By Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
In Ardha Padmasana, the practitioner assumes the shape half that of padmasana i.e. lotus pose and hence the name.
Ardha – half
Padma – lotus
Asana – pose
It is a cross legged sitting posture. It is a common pose used in meditation, prayers to maintain a proper breathing. People who cannot do lotus pose comfortably can try doing half lotus pose. It is one of the highly recommended breathing exercises.
It is an intermediate variation of the lotus pose. This pose is often used for meditation. It is said to be an effective hip opener.
Read – Padmasana Lotus Pose, How to do, Benefits, Side Effects, Ayurveda View
Preparation for Ardha Padmasana
- Ardha Padmasana shall be done on empty stomach.
- Empty bladder and bowel before doing the asana.
- It is preferably done early morning. If it is not possible to perform during day time, one shall do it in the evening.
- If the pose is taken to at any other time other than morning, one should take food 4-6 hours before doing the asana.
Method of doing
- Sit assuming Sukhasana or easy pose on yoga mat.
- Later come to Dandasana – the staff pose with lower limbs stretched out in front and hands by the side of hips with palms down. The torso forms right angle with lower limbs.
Performing and getting to the Ardha Padmasana
- Draw right leg back bending your knee. Drop your knee down. Let the left leg be stretched.
- Catch the right heel with right hand and right toes with left hand.
- Lift your foot off the floor with both hands and place it on the opposite thigh such that the sole faces the ceiling, heel pointing inside and toes outside. Pull the foot as closer to the left hip line (left groin) as possible.
- Pull back and slide left leg (by bending the left knee) underneath your right leg.
- Adjust your position such that right knee comes closer to the ground.
- Lift the crown of your head towards the ceiling slowly and roll shoulders away from your ears. This will keep the spine long and erect.
- Close your eyes as you come to dhyan or chin mudra. Alternatively your hands can rest on thighs. The palms may be turned up or down.
- Keep breathing pattern normal. Take at least 10 breaths here.
- Keep your spine and neck erect and be aware about this posture as you breathe comfortably. This pose helps to keep body erect for longer time.
Release from the asana
- Slowly open your eyes.
- Release the left leg from underneath your right leg.
- With the help of both your hands, as said above, gradually lift right feet off your left leg and drop it on the ground.
- Straighten your right leg.
- Come back to the staff pose and relax as you breathe easily.
- Practice the same steps with other leg.
Beginners may find trouble doing this pose straight away. They shall sit near a wall in such a way that their back and head is supported by the wall. One may also use blocks and cushions until perfection is attained in the pose.
Watch this video to follow the method of doing Ardha Padmasana
Health Benefits of Ardha Padmasana
- It is an ideal pose from where breath control i.e. pranayama, dharana and dhyana, different kriyas and asanas may be performed.
- Helps to meditate and is a good breathing exercise.
- This pose keeps your body upright while the positions of your legs allow you to be stable, supported and balanced.
- It allows good focus of your mind since it enables you to keep your body still for long time.
- It keeps your spine straight and enables your kundalini energy to rise up. It also cleanses up the blockages from your chakra.
- One can meditate from this pose while working up to lotus pose. Thus, it helps you prepare for lotus pose.
- Gives good stretch and opens up the muscles around your pelvis, hips, knees, legs and ankles, also opens up your hips, knees and ankles
- It provides good flexibility to your gluteal muscles and deep hip rotators
- Stretches the piriformis muscle and helps in easing your sciatica symptoms
- Promotes good posture, keeps the spine straight
- Helps in improving digestion power
- The chest is automatically expanded because of the back being in erect position. This increases the lung capacity.
- Helps those suffering from cardiac diseases, hypertension and diabetes
- Good remedy for pain and discomfort during menstruation
- It enables the practitioner to build up great awareness and mindfulness. This effectively contributes towards comprehensive mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Calms mind and is restorative
- Good remedy for stress and anxiety
- Sukhasana – easy pose
- Gomukhasana – cow head pose
- Titali asana – butterfly pose
- Baddha Konasana – bound angle pose
- Janushirsasana – Head to knee pose
- Ardha Matsyendrasana
Follow up Poses
Modifications and Variations
Use a blanket or two to sit on so as to raise your hips above your knees if your knees are sticking up when you are sitting cross legged. Alternatively, place a folded blanket under your knees.
When your hips start opening up in a better way and in full move on to perform the lotus pose.
Time spent in this pose
Hold in the final pose (after lifting both legs) for about 10-12 breaths and hold for the same quantity of time on the opposite side also.
Impact on Chakras
Ardha Padmasana stimulates and balances the sacral chakra i.e. swadhishtana chakra and also root chakra – muladhara chakra.
By balancing these chakras it also enables awakening of Kundalini energy and enables its free flow.
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Ardha Padmasana –
- Acute or chronic knee or hip injuries
- Inflammatory conditions of knee and hips
- Degenerative disc disorders
- Those who have undergone knee surgery
- If you are not comfortable, don’t force yourself into the pose. Don’t go ahead from easy pose until you are comfortable doing it without straining knees and hips.
- Breathe in and out deeply through nose. This will take you into the much needed meditative state.
- Never do the pose on one side. Don’t forget to practice the pose by switching legs and doing it on both sides. Also spend equal time on both sides.
- You need to have great hip flexibility to do this pose comprehensively. First work out on the flexibility gradually so as to master it.
- If you feel pain while doing this pose, just stop and come out of it.
Read – Effective Ayurvedic Therapies For Low Back Ache
Impact of Ardha Padmasana on doshas and tissues
Impact on Doshas – Ardha Padmasana is mainly said to balance pitta and kapha. Since it balances digestive functions it is good for pachaka pitta and samana vata. It is a good breathing exercise and opens up the lungs; hence it is used to balance udana vata. It calms the mind and wards off stress and anxiety, builds concentration and enables to meditate and is good for emotional and mental wellbeing. Hence it is good for balancing sadhaka pitta, tarpaka kapha and prana vata and also balances their axis. It is good for heart and hence balances sadhaka pitta, avalambhaka kapha and vyana vata functions. It eases the menstrual disorders and pain and hence good for apana vata.
Impact on tissues – Since this half lotus pose stretches and strengthens the muscles and improves the flexibility of the body and joints of the body, it is beneficial for improving and maintaining the muscle health and also for the channels carrying muscle tissue. It is also food for bones and joints and spine.