class many years ago. While the gym teacher probably didn’t have yoga in mind, he or she did pick a pretty good stretch to teach everyone. Butterfly pose is a pose that encompasses the entire hip area and opens inner thighs, back and hip flexors. You can use it to open up the muscles before exercise, to stretch them after exercise or as a stand-alone stretch to help with tight hips overall. If you’re looking for a great way to open up your legs and hips you should learn how to do butterfly pose.

Next to the hamstrings, the hip area- including hip flexors – is one of the most commonly tight areas for most people, whether active or inactive. In fact, an article in Runner’s World discusses how sitting too much can cause hip flexor problems and hip injuries for runners. When you sit, the angle of the hip causes the hip flexor to be in a tight, shortened position. On the other hand, this can also be a problem area for active people as well. Running, cycling, stair climbers and elliptical machines all pull the hip flexor into that short, tight position on a repetitive basis. Often a tight low back is a result of tight hips or hip flexors as well, so the Butterfly Pose is a good stretch to use as a preventative for a multitude of other issues.


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    How To Do Butterfly Pose

    1) Come to a seated position and bring the soles of your feet together. Keep your spine tall and abs pulled in tight.

    2) Grab hold of each foot with your hands and place elbows against your inner thighs.

    3) Keeping your spine long, inhale to prepare, and as you exhale, slowing lower your torso forward pausing when you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds or more.

    What Muscles Does Butterfly Pose Work?

    Butterfly pose is a stretch for your inner thighs, hip flexors, outer thighs, and entire hip complex. Butterfly pose also stretches the lower back extensors.

    Benefits of Butterfly Pose

    There are many reasons you should incorporate a butterfly pose into your workouts. Here are just a few:

    Stretches Hip Muscles

    Butterfly pose can help relieve hip pain due to tight muscles and connective tissue in the hips.

    Relieves Low Back Pain

    Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints of those visiting their doctor each year in the U.S. Since this is often due to tight muscles in the low back, butterfly pose can help to stretch the lower back muscles to relieve pain.

    Improves Athletic Performance

    Since butterfly pose relieves tight muscles, it helps to improve the movement of the legs and hip used in so many athletic moves such as lunges, squats, running, and cycling motion.

    How Many Calories Does Butterfly Pose Burn?

    People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working at a higher intensity. Bottom line – the harder you work, the more calories you burn.

    Butterfly pose is meant to be a stretch, not a workout, so it doesn’t burn many calories. However, since it helps to improve your performance you’ll be more effective at your range of motion and more able to burn calories in your other endeavors.

    Other Exercises Similar to Butterfly Pose

    If you like butterfly pose and want to try similar stretches for your hips, here are some other options:

    How To Do Lord of Half Fishes

    How To Do Happy Baby Pose

    How To Do Yogi Squat Pose

    Incorporating Butterfly Pose Into Your Workouts

    Butterfly pose is a great exercise to practice any time on its own. However, you could also incorporate it into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

    Use butterfly pose after a lower body workout to relieve tension

    Love it or hate it, leg day works! Working all your lower body muscles can make for one intense training session but also leave you tight and sore. Butterfly pose is built into this leg workout to help you work hard and stretch well.

    Leg And Butt Day Workout: Try each exercise below for the number of repetitions listed with just a few seconds in between to rest.

    10 Basic Squats

    10 Backward Lunges

    10 Surrenders

    10 Walking Lunges

    10 Side Lunges

    Butterfly Pose – Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat.

    Repeat this set one more time.

    Use Butterfly Pose in a Yoga Practice

    Butterfly Pose can be incorporated beautifully into an overall yoga practice for your hips. Try this one out, beginning with a sun salutation

    Mountain Pose
    Forward Fold
    Crescent Lunge
    Up Dog
    Down Dog
    Crescent Lunge
    Forward Fold

    Repeat this series 2-3 times

    Then perform each pose below for a minimum of 30 seconds each.

    Chair Pose with Twist
    Lord of Half Fishes
    Butterfly Pose

    Here are 3 more workouts that incorporate butterfly pose:

    4 Amazing Stretches to Relieve Back Pain

    7 Exercises To Prevent Runners Knee

    Targets: Hip flexors, iinner thigh, outer thigh, hips, lower back

    (This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
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