Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana – How To Do, Health Benefits

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

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana is a one legged standing forward bend while keeping the other leg in the lotus position. It is a good combination of half lotus and a standing forward bend. It is an advanced level yoga pose performed in standing position. It involves forward-bend, stretch, inversion and balance. It makes hamstrings, hips and thighs more flexible.

Other names –

Meaning

Ardha = half
Baddha = bound
Padma = lotus
Uttana = extended
Asana = pose 

Preparation for Ardha Badha Padmottanasana

  • This pose should be performed early morning for empty stomach.
  • Stomach is naturally empty early in the morning and is thus convenient to do it at that time.
  • If the pose is done at any other time of the day, the practitioner should take food 3-4 hours before taking on to the pose.
  • While starting the pose, the bowel and bladder should be empty.
    Read – Health Benefits Of Yoga: Mind And Body

Method of doing

Positioning for the Asana

Stand straight keeping spine erect in Tadasana – Mountain Pose. Arms relaxed on either sides of body.

Performing Ardha Baddha Padmotanasana

  • Inhale.
  • Gradually lift right leg. Place it on left thigh as high as possible, to the level of left groin or even little higher. Right sole facing the ceiling. Right leg is in half lotus position. Make sure you have balanced yourself totally here. You can hold right foot with left hand if you feel out of balance or if right leg is slipping off left groin.
  • Now wrap right hand around back and reach right toe of right foot placed at left groin. Hold the big toe of right leg with right hand.
  • While maintaining the pose and creating a balance, inhale and exhale for few times.
  • Exhale.
  • Bend body from waist / lower back slowly as you exhale. You should take care not to bend from middle back. Torso should be straight.
  • As you bend down try reaching the ground with the help of left hand. Gradually place left hand on the ground near and beside the outer border of left foot.
  • Stay in this position. Take 5-10 breathes deeply and be there for at least 30-60 seconds.
  • Try to keep back and left leg straight while you are in the pose. Head tilted downwards, crown facing the floor.

Release from the pose

  • Gradually release from the bend and come back to the standing position slowly lifting up torso and left hand.
  • Release right big toe from the clasp of right hand.
  • Unwind right hand and bring it by the side of body as you gradually release right foot from left groin and bring it back to the floor.
  • Stand with back straight and feet closer and finish with Dandasana.
  • Breathe easily in this position and relax.
  • Now repeat the same steps on opposite side.
    Read – Yoga Darshana: Introduction, History, Definition, Shat Karma, Benefits

Modifications

If you cannot put leg high on thigh, place it wherever you are comfortable placing it. Do not push leg beyond capacity.

If you cannot reach right toe with right hand wound around back, just place right hand behind back, to whatever point it can reach.

You can use a block in front / beside you to reach it as you bend forward if body is not flexible enough to take to the necessary bend so as to reach the floor. Don’t bend too much beyond what you can stretch. You might not be able to bend totally to the floor if hamstrings and hips are tight. The block will help you in supporting and balancing body.

If you cannot find balance as you try to bend forward by holding right toe with right hand, bring both hands down with the bend and place them on the floor. You can practice this pose by doing this initially until you find balance to bring one hand down and keep one hand entwined behind your back to hold the toe of the crossed leg. Alternatively after getting a balance here after the bend, you may curl right hand around back and then hold right toe (and same with opposite side). The release too should be accordingly, in a reverse way of how you have got into the pose.

You may also balance this pose by placing back against a wall. Stand with back of heels, sacrum and shoulder blades touching the wall.
Read – Sarvangasana – Shoulder Stand Pose, Method, Benefits, Dosha Effect

Watch this video to follow the method of doing Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EdKBU2EIc8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFn25KspQmE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FucFRuQtG6M

Health Benefits

  • Improves strength and body flexibility
  • Opens up the chest and shoulder muscles
  • Strengthens and tones up leg muscles
  • Relieves stiffness in hips and knees
  • Benefits the muscles of lower back, hamstrings, hips and neck and can hence be included in poses or sequences wherein these muscles are involved
  • Improves balance and posture
  • Removes extra fat accumulated in the body
  • Improves the functioning of respiratory system
  • Stimulates liver and spleen, massages abdomen and improves the digestion
  • Improves the power of concentration and enables to focus in a better way
  • Calms your mind, reduces stress and anxiety
    Read – Anxiety Tips, Ayurvedic Treatment, Herbs, Home Remedies

Preparatory Poses

  • Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana – Extended Hand-to-Toe Pose
  • Parsvottanasana – Intense Side Stretch Pose
  • Parita Padottanasana – Wide Legged Forward Bend
  • Parivrttha Parsvakonasana – Revolved Side Angled Pose
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended angle pose

Follow Up Poses

  • Dandasana – Staff Pose
  • Virabhadrasana 1 – Warrior Pose 1
  • Virabhadrasana 2 – Warrior Pose 2
  • Utkatasana – Chair Pose

Time spent doing Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana

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.
Read – Upavistha Konasana – How to do, Health Benefits, Precautions

Impact on Chakras

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana activates, energizes and balances the Sahasrara Chakra i.e. Crown Chakra, Ajna Chakra i.e. Third Eye Chakra and Manipura Chakra i.e. Navel Chakra.

Contraindications, Precautions

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

  • Knee injury
  • Lower back injury
  • Hamstring injury

Caution

Check with your doctor or expert Yoga teacher if you have knee pain or arthritis. Perform the pose under guidance if need be.

Impact on doshas and tissues

Impact on Doshas and its subtypes – Since the pose improves the digestion process and stimulates the liver and spleen, it is beneficial in balancing pitta, mainly pachaka and ranjaka pitta. It also balances samana vata and kledaka kapha in relation to pachaka pitta. This is further justified by the role of this pose in balancing the solar plexus. Since it opens up your chest muscles and improves functioning of the respiratory system, the pose balances udana vata and avalambaka kapha. Since the pose also improves your concentration and focus, calms your mind and relieves your stress and anxiety, and also since this pose has a calming and balancing effect on the crown and third eye chakras, it balances the functions of prana vata, sadhaka pitta and tarpaka kapha.

Impact on tissues – Since this pose strengthens and stretches muscles and also improves flexibility, 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 depleting excessive fat stores from the body, it is good for balance of fat tissue in the body and also for the channels of transportation of fat tissue.

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

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