About Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana:
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana is one of the difficult asana in ashtanga yoga. As the name suggests, it is half – Ardha; locked – Baddha; Padma – lotus; intense stretch forward bend – uttana pose. One needs to have a good mastery over most of the standing asanas in order to practice this asana. The focus of this asana is on the hips and lower abdomen. In the final position, your body will have to be balanced with one leg and with one hand. In this asana, one leg is folded and placed on the opposite thigh, touching the lower abdomen as is done in “padmasana” – lotus posture. If the right leg is folded and left leg is used to balance the body, then the left arm is placed on the ground that makes this asana complete in the final position. As per the breathing principles in yoga, while bending forward, you should exhale and in the final position go back to normal breathing or for an advanced practitioner, hold your breath for a few seconds.
How to practice Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana:
- Assume normal standing posture
- Inhale slowly and fold the right leg
- Bring your right heel towards the waist closer to navel
- Exhale and try to hold the right toe using right hand from behind the back
- Inhale again and raise the left arm upwards
- Bend forward with exhalation until the left hand touches the floor
- Be in this position for few seconds
- Raise your head while inhaling slowly
- Bend again to bring the head towards the knees
- Keep the spine straight
- Inhale slowly and raise the body to come back to the normal position
- Excellent posture to open the hips and flex the hip muscles
- Complete stretch for the hamstring as the body is balanced with one leg and one hand
- Flexibility for the ankles
- Chest opens because one of the hands holds the toe of the opposite side leg
- Stretches the shoulders and arms
- Because of the balancing nature of the posture, the mind too benefits from it. Equanimity of mind is essential for any spiritual seekers.
- Concentration increases.
- Balancing postures also increase the mental and physical awareness that is required for a spiritual aspirant.
- People with hip/spine/neck injuries should not try this posture
- This asana is not recommended for people with any kind of leg/shoulder/hand injuries
- People with high blood pressure should not try this posture – they may find it difficult to balance the body with one leg and one hand.
- Improved blood circulation
- Because of the pressure on the lower abdomen, this asana helps in curing digestive and gastric disorders
- Stimulates the nervous system because of the forward bend, balancing and the pressure on the lower abdomen
Tips for beginners:
- It is recommended to practice and gain mastery over Padahastasana or similar type of standing and forward bend postures.
- It may not be possible to place the palm on the ground in the initial stages. It can be developed only gradually.
Chakras related with Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana:
- Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra
- Swadhishtana (Sacral) Chakra