Half Bound Lotus Seated Forward Extension

Yoga Poses

Half Bound Lotus Seated Forward Extension /Ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana

Steps

Half Bound Lotus Seated Forward Extension is one in a series of poses called pre-meditation asanas. These poses prepare the body to sit upright in stillness for long periods of time. Sitting with legs crossed or in lotus position is the preferred pose for meditation. Half Bound Lotus Seated Forward Extension is particularly useful for improving flexibility of the hip, knee and ankle joints and strengthening the back and spine muscles, all necessary for seated meditations.

From staff pose, bend the right leg. Hold knee with right hand and cradle foot with left hand. Lay the right foot onto the upper left thigh, drawing the heel near to the hip crease. Extend and stretch the right arm towards the toes, then wrap it back around the waist. Clasp two fingers around the big toe. To fold forward, maintain a straight spine, stretching head crown and sternum towards left foot. Extend the left arm, to hold left foot with two fingers. Hinge at the hips and fold over the left leg. Relax the entire body. Gently release nose to knee. To exit the pose, release hand hold and bind. Place the hands, palms down by sides.  Gently hinge upwards to staff pose. Repeat other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

As this is a pre-meditation pose, practice stillness in this pose. Let your sit bones sink downward deepening their connection with the earth. Relax the right hip, right knee descending towards the ground. Stretch the left out through the heel, feel the thigh, back of the knee and calk make contact with the ground. Gently lowers the third eye to the left knee and relax into stillness.

Technical Comments

This pose should be included towards the end of the practice, when muscles are warm and joints are open. To relieve stiffness and stabilise the hips, make sure that the weight is evenly distributed on both sitting bones. Cradle the bent knee leg and rock it back and forth.  Rotate the ankle joint back and forth and in circles. Gently draw the foot towards the hip crease. The heel should be in line with the navel.

Benefit Comments

  • Improves flexibility and reduces stiffness in knees
  • Improves flexibility in shoulders, hips and ankles
  • Stretches and strengthens back and spine
  • Strengthens quadriceps
  • Stretches hamstrings
  • Massages internal organs
  • Relaxes the nervous system
  • Calms the mind
  • Prepares the body for meditation

Watch Out For:

  • Unsupported knees
  • Rolling hips
  • Twisting ankles
  • Rounding backs

Contraindications

  • Sciatica
  • Knee and ankle injuries

Modifications

  • Cross leg over thigh (just above knee)
  • Place blanket under hips and/or block under bent leg knee
  • Use strap to hold foot and bind
  • Use strap to hold extended foot
  • Remain in seated half lotus

Variations

  • Bend extended leg back into virasana
  • Standing – bend right leg into ½ lotus, wrap right arm around to bind. Fold forward. Repeat other side
  • Reclining – bend right leg into lotus, hold with left two fingers. Repeat other side
  • Headstand – in final position, fold right leg to ½ lotus, lower to ½ head stand
  • Shoulder stand - in final position, fold right leg to ½ lotus, lower to plow

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Seated foward fold(paschimottanasana)
  • Head-to-knee pose (Janu sirasana)
  • Half hero pose (Half virasana)
  • Marichyasana

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a RYT 200 yoga teacher and journalist. More information about Brenda can be found at https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga

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