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Butterfly Pose

Butterfly Pose

Reclined butterfly pose is my go-to pose in my own yin yoga practice and also with my students! This pose can be made accessible with the use of props and the variety of variations make it a top choice for students to practice using their intuition. I recommend using this yin pose to begin a practice or end, right before Savasana.

Get into Butterfly Pose Step-by-Step

  1. Sit on your mat and draw the soles of your feet together so that your legs create a diamond shape.
  2. Let your heels move away from your groin for more of a relaxed stretch in your inner thighs.
  3. Round your spine forward and let your head drop towards your feet.
  4. Your hands may hold onto your ankles or release in front of you.


  • Physical: A great stretch for outer hips, inner thighs, and hamstrings. Releases and decompresses the lower back. Can be beneficial for menstrual pain or urinary problems.
  • Energetic: This pose stimulates the Liver and Gallbladder meridians (outside of legs) and also the Urinary Bladder lines (low back). If your feet are kept closer to your groin it will also engage the Kidney and Liver meridians of the inner thighs.
  • Emotional & Mental: This is an ideal pose for relaxation and to focus your attention inward as it activates the sacral and third eye chakras. The heart chakra is also opened when in a reclined variation.


  • May irritate sciatica. Lift the sit bones by sitting on a block or folded blanket or skip this pose.
  • Avoid neck pain by keeping the head elevated with the help of a block under the forehead.
  • An ideal pose for pre and post-natal students.


  • A block or stacked fists may be used under the head and on top of the feet for additional support.
  • A bolster may be used between the torso and thighs.
  • Hands may rest where is comfortable. On the ankles or feet, arms may extend out with palms facing up (for more of a receiving gesture) or down (for more of a grounding gesture).
Butterfly with a block under the head

Reclined Butterfly

  1. From sitting on your mat, draw the soles of your feet to touch to create a wide diamond shape with your legs.
  2. Place blocks under your knees or thighs if there is any tension or tightness in hips or knees. This will grow over time in this pose.
  3. Option: Set a bolster or rolled blanket at the base of your spine and lean back onto the prop or directly onto the mat. Using a prop under the length of your spine will add a heart opener.
  4. Let your arms drape wide to the sides.
Reclined butterfly with a bolster

Butterfly Up the Wall

  1. Draw your sit bones to the edge of a wall.
  2. Lay back as your legs move up the wall.
  3. Soles of feet come to touch as your knees bend out to either side to create a diamond shape.

Get Out of the Pose

Traditional Butterfly

  1. Remove any props from under the head.
  2. Place your hands on the ground in front of your feet and slowly lift your upper body up with the help of your hands.
  3. Keep your chin in towards your chest. Bring your head up last.

Reclined Butterfly

  1. Bring your hands to the outside of your thighs. Gently help your legs to touch.
  2. Roll off of your prop to either side.
  3. Come to lay back down on your mat or rest in fetal position, knees into chest.

Butterfly Up the Wall

  1. Gently draw your thighs together and then knees into your chest.
  2. Roll over to either side to land in fetal position.

Counter Poses

  • Windshield wipers.
  • Reverse table.

How Long to Hold Butterfly?

  • Any variation can be held 3-5 minutes.
  • Reclined butterfly and up the wall butterfly are better suited for 5 minutes as they are typically less intense for students than a forward fold.

Practice Butterfly Pose in a Class

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