[sva-steek-AHS-anna] [are-dah pod-MAHS-anna]
”Ardha” means half and “Padma” means Lotus. The Divine mother with all her 108 names is often shown sitting on a lotus. In yogic mythology, the earth is often compared to the lotus flower. It is said to float on cosmic waters. Egyptians and Hindus refer to the lotus as the “Flower of Light”. Paintings of the lotus were used in ancient Egyptian religious rites. Ancient societies that worshiped Mother Earth often depicted a goddess standing or sitting on a lotus. For Tibetan Buddhists, the blue Lotus is the sacred flower of Tara, the Mother of Compassion. The fully bloomed Lotus is associated with the Buddha and represents the enlightened nature of his consciousness.
Benefits of Half Lotus Pose
- Creates flexibility in the gluteal muscles and deep rotator muscles of the hips.
- Stretches the piriformis and is helpful in controlling the symptoms of sciatica.
- Allows the spine to rest on the base of the body in a neutral position. The neutral position of the spine allows the spine and the brain to communicate more freely. Blood, oxygen and energy flow freely throughout the body and enhance the effects of meditation.
- Those suffering from knee, hip, pelvic, low back or ankle pain should begin with modifications.
- Before positioning yourself in half lotus pose, make sure that your hips and ankles are properly warmed up. It can also be a good idea to do several yoga asanas to open and warm up the hips first.
- Move into a seated cross-legged position with your right shin in front of your left. Sit on a blanket or a block if you find your back is rounded. Place some support underneath your knees if they are uncomfortable. Ideally, your pelvis should be higher than your knees, but don’t force yourself into an unnatural position. Everyone’s body is different. It is most important to ensure that you are comfortable and protect your joints.
- Stay in a seated cross-legged position if that feels most appropriate for you.
- If your hips are flexible and you would like to try half lotus, lift your right ankle up. Bring it to rest on the left thigh with the heel touching the hip joint.
- The external rotation should come from the hip. The knee and ankle should stay in neutral. If the hips are too tight to keep the knee and ankle in neutral then a simple seated cross-legged position is a better alternative and has all the same benefits.
- Press the thighs down and reach your torso up to the sky.
- Feel your hips release and feel energy floating down toward your knees.
- Engage your deep spinal muscles and reach the crown of your head to the sky.
- Feel that the base of your body provides a stable base of support.
- On each inhalation feel your heart lifting and enjoy a sense of expansion on all sides of your body.
- Find a perfect point of balance between the front and the back sides of your body. Become deeply aware of this point of balance and rest into it.
- Lengthen the spine and unwind the legs. Slowly bring the right ankle off of the left thigh.