Half Squat Pose Ardha Malasana
Half Squat Pose is an intermediate hip opener with benefits. This pose aims to stretch the lower back, hamstrings and lower leg. What is great about the half squat pose is that it’s a great preparatory pose for wide straddle forward bends and standing leg extensions.
Begin in a seated position. Bring the legs apart to a straddle. Bend the right knee up, drawing the heel of the foot towards the sit bones. Stretch the left heel out to the corner of the mat and point the toes skyward. To realise the full pose, lean forward from the hips, reaching the arms forward. Placing the right elbow in front of the right knee, bend elbows and bring the palms together in prayer. Hold for 5 deep yoga breaths. To exit the pose, release the hands and stretch the right leg stretch. Repeat the other side.
The benefits of this pose include a deep stretch to open hips and groin. In addition, Half Squat pose works to lengthen psoas, hamstring and lower leg muscles increasing flexibility and ease of movement.
Visualization CommentsTo lift the upper body and core, imagine your inner muscles from pubis to belly button as an elevator. Begin at the ground level – the pelvic floor. Gently squeeze and lift upwards towards the top floor – the belly button. This action will encourage your spine and back to straighten. Support this process, by pressing the shoulder blades against the back.
Technical CommentsWhen seated, pull the flesh away from sit bones. Pull the belly in and lift the upper body up and out of the hips. The spine and back should be straight, not S-shape. The heel of the bent leg is placed as close to the same side sit bone as possible. The extended leg is stretched toward the corner of the mat. Reach the arm out and in front of the bent knee. Release the shoulders away from the ears. Press the shoulder blades into the back.
- Opens hips and groin
- Stretches hip flexors and hamstring
- Lengthens psoas and leg muscles
- Improves flexibility in hips and lower back
- Strengthens ankles and core
Watch Out For:
- Rounding spine and shoulders: release and begin again lifting from the core.
- Tight hamstrings: support with blanket under knee and/or hips.
- Knee, ankle, lower back injuries.
- Place blanket or block under hips
- Place bent leg foot and/or extended leg on blanket
- Squat on ball of foot, then extend leg
- Bind arms around bent knee
Yoga Counter Poses
- Seated forward bend
- Standing forward bend
- Downward facing dog