Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana a.ka. “Half Bound Lotus Intense West-Side Stretch Pose” is part of the seated forward-bending sequence in the Prana Vashya™ Primary Series which are designed to stretch the posterior or ‘west-line’ of your body.
How to get into the position
From Dandasana or ‘Staff Pose’ i.e. sitting on the floor with both of your legs stretched out in front of you; bind your foot by reaching your other hand around your back and catching hold of the foot by the big toe (with your first two fingers and thumb) before your breath in, ensuring your hips are squared forward. Then inhale and raise your arm above your head to elongate your spine, ensuring inward rotation of your outstretched leg. Then fold forward on the exhale, sitting back on your sitting bones and grasp your foot in front of you.
Do not bend the knee on your outstretched leg.
If you cannot bind —reaching around behind your back to catch your foot in Half Lotus- then your hips will require more opening and your hamstrings lengthening to build up to this pose. As an alternative to this posture, try Janu Sirsasana aka ‘forward bending head to knee pose’.
With every inhalation, extend your spine. With every exhalation, try to lift your elbows to fold further forward. Hold for five full breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana:
Stretches your shoulders and hamstrings
Increases the flexibility of your knee and hip joints
Stretches your back muscles and increases blood circulation to the nerves in your spine
Avoid this posture if you have any issues with your lower back like a slipped disk or the like. Also, I would advise caution if you have any issues with your kneecap(s), shoulder(s), neck, hips or ribs.
Damian Cadman-Jones is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga™