Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana – How To Do, Benefits

By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana is a pose variation of Paschimottanasana. It is a forward bend with one foot in half lotus. This is an intense forward bend which opens up hips and knees and stretches hamstrings and spine. It gives a powerful stretch to muscles and spine and also activates liver and spleen. This happens because heel presses against the abdomen in this pose, thus stimulating the liver and spleen. This pose opens up the hips and knees and also gives a good stretch to the spine. The circulation to the pelvis and abdomen increases and the abdominal organs are toned up.

It is also called as

Meaning

Ardha = half
Baddha = bound, interwoven
Padma = lotus
Paschima = west, back of the body
Uttana = extended, intense stretch
Asana = pose

Preparation for Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana

  • Seated half bound lotus pose is practiced early morning for empty stomach.
  • If it is practiced at other times of the day you need to take food 3-4 hours early so the stomach will be empty by the time you do the pose.
  • Keep bowel and bladder empty by the time you do the pose.
    Read – Health Benefits Of Yoga: Mind And Body

Method of doing

Positioning for the Asana

Start by sitting in Dandasana, the staff pose. Legs are extended as you keep spine and head straight and erect. Hands are placed by the sides of body with palms resting on the floor. Toes are pointing inwards. Shoulders should be kept square and are pointing forwards.

Performing and getting to the Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana

Bend right leg while keeping left leg extended.

Lift and place right foot right on top of the upper part of left thigh as in lotus position. Now you are in half lotus pose. The heel has now moved towards navel. As you do this right knee placed on the floor gradually moves towards left knee which is extended. Try to turn right sole upwards.

Now take right hand around your back and try to hold right toe. You may also clasp right foot. At the same time try getting right knee as closer to the floor as possible. You may place a block underneath right bent knee if you cannot reach the floor. The left knee should be straight and should not be rotated externally. The left knee and the toes should be pointing forwards. Inhale.
Raise your left arm up.
As you exhale fold forwards and come down such that forehead touches left knee or shin as you clasp left foot with left hand. Be here for 5 deep breaths.
Release from the pose.

Release

  • Inhale as you release left foot and raise left hand up.
  • With exhale bring left hand down.
  • Next release right foot and bring right hand forward, beside the body.
  • Next release right foot off left thigh.
  • Extend right leg.
  • Come back to the staff pose. Relax here and breathe freely.
  • Repeat the same steps on the opposite side.

Variation (for those who cannot do the full pose and those who do not have flexible hips)

  • Sit in Dandasana
  • Stretch left leg.
  • Bend right leg and cross it over left leg and place it over left upper thigh.
  • Keep a folded blanket or block beneath right knee.
  • Inhale.
  • Raise both arms up.
  • Exhale.
  • Bend forward.
  • Hold left foot with both hands or place them beside left foot. Make sure to keep shoulders square.
  • Be here for 5 breaths.
  • Inhale as you rise up lifting both arms off left foot simultaneously.
  • Exhale and bring arms down.
  • Extend left leg.
  • Breathe easily and relax.
  • Repeat the same steps on the opposite side.

Note – You need to practice this regularly until you gain good flexibility at hips and to take the full bend. This will help you to go into the full pose (as explained earlier).
Read – Ardha Padmasana – Half Lotus Pose, How To Do, Benefits, Dosha Effects

Modification

  • Place a folded blanket or a yoga block beneath knee if you cannot reach knees to the floor or if knee is higher than the hips.
  • Use a strap around foot if you cannot reach the foot with hands.
  • By stimulating the liver and spleen the pose controls digestion of fats and metabolism as governed by liver and helps in purifying blood and strengthening immune system which is the function of spleen.

Watch this video to follow the method of doing Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuVSZhQ4cR0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVUVV0B6c-g

Health Benefits

  • Stretches and tones up the hamstrings and calf muscles
  • Opens up the chest and shoulder
  • Stretches spine
  • Opens up hips and knees, increases their flexibility
  • Stretches the shoulder joints
  • Stretches the back muscles
  • Strengthens, stretches and tones up the muscles of the lower and middle back, hips, knees and neck, biceps and triceps, hamstrings and psoas
  • Stimulates liver and spleen and enhances their functioning capacity
  • Stimulates kidneys, ovaries and uterus
  • Relieves gastric problems and constipation
  • Stimulates peristalsis
  • Calms the mind and nervous system
  • Increases blood circulation to the spinal nerves
  • Beneficial for those suffering from high blood pressure and insomnia
  • Relieves menopause symptoms
  • Enables weight loss

Preparatory Poses

  • Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
  • Bharadvajasana II – Bharadvajasana II Pose
  • Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
  • Svastikasana – Auspicious Pose / Well Being Pose / Cross Pose
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle Pose
  • Virabhadrasana II – Warrior II Pose

Follow Up Poses

  • Ardha Padmasana – Half Lotus Pose

Counter Poses

  • Purvottanasana – Reverse Plank
  • Ardha Purvottanasana – Reverse Table Top Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana – One Leg Folded Forward Bend
  • Purvottanasana – East Stretch Posture

Related Poses

  • Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-Knee Forward Bend
  • Padmasana – Lotus Pose
  • Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Bend

Build Up Poses

Time spent doing Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana?

One needs to be in this pose for at least 4-5 deep breaths or for a time period of 30-60 seconds. The same time should be spent while the pose is done on the opposite side.

Impact on Chakras

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana is a grounding pose and hence balances and activates the Muladhara Chakra and energizes the body. It activates the Solar Plexus i.e. Manipura Chakra and hence tones up the functions of the digestive system.

Contraindications, Precautions

Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana –

  • Low back injury
  • Lumbar disc herniation
  • Diarrhea
  • Asthma

Precautions

Approach carefully or with guidance to this pose if you have knee problems since it involves with bending your knees for doing half lotus on both sides.

Don’t push knee too down towards the floor if you cannot do it as it may twist or injure knee causing pain.

Impact on doshas and tissues

Impact on Doshas and its subtypes – Since the pose activates the digestive system and also the Solar Plexus related to the balance of digestive functions and also enhances the functioning of liver and spleen, it is good for balancing pachaka pitta, ranjaka pitta and samana vata. Since it also balances the root chakra, stimulates kidneys, ovaries and uterus and relieves constipation and improves peristalsis and relieves menopause symptoms, the pose balances functions of apana vata. It is also good for prana vata, tarpaka kapha and vyana vata functions due to its calming effect on the mind and nervous system and the pose being a good remedy for hypertension and insomnia.

Impact on tissues – This pose strengthens and stretches muscles and also improves flexibility. Therefore it has a good role in keeping up the health of muscle tissue and the channels related to transportation of muscles. Since it also helps in weight loss and depletes fat, it is good for balance of fat tissue and also for the channels of transportation of fat tissue.

Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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