Ardha Padmasana, one of the best yoga poses for managing stress and anxiety, is also commonly known as the Half Lotus Pose. If you are wondering what the Ardha Padmasana pose is, to put it simply, it is a seated posture that entails positioning one foot on top of the opposite thigh, with the other foot resting on the floor. The word ‘ardha’ means ‘half’ in Sanskrit, ‘padma’ refers to ‘lotus’ and ‘asana’ translates to ‘pose’.Here’s everything you need to know about the yoga asana, including the benefits of Ardha Padmasana, a step-by-step guide to practise it and more.
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How does Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus pose help in reducing stress & anxiety?
Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus yoga pose has significant positive effects on stress and anxiety. Read more about the detailed explanation of how the yoga pose helps in tackling stress and anxiety:
1. Promotes relaxation: Ardha Padmasana or the Half Lotus Pose is a restorative yoga pose that helps reduce tension in the body, which in turn helps in relaxing the body and mind. When you practise this pose, you can focus on deep breathing, which can calm your mind and reduce stress levels.
A study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that practising restorative yoga poses, including Ardha Padmasana, helped reduce stress and improve sleep quality in college students.
• Calms the mind: Ardha Padmasana pose is also known to be beneficial in alleviating restlessness and promoting mental clarity. By focusing on your steady breath and allowing your mind to become more still, you can experience a sense of peace and tranquillity.
A review of studies on the effects of yoga on mental health, published in the National Institute of Health, found that yoga practices, including meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises), can be helpful in combating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Ardha Padmasana can be an effective way to incorporate the aforementioned practices into your routine.
• Stimulates the nervous system: The Half Lotus yoga pose can help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's "rest and digest" response.
"Rest and digest" is a term used to denote the state of the body when it is relaxed and not under stress. When the body is in this state, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is activated, which slows down the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and increases digestive and immune system function. This is the opposite of the "fight or flight" response, which is activated when the body is under stress or in danger.
Rest and digest is a natural and important process that helps the body to rest, recover, and maintain its overall health and wellbeing. When this system is activated, it can aid in reducing stress levels and thus promote relaxation.
A study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicinefound that yoga practices, including the Half Lotus Yoga Pose or Ardha Padmasana, can help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce stress levels.
What are the other benefits of Half Lotus yoga pose?
Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus yoga pose helps in enhancing flexibility, strengthening the core muscles, and relieving tension, among an array of other benefits. Here are some of them:
1. Improves flexibility: This yoga pose stretches the hips, knees, and ankles, which can improve flexibility and range of motion. Over time, practising this pose can help combat body stiffness and enhance mobility.
2. Strengthens the core: Half Lotus yoga pose requires core strength to maintain proper alignment and balance. Regular practice of the Ardha Padmasana pose can help strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve overall core stability.
3. Relieves tension in the lower back: Ardha Padmasana could also relieve tension in the lower back, which is one of the common areas prone to stiffness and discomfort. By stretching the hips and spine, this pose can aid in releasing tension and reducing pain.
4. Stimulates digestion: Half Lotus yoga pose can stimulate the digestive organs, which can promote digestion and prevent constipation.
5. Helps to combat menstrual cramps: Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus yoga pose can be particularly advantageous in tackling menstrual cramps. It is because this yoga pose stretches the pelvic region and relieves tension in the lower abdomen.
How to perform Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus yoga pose correctly?
1. Start by coming in a seated position, with your legs extended in the front.
2. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on the floor.
3. Lift your left foot and place it on top of your right thigh, with your left heel close to your right hip. If this is too difficult, you can place your left foot on the floor with your knee pointing towards the ceiling.
4. Place your hands on your knees or thighs, with your palms facing down.
5. Sit upright, lengthening your spine and drawing your shoulders back and down.
6. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, focusing on calming your body and mind.
7. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute, then release and switch sides.
Important things to keep in mind when practising the Ardha Padmasana:
• If you have knee or hip injuries, avoid this pose or modify it by placing a folded blanket or cushion under your hips or knees for support.
• Always listen to your body and refrain from pushing beyond your limits. If you experience pain or discomfort, stop immediately.
• Remember to breathe deeply and evenly while doing the pose.
