Half lotus Pose, Ardha padmasana, (ara-dhah pahd-MAH-suh-nuh)
ardha (half) + padma (lotus) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Half Lotus Position
Open your hips and stretch the knees in this meditative seat.
Half Lotus Pose Fundamentals
Stretch your lower body and find peace of mind in Half Lotus Pose. This seated posture is an easier variation of the full Lotus Pose and is more suitable for beginners.
In fact, this pose is the best asana you can do if you’re working towards full Lotus. It will open your hips, ankles, and knees, allowing you to gradually and safely work on your flexibility in these areas.
Half Lotus in itself can be fantastic for meditation and pranayama, and is recommended for this purpose in old Hatha Yoga texts.
If you want to meditate in this posture and improve your concentration (dharana), try adding a mudra, such as Prayer Hands. Also, since we’re sitting in the same posture for a while when we meditate, make sure to switch your legs at some point, to get an even stretch on both sides.
Even if you are only doing a meditation session, you may want to do some stretches and warm-ups before you enter Half Lotus Pose. Although it’s not the full version of Padmasana, it is still an intense stretch. Prep your body with a couple of Sun Salutations, and perform Easy Pose first, to prepare your hips and legs for the asana.
Sitting in this pose for longer periods of time will help you build mindfulness and awareness. If you are practicing Kundalini style of yoga, this asana is an excellent alternative to Easy Pose when you are practicing your kriyas. It encourages your spine to stand upright, which allows the energy to circulate from the Root to the Crown Chakra. Sitting in this manner also calms down stress and anxiety, and brings peace.
Half Lotus Pose Benefits
- Stretches and opens the legs, pelvis, glutes, knees, and ankles.
- Prepares the body for Lotus Pose.
- Sitting with the spine in a neutral position calms the breath and aids with concentration.
- When combined with meditation or breathing exercises, the pose helps calm anxiety and reduce fatigue.
- Improves circulation in the pelvis, so it may help with issues related to reproductive and digestive systems, and relieve menstrual cramps.
- Improves postural awareness and may help you build a healthier posture over time.
How To Do Half Lotus Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin seating on the mat with your legs extended in front of you, in Staff Pose. Remain in the pose for several breaths to work on elongating your spine.
2. Bend your left knee and use both arms to bring it close to the chest. Then, place the ankle in the crease of your right hip, so that the heel is pointing towards the sky.
3. With your next inhale, bend the right knee and place the right ankle beneath your left hip. Join the palms next to your heart, in Namaskar mudra (Prayer hands).
4. Keep your eyes closed, and focus on extending the spine and calming your breath.5. Hold for several breaths, or longer if you are using the pose for meditation.
6. When you are ready to release, return your legs back to Staff Pose. Shake them off to release tension and increase circulation to the feet, then repeat the same steps on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- If you are holding the pose for kriyas, breathwork, and meditation, make sure to change the cross of your legs so that you are practicing both sides for approximately the same period of time. You can either set a timer and change the cross of your legs during your meditation, or practice with a different leg on top every day.
- If you feel any pinching or sharp pain in your knees or ankles, get out of the pose immediately.
- Slightly engage your core by tucking the tailbone and drawing your belly button up and in.
- Try to stay grounded equally through both sitting bones.
- Keep your chest lifted and extend through the top of your head.
- You can keep your hands in Prayer, rest them on your thighs, or try any other mudra you like.
Half Lotus Pose Variation:
Half Lotus Pose Variation: Half Lotus Pose Against a Wall
If you want to perfect your spinal alignment or need back support, practice against a wall. Lean against a wall, leaving some space behind your neck and your lower back. You can also place a cushion or a block between your shoulder blades if you need more support for your upper back.
Half Lotus Pose Variation: Half Lotus Pose With Hips Elevated
If you feel pressure in the lower back or if your knees are sticking up when you’re in the pose, elevate your hips.
Sit on a cushion, folded blanket, or a block to keep your hips above your knees. This variation is always a good idea if you are planning to hold the pose for longer periods of time, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Forcing Yourself. This pose is less intense than full Lotus, but is still difficult. If you can’t hold it comfortably or feel any pain or tingling, practice Easy Pose instead.
Focusing on only one side. For most of us, one leg is more open than the other, so we prefer using that side when we meditate. However, that may increase muscle imbalances, so make sure you spend the same amount of time on both sides.
Injuries and Surgery
Avoid Half Lotus Pose if you have any injury or had recent surgery on the knees, ankles, spine, hips, or hamstrings. Also refrain from the pose if you have rheumatoid arthritis, chronic sciatica, and tailbone pain.
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