Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold): Steps & Benefits

ardha baddha padmottanasana (half bound lotus forward fold)
Image Source: Shutterstock

Ardha baddha padmottanasana is a combination of two classic poses, i.e. Ardha padmottanasana and uttanasana. It involves holding one leg with the hand and bending forward while standing.

Its English name, Half bound lotus standing forward bend expresses its literal translation. Sometimes, also referred to as Standing Half Bound Lotus pose.

It is one of the standing balance poses. It acts as a stretching workout for the legs, hamstrings, lower back, hips, and neck.

Ardha baddha padmottanasana involves inversion, balancing, and bending altogether at one time which makes it a little challenging. The difficulty involved suggests that it is an advanced level pose.

Meaning and Interpretation

Ardha baddha padmottanasana is derived from Sanskrit. Its name has six Sanskrit terms as follows:

  • “Ardha” means “half”
  • “Baddha” means “bound”
  • “Padma” is “lotus”
  • “Ut” refers to “intense”
  • “Tan” is “stretch”
  • “Asana” means “pose”

The root words involve in its name clarifies all the moves associated with the pose. In nutshell, this pose engages the entire body.

During Ardha baddha padmottanasana practice;

  • One leg is bought into the lotus pose like legs and then locked using one hand from the back – Ardha Baddha Padma
  • Next, the upper body is folded from the hip level downwards to the one standing leg – Padmottanasana.

In this pose, the balance needs to be maintained on one standing leg. It makes people experience an intense stretch in hips, quad, and calf muscles.

Ardha baddha padmottanasana strengthens and stretches the legs, spine, and shoulders. It stimulates the crown chakra due to the inverted position of the head. Besides this, the abdominal organs are activated due to the pressure on the abdominal cavity.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana Practice Guide

Half Bound Lotus Forward Fold
Image Source: Canva

To do the ardha baddha padmottanasana, go through the following points below;

Precautions & Contraindications

  1. Recent injury – Do not perform ardha baddha padmottanasana if you have an injured knee, hip, or shoulder. The pose involved intense stretches and any further pressure might cause severe effects on the injury.
  2. High blood pressure – Avoid the pose if you have high blood pressure as the heart is under extreme pressure in the forward bend.
  3. Glaucoma – The patients of glaucoma must avoid the Ardha baddha padmottanasana.
  4. Headache – The pose is not recommended to be performed with a heavy head especially in case of a migraine.
  5. Diarrhea – Never perform this asana with an upset stomach.
  6. Do not push the body beyond its potential. It is always better to increase the limits with time and practice.
  7. Perform it under expert’s guidance.

Preparatory poses

  • Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
  • One-Legged King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
  • Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

How to Do Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Steps)

how to do ardha baddha padmottanasana (half bound lotus forward fold)
Image Source: Shutterstock
  1. Begin with standing in tadasana.
  2. Inhale and lift your right leg balancing the bodyweight on the left leg.
  3. Hold the folded right foot with your left hand and externally rotate the right thigh.
  4. Tuck your right heel in the lower abdomen beside the navel
  5. Circle the right hand around your back and reach the right big toe.
  6. Exhale and bend forward at the hip level.
  7. Place your left hand on the floor beside the standing floor.
  8. Distribute the body weight equally between the left foot and left hand.
  9. Look forward to a point and take a deep breath in.
  10. Exhale and bring your head towards the knee touching he chin to the shin.
  11. Stay in the pose for 5-6 breaths.
  12. Inhale and look forward, stay there for a second.
  13. Exhale slowly lifting and stay there for two seconds.
  14. Release the right hand holding the right foot with the left hand.
  15. Unfold the right knee and bring it to the floor.
  16. Relax in tadasana. Repeat the same with the left foot.

Beginner’s tips

  • To maintain the balance in Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana first initiate with tree pose and then project your lifted foot to the lower abdomen.
  • Follow the modifications below to fight the flexibility issues.
  • Do not push yourself to hold the big toe, you can start with grabbing the elbow by wrapping the alternative hand around the back.

Follow up poses

Modifications and Props

  • Using a yoga strap – Wrap the lifted foot with a strap. Now, as you circle your hand around the back instead of grabbing the lifted toe you can hold the strap.
  • Using a block – You can place a block beside your standing foot and as you lean forward you can rest your palm over it.

Variations

To go further in Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, use these variations to deepen the pose.

  1. Perform the pose without wrapping one hand on the back to hold the big toe. As you bend forward place both the hands on the floor.
  2. Perform ardha baddha padmottanasana with the hands in the prayer pose. Here, the folded foot stays on the lower abdomen, hook it there with forward leaning. As you reach halfway join your palms and keep your spine parallel to the floor.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana Benefits

1. Improves flexibility

It’s a deep stretching pose. It involves stretching of hips, hamstrings, ankles, shoulders, and arms. The stretching of muscles makes them flexible 1.

2. Enhanced digestion

During the forward bend in ardha baddha padmottanasana, the folded foot touches the abdomen. It creates pressure and contracts the abdominal organs. This stimulates the functioning of digestive organs on which they start secreting digestive juices. It also eliminates gastric disorders.

3. Facilitates respiration

Standing half bound lotus pose expands and opens up the chest when the hand holds the toe from behind. It helps in the expansion of respiratory organs and thereby improves the functioning of the respiratory system.

4. Increases concentration

With maintaining the balance in the forward bend the root chakra (Muladhara) gets activated. Among students, it has seen 2 practicing this pose consistently increases the sense of balance, focus, and concentration in them. Thus, it also improves the sense of self-awareness.

5. Benefits sacral chakra

As the abdominal cavity is also involved in the pose, it also stimulates the sacral chakra. It improves the emotional health of the practitioner as well as improves the reproductive system.

6. Stimulates nervous system

During ardha baddha padmottanasana the head is surrendered to the gravity. It increases the flow of blood to the head and brings oxygen to the brain cells. This leaves a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system.

Conclusion

No matter how intimidating ardha baddha padmottanasana looks, it comes with various benefits. This makes the pose worth trying. You can try this pose even with easy modifications & variations for the same benefits.

Plus, it rejuvenates the human body incredibly as the pose is a combination of two asanas. It makes the pose more tempting and advantageous.

References

  1. Physical and perceptual benefits of yoga asana practice: results of a pilot study https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1360859204000610
  2. Perceived benefits of yoga among students http://innpharmacotherapy.com/VolumeArticles/FullTextPDF/10201_IPP_08-AJ-2020-11.pdf

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