This is a step by step guide on how to perform Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, also known as the Half Bound Lotus Standing Forward Bend.
Step 1 : Starting from Tadasana, feet together. Inhale and start to bend the right knee to bring it upwards placing it at the top of the left thigh. Take hold of the foot/ankle or shin with both hands to help raise it towards the hip bone. The right knee will be pointing almost downwards at this point (half lotus). Gently pull the heel towards the abdomen.
Step 2: Continue to inhale and wrap the right arm around the back to grip the right big toe with the right hand. Raise the left straight towards the sky.
Step 3: Exhale and slowly start to forward bend towards the floor. Placing the left hand flat on the floor by the foot, fingertips inline with the toes. The chin, without force, goes towards the shin. The shoulders should be inline, as well as the knees, the knees should be aligned and remain slightly apart. Take x5 breaths.
Step 4: Start the Inhale, life the chest and start to raise your left hand back up to the sky and back to standing. Release the hand down to the side of the hip. Grab hold of the right foot and slowly release back to Tadasana. Exhale.
Step 5: Repeat other side.
Variation: If the hips or shoulders are tight you can either bring the foot up towards the hip and hold the foot in half lotus, or for e.g the right hand can hold left foot while the opposite arm wraps around to meet the elbow. If the hips are tight for full lotus then the foot can rest below knee and hold onto the foot. Baddha Konasana is a great pose to help hip flexibility, as well as simple cross legged sitting position whenever can we done in spare time.
Level: Intermediate to Advance (for full pose), Beginners can practice with a gentle variation as explained above.
Focus areas of this Asana are: Hamstrings, Hips, Shoulders and Back
What to be aware of before performing this Asana: Requires flexibility in the hamstrings, strong rotation of the hips, back and open shoulders
Contraindications: pregnancy, hernia or abdominal issues, knee issues, back issues, high blood pressure, slipped disk or any recent/ unhealed injury impacting the focus areas.
By Lisa Sheppard