Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana or Half Bound Seated Lotus Forward Bend Pose is a pose where the entire back of the body is intensively stretched.
Experts believe that regular practice of Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold Pose is particularly useful for improving flexibility of the hip, knee and ankle joints and strengthening the muscles of the back and spine, which are essential for seated meditation.
|Known as:||Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana, Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold Pose, Half Bound Lotus Western Intense Stretch Pose, Half Bound Lotus Seated Forward Bend Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||अर्ध बद्ध पद्मा पश्चिमोत्तानासन|
|IAST:||Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottānāsana|
|Pronunciation:||UHR-duh BUH-duh PUHD-muh puhsh-chi-mo-tahn-AHS-uh-nuh|
|Type:||Sitting, Seated, Forward-bend, Binding Pose, Hip opener|
|Total time:||30 to 60 seconds|
|Drishti:||Toes/feet (padhayoragrai or padayoragre), Nose (nasagrai or nasagre), Third eye, between the eyebrows (bhrumadhye or ajna chakra)|
|Chakra:||Manipura Chakra, Svadhisthana Chakra|
|Indications:||Backache, hip pain, constipation, asthma, exhaustion|
|Counterposes:||Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana, Janu Sirsasana|
|Preparatory poses:||Supta Baddha Konasana, Head-to-knee Pose, Malasana, Cow Pose|
|Follow-up poses:||Ardha Matsyendrasana (Lord of the Fishes Pose)|
|Contraindications:||Kneecap, shoulders, neck, back, hips or ribs injury, herniated disc, migraine, menstruation, pregnant women, high blood pressure or low blood pressure|
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana derived from the Sanskrit name that comes from six words — Ardha + Baddha + Padma + Paschim + Uttana + Asana:
- “Ardha” = “Half”
- “Baddha” = “Bound or caught or restrained”
- “Padma” = “Lotus”
- “Paschim” = “West (here, lower back)”
- “Uttana” = “Intense stretch”
- “Asana” = “Pose or Posture”
In this posture, one leg is placed in Ardha Padmasana, where the lotus leg is closed behind the back (Baddha) with the same hand. Then with this posture, the torso is tilted forward as in Paschimottanasana. It is also known as Half Bound Lotus Forward Bend Pose.
Benefits of Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold Pose)
Due to the half lotus pose, your knees become flexible enough to perform the full lotus pose. Keeping the chin on your knee of the extended leg, your bent knee is brought close to the stretched leg. This gives good stretch to your navel and abdominal organs. The blood is made to flow around your navel and genitals. The navel is considered a nerve center, and the Svadhisthana Chakra, one of the purification fly wheels in the human nervous system, is located there. This chakra corresponds to the hypogastric plexus. The Half Bound Lotus Western Intense Stretch Pose is recommended for individuals with rounded and sloping shoulders.
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold Pose) Practice Guide
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana has two parallel stories, a forward bend and a hip opener.
The hips of the straight leg are flexed and the knees point forward, turning the trunk forward. The hip of the bent leg is flexed, abducted and externally rotated, the foot is placed in the Lotus Position (Padmasana), thus opening the hip. If you cannot set foot in the Lotus, use a less difficult position of the bent leg, for example, Janu Sirsasana. One hand reaches behind the back and grasps the big toe of the lotus foot; The other hand grabs the outside of the leg of the straight leg.
It is important to note that you must have length in the internal rotator of the bent-knee hip in order to externally rotate it and place the leg on the thigh. Never force the leg in Padmasana, as you can injure the knee. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, read the article on Lotus Pose. Use comfortable stretching of the internal rotators to remove blockages, so you can finally easily step foot into Padmasana.
Step-by-step instructions to Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana
- Sit on the floor with both legs extended straight.
- Place the right foot on the bend of the left elbow and bring the right hand around the right knee, clasp the leg in your arms. Flex the right heel, keeping the right shin-bone horizontal, and gently pull the leg up toward your chest, extending your spine up. Sit tall It requires tremendous spinal strength to straighten the spine, along with hip and knee flexion. Stay here for several breaths.
- Bring the right foot into the Half Lotus. Holding the right foot from below with both hands, bring the heel towards the navel and then place the foot in the crease formed by the left thigh and torso, the left waist. Release your hands, tuck the buttocks back and sit tall.
- Bring the right hand behind you and grasp the right leg, then lean back over the left hand. Keep your chest straight ahead, towards the left leg. If you can’t hold the leg, either use a belt to bridge the gap or simply lean back on both hands.
- Turn your head and chest up. Backbend, first, pull the abdominals back towards the spine. Then move the shoulders back and, while inhaling, lift the chest straight up. Extend the rib cage upward, away from the waist, then as you exhale, press the shoulder blades forward into your back and lean back. Roll the sternum up and turn your head back, bringing the entire chest and rib cage forward through the shoulders. Make your chest round vertically (pubis to chin) and horizontally (shoulder to chest). Reach out through the chin.
- If you are unable to grasp the right leg with your right hand, lean back on both hands as you perform a back arch.
- Take a breath, use your breath to expand the shape from the inside.