How to combine Ardha Padmasana with other yoga poses to reduce stress & anxiety?
Ardha Padmasana can be done with several yoga poses like Savasana, Sukhasana, Trikonasana, and more. By combining it with these other yoga poses, you can make a comprehensive stress-relieving routine that stretches and strengthens the body, relaxes the mind and tackles stress and anxiety. Here is an effective yoga routine to combine with Ardha Padmasana:
1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose): Start your sequence by sitting in Sukhasana, or Easy Pose. This simple cross-legged sitting position can calm the mind and prepare you for deeper relaxation.
2. Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose): Move into the Cat-Cow Pose by coming onto your hands and knees and moving through the gentle, flowing movements of this pose. This can help release tension in the spine.
3. Balasana (Child's Pose): From Cat-Cow, come into Child's Pose by sitting back on your heels and stretching your arms forward.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog): From Child's Pose, come onto your hands and knees and raise your hips up into Downward-Facing Dog pose. This pose can help energise the body and create a sense of strength and stability.
5. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose): From Downward-Facing Dog, step your right foot forward and come into Warrior II Pose. This pose is known to strengthen the legs and create a sense of grounding and stability.
6. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose): From Warrior II, straighten your right leg and reach your right hand down towards your shin, ankle, or the floor, coming into Triangle Pose. This pose can aid in stretching the sides of the body and create a sense of openness and expansion.
7. Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose): From Triangle Pose, come into Half Lotus Pose on your right side by placing your left foot on top of your right thigh. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to one minute, then release and repeat on the other side.
8. Savasana (Corpse Pose): Finish your sequence by lying down on your back in Savasana, or Corpse Pose. This final relaxation pose can help integrate the benefits of the sequence and create a sense of deep relaxation and peace.
How to combine Half Lotus yoga pose with other practices to reduce stress & anxiety?
By combining Ardha Padmasana with these other practices, you can create a comprehensive stress-busting wellness routine. Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus yoga pose can be combined with other practices to reduce stress and anxiety, such as:
1. Pranayama: Practising pranayama, or yogic breathing exercises, can be an effective way to combat stress and anxiety. You can incorporate pranayama into your practice by beginning with a few rounds of deep breathing or alternate nostril breathing before moving into Ardha Padmasana.
2. Meditation: Combining Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus yoga pose with meditation can help intensify your practice. You can begin your practice by sitting in meditation for a few minutes before moving into Ardha Padmasana, or you can practise meditation while holding the pose.
3. Visualisation: Combining Ardha Padmasana with visualisation techniques can be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. You can visualise yourself in a peaceful and calming environment of your choice while holding the pose.
4. Journaling: Journaling is touted to be a helpful tool for alleviating stress and anxiety. You can journal by reflecting on your thoughts and emotions before or after your yoga practice.
Best yoga props to practise Ardha Padmasana for stress & anxiety
There are several yoga props that one can use to ease into Ardha Padmasana effectively. Here are a few of our top suggestions:
1. Vector X Yoga Brick
Price: INR 299
Vector X Yoga Brick can help in safety and support while doing yoga poses. One can use this yoga block to modify poses that suit your level of flexibility. A yoga brick helps you attain the full benefits of almost every yoga pose by providing extra height, stability and support.
Buy it here
2. Cotton Bolster by Yoga Store Wala Iyengar
Price: INR 2,999
Bolsters provide inner strength and stability. This one, by Yoga Store Wala Iyengar, is equipped with a comfortable soft surface and is designed to last for a long time. The round bolster can be placed under the knees in savasana and across your lap in a seated forward bend or behind you during the Ardha Padmasana pose. It is very effective at alleviating pain in the lower back region and helps in relieving neck pain as well as snoring.
Buy it here.
3. Yoga Belt by Kosha Yoga Co.
Price: INR 699
This organic cotton yoga belt by Kosha Yoga Co. can help you achieve a deeper stretch, correct your alignment and maintain posture, particularly during the Ardha Padmasana or Half Lotus yoga pose. If you have difficulty reaching your foot or keeping your spine straight, you can use a strap or belt to help support the leg and keep the spine in alignment.
Buy it here
Social and lead images credits: Instagram/imouniroy, Instagram/anushkasharma
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