Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half Lotus Intense Stretch of the West)

Position : Sitting

Type : Seated forward bend

Spiritual Awareness : Mooladhara and Swadisthan chakra

Physical Awareness : Back, hamstrings, chest, abdomen, shoulders. Extended stretch to the inside of the legs and muscles between the shoulder blades.

Dosha Suitability : Vata and Pita can also benefit

Introducery Asanas : Triyak Bhujangasan, Chakrasan, Matsyasan

How To Do

Sit with both the legs outstretched.

Bend the right leg and place the right foot as high as possible on the left thigh, turning the sole of the foot up.

Press the heel firmly into the abdomen.

Bend forward slightly, fold the right arm behind the back and try to grasp the toes of the right foot with the right hand.

Sit upright again.

Relax the whole body, especially the back muscles.

Exhaling, lean forward and grasp the toes of the left foot with the left hand.

Utilizing the arms, but not the back muscles, slowly pull the trunk forward so that the forehead is near to or resting on the straight knee..

This is the final position. Hold the pose for as long as is comfortable. Breathe deeply and slowly in the final position. Hold the breath if the final position is held for only few seconds.

Release the hands and inhaling slowly sit up.

Repeat the technique with the other leg.

Practise up to 3 rounds gradually extending the duration.

Followup Asanas: Triyak Bhujangasan, Chakrasan, Matsyasan.

Spotlight effects: Back, hamstrings, chest, shoulders, intense stretch to the abdomen.

Physical Benefits

This asana gives an intense massage to the abdominal organs than in Paschimottanasana. This asana also prepares the legs and hips for prolonged sitting in meditation asanas.

It gives a good pull to navel and abdominal organs

Stretches the muscles, shoulders, hamstrings.

Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings.

Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus.

Contracts the muscles of the anterior part of the body.

Improves functions of intra-abdominal glands.

Improves respiratory process.

Improves flexibility of lumbar area, hips, and back side of thighs and calves.

Tones the spinal nerves and improves blood circulation in the back.

Improves aligmment of vertebral column.

Removes fat from hips, abdomen, and thigh.

Activates Kundalini Shakti and nadis are also purified. Activats Swadisthan chakra and thereby hypogastric plexus.

Therapeutic Benefits

The bent leg in half Padmasana stimulates the intestinal peristalsis and alleviate constipation.

Calms the brain and helps to relieve stress and mild depression.

Improves digestion.

Helps with sluggish liver.

Helps to relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.

Soothes headache and anxiety and reduces fatigue.

Therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, and sinusitis.

Also helps with diabetes, colitis, and kidney problems.

This is a recommended pose for rounded and drooping shoulders.

Traditional texts say that Paschimottanasana increases appetite, reduces obesity, and cures all diseases.

Precautions and Contraindications

This should noe be performed until Paschimottanasana has been mastered

Do not bend the knees or arch the spine while trying to bring the forehead forward.

Asthma.

Diarrhea.

Slipped disk.

Any recent abdominal surgery.

In case of back injury or sciatica, perform this pose only under the supervision of an experienced teacher.

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