Half Lotus Pose - Ardha Padmasana

How to Do Half Lotus Pose - Ardha Padmasana
Half Lotus Pose - Ardha Padmasana. Ann Pizer

Type of pose: Seated, hip opener

Benefits: Stretches the muscles around the pelvis, legs, and ankles

Full lotus pose is so strongly identified with yoga that a lot of people think that it's the only option for sitting cross-legged or for meditation. Not so! Full lotus requires really open hips so that there's no strain on your knees. Getting there can be a long process, but there are several places to stop along the way as your body opens and responds to a consistent practice.

 

The first cross-legged position to attempt is very basic: easy pose-sukasana. When you become very comfortable in this position, you can start working on half lotus, as described below. It's best to practice this pose as the end of a yoga session when you are warmed up.

Instructions:

1. From easy pose, use your hands to bring your right foot on top of your left calf with the sole of the foot facing upwards.

2. Adjust your right foot so that it is as high as possible on your left thigh. You can use your hands to encourage your foot into position. Eventually, the idea is to settle the top of the right foot into your left hip crease.

3. Keep your left knee bent so that the left shin rests comfortably on the floor in a cross-legged position.

4. Lift the crown of your head toward the ceiling and roll your shoulders away from your ears to keep the spine long. Your hands can rest on your thighs with the palms turned up or down.

5. Take at least ten breaths here.

4. Release and set yourself up with the right foot on the bottom and the left foot on top. One side will probably feel easier, but try to do both sides whenever you sit in the pose for more than a few breaths.

Beginners' Tips:

If your knees are sticking up when you are cross legged, sit on a blanket or two to raise the hips above the knees.

Advanced Tips:

When your hips begin to feel more open, move on to full lotus.

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