Asana of the Month: Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half-Bound Lotus Seated Forward Bend)

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons.
 

As we move more fully into the heat of summer—the most Yang time of the year—a practice that focuses on forward-folds can help soothe the brain and create a cooling sensation in mind and body, while simultaneously stimulating the digestive system and toning the abdominal organs. After a long hot summer day, few things are as refreshing as a cooling glass of lemonade, and the calming, rejuvenating effects of Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana.
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half-Bound Lotus Seated Forward Bend):
Ardha = half
Baddha = bound
Padma = lotus
Pashima = west
Uttana = intense stretch
[paschimottana = intense stretch of the west]
Benefits (according to Light on Yoga & yogajournal.com):
  • increases flexibility in the knees
  • Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings
  • Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries, and uterus
  • Improves digestion
Cautions/Contraindications:
  • knee or ankle injury
  • hamstring injury
  • may be contraindicated for certain individuals with back pain
Preparatory Poses:
Uttanasana
Supta Padangustasana
Janu Sirsasana
Paschimottanasana
Virasana
Song that Most Comes to Mind While in the Posture:

The slightly catchy, slightly annoying (in your inability to get it out of your head once you hear it) Boy Scout song: “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” [Listen here, and beware!]



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