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Supta Ardha Padmasana: A Lotus for Each Physique


This entry was posted on Aug 8, 2023 by Charlotte Bell.

Supta Ardha Padmasana

Half Lotus is historically practiced in a seated place. Nonetheless, I wish to follow it mendacity down for a number of causes. First, mendacity in your again removes the restriction of the ground below your legs. It permits your prime leg to cross your backside leg extra simply. Second, mendacity in your again provides you suggestions as as to if your again is in a wholesome place. Many individuals spherical their spines once they attempt to type Half Lotus from a sitting place. It’s a lot simpler to take care of a impartial backbone if you end up mendacity down. Lastly, having either side of your SI joint on the ground retains the joints in a impartial place.

In 2001, I co-taught a instructor coaching with Donna Farhi in Vancouver, BC. The 50 attendees have been skilled yoga lecturers and physique employees from everywhere in the world. In the course of the coaching we inspired trainees to query educating methodologies that shoehorn college students right into a one-size-fits-all mannequin.

One false impression we talked about was the perceived necessity of training what might be yoga’s most emblematic pose: Padmasana (Lotus Pose). That day we spent two hours training the poses Donna practices to prep her physique for Lotus. After we tried Padmasana towards the tip of the category, I observed that regardless of the depth and expertise of attendees, solely three out of fifty folks may really do it safely.

This was very shocking to me. Beforehand, I’d been below the impression that anybody who tried laborious sufficient and practiced proper may finally do Lotus. This can be true for some folks—Donna advised us it took her 10 years of cautious, affected person follow to ease her hip joints into Padmasana.

But it surely’s not true that anybody can type their legs into Lotus place, irrespective of how dedicated their follow. Because of a workshop I took with Paul Grilley on anatomy for yoga, I discovered that tightness in mushy tissue shouldn’t be the most typical purpose folks can’t do Padmasana. In keeping with Grilley, it’s all within the bones.

Why Lotus Pose Would possibly Be Out of Attain

Some our bodies won’t ever be capable to do full Lotus. This isn’t as a result of the house owners of those our bodies are inferior yogis or that they’re not making an attempt laborious sufficient. It might be as a result of their hip joints are shaped in such a method that they don’t enable the quantity of exterior rotation required to take a seat in Lotus.

There are various elements—all inside the realm of regular—that affect the quantity of exterior rotation in your joints. The depth, placement and orientation of your hip sockets can affect whether or not your thighs are inclined to rotate inward or outward extra simply. The form and rotation of the heads and necks of the femurs additionally have an effect on the rotation, as does the form and rotation of your shaft of the femur bones. You may see some bone samples that show among the doable variations that affect mobility on Grilley’s web site.

Supta Ardha Padmasana—A Lotus Pose for Each Physique

Luckily, there’s no pose in yoga—together with Padmasana—it’s essential do to be able to be a “good” yogi. Yoga has by no means been about what your physique can or can’t do.

All that mentioned, I’ve discovered that most individuals are able to and might profit from training Supta Ardha Padmasana, Supine Half Lotus (SHL). Amongst different advantages, SHL stretches the piriformis muscle tissue, exterior rotators that cross the sacroiliac (SI) joint. When the piriformis is tense, it could press on the sciatic nerve, probably inflicting sciatica, and may also contribute to sacroiliac dysfunction. Working towards Supta Ardha Padmasana can typically alleviate sciatic ache and might relieve extreme torque in your SI joint.

Half Lotus is historically practiced in a seated place. Nonetheless, I wish to follow it mendacity down for a number of causes. First, mendacity in your again removes the restriction of the ground below your legs. It permits your prime leg to cross your backside leg extra simply. Second, mendacity in your again provides you suggestions as as to if your again is in a wholesome place. Many individuals spherical their spines once they attempt to type Half Lotus from a sitting place. It’s a lot simpler to take care of a impartial backbone if you end up mendacity down. Lastly, having either side of your SI joint on the ground retains the joints in a impartial place.

Methods to Observe Ardha Padmasana

  1. Start by mendacity on the ground on a Yoga Mat or Blanket. Bend each knees and place the soles of your ft on the ground.
  2. Cross your proper ankle all the best way throughout your left thigh in order that your ankle, not your foot, is resting on the thigh. Many individuals desire to put their proper ankle a couple of inches from the knee, whereas others (like me) desire to put the ankle nearer to the left hip joint. Strive it each methods, or at factors in between, to see what feels greatest for you.
  3. Thread your proper arm by way of the opening behind your proper knee and seize the again of your left leg. Wrap your left hand across the again of your left leg and interlace the fingers of each palms. In case your palms don’t join you’ll be able to join them with a belt or a yoga strap.
  4. That is essential: Flex your proper ankle and maintain it flexed your entire time. This retains each your knee and ankle steady.
  5. Draw each legs in towards your torso, stress-free your shoulders and arms. Take deep stomach breaths, creating area on the inhalations, and settling into that area in your exhalations.
  6. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths earlier than releasing your legs and letting each ft relaxation on the ground. Take a couple of breaths merely mendacity in your again to really feel what modified. How are the 2 sides of the pelvis resting on the ground? Does one facet of your physique really feel longer than the opposite? While you really feel prepared, transfer to your second facet.
  7. If at any level throughout SHL you are feeling even the tiniest discomfort in both knee, please let go of the pose. There is no such thing as a such factor as a “good” knee ache. Lotus could be laborious on knees—much less so if you end up mendacity down and training just one leg at a time—however please do be cautious.

The Most Frequent Misalignment

Many individuals follow Padmasana with their ft, moderately than their ankles, atop reverse thighs. If the soles of their ft are dealing with upward, you’re training this misalignment. It is a recipe for overstretched ligaments in your ankles and doable knee destabilization. One individual I do know sat this fashion for an hour and ended up having bilateral knee surgical procedures because of this.

That’s the reason so many skilled practitioners have been unable to do Padmasana in Donna’s instructor coaching. We made positive that folks have been training wholesome alignment ideas once they lastly positioned their legs in Lotus. Working towards Padmasana with wholesome alignment, together with your ankles flexed and sitting on prime of your thighs, is barely doable for folks whose hip joints externally rotate very simply. Many individuals can do the misaligned model of Lotus, however not that many individuals have the acute vary of movement required to do it with the ankles—not the ft—on prime of their thighs.

There’s Greater than One Method to Observe Lotus Pose

Whereas Instagram pictures of individuals doing Lotus Pose in bikinis on sunset-lit seashores might conjure romantic concepts about its significance within the canon of yoga poses, please keep in mind that it’s not for everybody. Whether or not or not your physique can do Padmasana—or some other pose—shouldn’t be a measure of both your character or price as a yoga practitioner.

Supta Ardha Padmasana, although, generally is a wholesome staple in your repertoire of asanas. It confers most of the advantages of Padmasana, however few of its potential dangers. What issues shouldn’t be whether or not you have been born with a skeleton that may transfer in a selected method. What issues is the care, respect and mindfulness you deliver to no matter pose you’re training in a given second.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and started educating in 1986. Charlotte is the creator of Aware Yoga, Aware Life: A Information for On a regular basis Observe and Yoga for Meditators, each printed by Rodmell Press. Her third guide is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and folks sextet Purple Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.

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