- At this point, it is not uncommon for the right knee to float, leaving the floor. Do not worry about this, the idea here is to lift and stretch the chest. The more expansion and height you gain in the chest, the easier it will be to gently squeeze the right knee down toward the floor. Gently press the right knee down, but do so resulting in expansion of the chest.
- Keep the left leg straight. Roll the left thigh inward until the knee is facing the ceiling and the inside edge of the left leg is perpendicular. Spread your toes and press the ball of the foot away from you, rotating the foot slightly inward. Press your left hand down into the floor, so that your chest rises, and gently pull in with the right hand to increase chest expansion. Breathe gently and feel what is happening. This is a wonderful stretch. Take several breaths here, then bring your head back to normal alignment.
- Bend forward in the pose. To do this, grab your left leg with the left hand, rest your elbow on the floor, then take it forward and away, keeping the elbow wide. Stay here for 30-60 seconds. If and when your right arm gets tired, release it, bring it forward and grab the left leg.
Step-by-step Anatomy Engaging Techniques
- Flex, abduct, and externally rotate the thigh of your bent-leg. This contracts your sartorius.
- Activate your hamstrings to bend your knee. Your knee is not a pure hinge joint; This allows some rotation. Use this principle to protect the surfaces of your knee joint in this pose.
- Padmasana Press the lower side of your foot to activate your outer hamstrings preferentially.
- Since these muscles insert on the fibula bone on the outside of your lower leg, combining them with this cue moves your lower leg at the knee and moves the joint toward congruence.
Abduct and externally rotate your hip of the bent leg. Contract the deep outer rotator muscles of your hip by tucking your tailbone down. Engage your gluteus medius and tensor fascia lata to draw your knee toward the floor.
- Contract your quadriceps to straighten your knee of the extended leg.
- Engage your tensor fascia lata to flex and internally rotate your hip, while simultaneously stabilizing the outside of your knee.
- It exemplifies how a polyarticular muscle—one that crosses several joints—can be used to create multiple actions. In this case, your tensor fascia lata flexes your hip and extends your knee.
- Your gluteus minimus (hidden under your tensor fascia lata) coordinates hip flexion and internal rotation.
- Use the peronei on the outside of your lower leg to lift the ankle and open the sole of your foot. Balance this reversal with inversion flexion by engaging your tibialis posterior muscle while stabilizing your ankle.
If you are able to grasp your foot with your hand behind your back, pronate your forearm as if you are attempting to turn your palm down, and lock the grip on your foot. It creates a “wrinkling” effect from your wrist to your elbow. Then activate your triceps to pull backward on your big toe and foot, creating a force that pulls your shoulders and elbows back and rotates your chest away from your straight-leg.
Resist the rotational action of your torso described in Step-4 by holding your foot of the straight-leg. Try turning your palm upward, creating a lock between your hand and foot. It activates the supinator and biceps muscles. Flex your wrist to bend your elbow and contract your biceps and brachialis muscles and pull the trunk forward. The combination of actions described in Step-4 and Step-5 creates a bandha, or stabilizing effect, on the pose. Use your abdominal muscles to assist in your twist as you attempt to symmetrically draw your trunk over the thigh.
Internally rotate your arm that is reaching behind your back by engaging your subscapularis, teres major, latissimus dorsi, and pectoralis major. A cue for contracting these muscles is to try to lift your hand away from the back.
Activate your latissimus dorsi of your arm that is grasping your straight-leg foot. Imagine doing a chin-up to engage this muscle. See how this draws your trunk deeper into the forward bend.
Precautions and contraindications
Use caution with turns and forward folds poses, moving your body without understanding the nature of the posture cannot help. Be aware of bounds, forward folds and intense stretches poses. Hence, it is best to be taught and learned from an experienced yoga teacher/instruction.
Since this yoga pose is performed to improve the flexibility of your hips and knees and that only comes with practice, while practicing this pose to avoid cramps and further injuries, there are some precautions and contraindications to keep in mind before practice this yoga pose.
Given below are the precautions and contraindications of Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold Pose):
If there is any kind of injury around the knee cap, shoulders, neck, back, hips and ribs, then the practice of this pose should be avoided.
Arthritis can affect the joints in the neck, back, hips, knees, or parts of the spine, hence, intense stretching of these joints is avoided during the practice of yoga, and this pose requires extreme flexibility of these joints.
Slip discs problems
Slip discs in your back or neck can cause additional or severe pain due to the practice of Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana. So there is a need to be careful with that.
Digestion related problems
The practice of Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana causes the abdominal muscles to become pressed and constricted and hence any problem related to digestion can make these muscles weak leading to complications.
Breathing plays an important role in the practice of this yoga pose, while your abdominal region and chest become constricted, there may be a possibility of breathlessness, leading to a headache. Therefore, it is best to practice Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold Pose or Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana with proper guidance of an experience yoga teacher/instructor.
Pregnant women and menstruation
It is best to avoid getting pregnant because of the pressure around the abdomen. Avoid the practice of this yoga pose during menstruation, as the pressure around the abdominal and pelvic region will bring more discomfort.