How to practice: Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimattānāsana (Half bound lotus western/back intense stretch Pose)

by Delight Yoga

Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimattānāsana, or half bound lotus western/back intense stretch pose, is the eighth posture in the Primary Series of the Astanga Vinyasa yoga system. 

The Primary Series is said to be the most demanding because it is the first series you learn as a beginner - and every beginning is hard.  It is called Yoga Chikitsa, meaning Yoga Therapy. It is a series for cleansing and healing the body. 

The Primary Series sets the foundation for all of the following series. If you look superficially, it may seem as if the Primary Series is the easiest of the six series in the Astanga Vinyasa System, but in fact, it is the most demanding. It is here that you start your practice, where you get used to the breath and Vinyasas, and to your daily yoga practice. 

Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimattānāsana Instructions

1. ekam
Inhale, raise arms overhead, palms together
Dhristi: to the middle of the thumb (añguṣṭhamadhye)

2. dve
Exhale, fold forward, hands to ground
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

3. trīṇi
Inhale, lift head, lengthen the spine
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

4. catvāri
Exhale, hands down, float back, elbows close to chest (Caturāṅga Daṇḍāsana)
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

5. pañca
Inhale, roll on tops of feet, open the chest, straighten arms
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

6. ṣaṭ
Exhale, roll over the toes, push back, lift hips, straight arms. 
Dhristi: to the navel (nābicakre)

7. sapta
Inhale, jump through, right leg in half lotus, right hand behind back, grab the right foot, left hand to the front, grab the left foot, head up
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

8. aṣṭau
Exhale, bend left elbow to the side, chin to shinbone

- 5 breaths, Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimattānāsana (right side)
  Dhristi: to the tip of the foot (pādayoragre)

9. nava
Inhale, stretch left arm, head up
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

- Exhale, stay in this position

10. daśa
Inhale, put hands onto the floor, cross legs and lift up balancing on the arms
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

11. ekādaśa
Exhale, jump back to Caturāṅga Daṇḍāsana 
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

12. dvādaśa
Inhale, roll on tops of feet, open the chest, straighten arms
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

13. trayodaśa
Exhale, roll over the toes, push back, lift hips, straight arms.
Dhristi: to the navel (nābicakre)

14. caturdaśa
Inhale, jump through, left leg in half lotus, left hand behind back, grab left foot, right hand to the front, grab right foot, head up
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

15. pañcadaśa
Exhale, bend right elbow to the side, chin to shinbone

- 5 breaths, Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimattānāsana (left side)
  Dhristi: to the tip of the foot (pādayoragre)

16. ṣoḍaśa
Inhale, stretch left arm, head up
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

- Exhale, stay in this position

17. saptadaśa
Inhale, put hands onto the floor, cross legs and lift up balancing on the arms
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

18. aṣṭadaśa
Exhale, jump back to Caturāṅga Daṇḍāsana 
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

19. ekonavimśatiḥ
Inhale, roll on tops of feet, open the chest, straighten arms
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

20. vimśatiḥ
Exhale, roll over the toes, push back, lift hips, straight arms.
Dhristi: to the navel (nābicakre)

21. ekāvimśatiḥ
Inhale, jump feet between the hands, lengthen the spine, lift your head up
Dhristi: in the middle of the eyebrows (bhrūmadhye)

22. dvāvimśatiḥ
Exhale, head to knees
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

- Inhale, stand all the way up, arms on sides, Samasthitiḥ, exhale
Dhristi: to the nose (nāsāgre)

 

Ardha Baddha Padma Paścimattānāsana Benefits

- Activates the liver and the spleen, aiding digestion

- Beneficial for gastric problems

- Increases flow of blood around the navel and genital organs

- Strengthens the knees and the shoulders