Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana
- Ardha: Half
- Baddha: Bound
- Padmottana: Upright Lotus
- Asana: Pose
This is the second pose of the primary series.
The following is a discussion of the position on the right side, as pictured. As an asymmetrical posture, it must be repeated on the left side.
This posture requires the leg to be placed in Lotus posture. If your leg can’t be comfortably placed in Lotus, don’t add this posture until you have given more time to and had the benefit of the Marichyasana and Padmasana positions.
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana primarily challenges and builds balance, focus, and coordination. Binding the foot requires significant shoulder flexibility, and the practice of this posture serves to lengthen the Pectoralis muscles and bring the shoulders into a more healthful alignment. It also teaches the release of the rectus abdominis muscle during forward folding.
As in any of the Lotus family, be sure to keep the foot and ankle strong and contiguous with the leg. Allowing the ankle to “cave in” (inversion of the foot/ankle) will lead to ankle strain or a sprain.
Vinyasa of the Pose
From Samasthiti, inhale raise your right leg and place it in lotus. Reaching behind your back, bind the right big toe. Make the big toe strong in order to serve as a hook for your fingers. Reach your left hand upwards.
Exhale, and fold forward. Place your left hand on the ground alongside the left foot. Gaze at the tip of the nose (with the head down; the shin or wall behind you in the line of sight). This is the state of the pose; hold for five ujjayi breaths.
Inhale, look forward and lift halfway, coming onto the fingertips.
Exhale and hold.
Inhale, stand upright and reach the left hand upwards (as in first vinyasa)
Exhale, return to Samasthiti smoothly, remaining balanced.
Solutions & Alternatives
If the leg can be placed in lotus, but you have a shoulder injury or tightness that prevents binding the foot, use a strap or cloth to bind. Alternatively, place both hands on the ground.
If the knee cannot be fully closed in Lotus, with the foot at the hip crease, do not fold forward. If, due to lack of mobility at the hip, the foot is partway down the thigh, you risk torsion injury to the knee.
If you do not feel stable standing on one leg, give more time to the other standing postures before attempting this. Popping out of lotus as you lose your balance can injure the knee.
Thank you for this wonderful resource. There are so many sites on Ashtanga and this is really one of the most professional and helpful I’ve come across. I can relate to the last photo here as I have hurt my knee doing just this. I was very interested to read ‘DO NOT’ bend forward when you’re unable to place leg in half lotus. Why hasn’t my teacher told me this?