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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 observe 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 high leg to cross your backside leg extra simply. Second, mendacity in your again provides you suggestions as as to whether your again is in a wholesome place. Many individuals spherical their spines once they attempt to kind Half Lotus from a sitting place. It’s a lot simpler to keep up a impartial backbone if you find yourself mendacity down. Lastly, having each 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 had been skilled yoga lecturers and physique employees from everywhere in the world. Through the coaching we inspired trainees to query instructing methodologies that shoehorn college students right into a one-size-fits-all mannequin.

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

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

However it’s not true that anybody can kind their legs into Lotus place, regardless of how dedicated their observe. Because of a workshop I took with Paul Grilley on anatomy for yoga, I discovered that tightness in tender tissue just isn’t the most typical cause individuals can’t do Padmasana. In line with Grilley, it’s all within the bones.

Why Lotus Pose May Be Out of Attain

Some our bodies won’t ever be capable of do full Lotus. This isn’t as a result of the homeowners of those our bodies are inferior yogis or that they’re not making an attempt arduous sufficient. It might be as a result of their hip joints are fashioned in such a approach that they don’t enable the quantity of exterior rotation required to sit down in Lotus.

There are various components—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 likely 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’ll be able to see some bone samples that exhibit a few of the attainable 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—you must 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 stated, I’ve discovered that most individuals are able to and may profit from practising Supta Ardha Padmasana, Supine Half Lotus (SHL). Amongst different advantages, SHL stretches the piriformis muscle tissues, exterior rotators that cross the sacroiliac (SI) joint. When the piriformis is tense, it might press on the sciatic nerve, presumably inflicting sciatica, and may also contribute to sacroiliac dysfunction. Working towards Supta Ardha Padmasana can typically alleviate sciatic ache and may relieve extreme torque in your SI joint.

Half Lotus is historically practiced in a seated place. Nonetheless, I wish to observe 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 high leg to cross your backside leg extra simply. Second, mendacity in your again provides you suggestions as as to whether your again is in a wholesome place. Many individuals spherical their spines once they attempt to kind Half Lotus from a sitting place. It’s a lot simpler to keep up a impartial backbone if you find yourself mendacity down. Lastly, having each side of your SI joint on the ground retains the joints in a impartial place.

Learn how to Follow Ardha Padmasana

  1. Start by mendacity on the ground on a Yoga Mat or Blanket. Bend each knees and place the soles of your toes on the ground.
  2. Cross your proper ankle all the way in which throughout your left thigh in order that your ankle, not your foot, is resting on the thigh. Many individuals favor to put their proper ankle just a few inches from the knee, whereas others (like me) favor to put the ankle nearer to the left hip joint. Attempt it each methods, or at factors in between, to see what feels greatest for you.
  3. Thread your proper arm by 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 fingers. In case your fingers don’t join you may join them with a belt or a yoga strap.
  4. That is vital: Flex your proper ankle and maintain it flexed your complete 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 belly breaths, creating house on the inhalations, and settling into that house in your exhalations.
  6. Take 5 to 10 deep breaths earlier than releasing your legs and letting each toes relaxation on the ground. Take just a few 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 aspect of your physique really feel longer than the opposite? Once you really feel prepared, transfer to your second aspect.
  7. If at any level throughout SHL you’re feeling even the tiniest discomfort in both knee, please let go of the pose. There isn’t any such factor as a “good” knee ache. Lotus could be arduous on knees—much less so if you find yourself mendacity down and practising just one leg at a time—however please do be cautious.

The Most Frequent Misalignment

Many individuals observe Padmasana with their toes, fairly than their ankles, atop reverse thighs. If the soles of their toes are going through upward, you’re practising this misalignment. This can be a recipe for overstretched ligaments in your ankles and attainable knee destabilization. One individual I do know sat this fashion for an hour and ended up having bilateral knee surgical procedures in consequence.

That’s the reason so many skilled practitioners had been unable to do Padmasana in Donna’s instructor coaching. We made positive that folks had been practising wholesome alignment rules once they lastly positioned their legs in Lotus. Working towards Padmasana with wholesome alignment, along with your ankles flexed and sitting on high of your thighs, is just attainable for individuals 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 toes—on high of their thighs.

There’s Greater than One Method to Follow Lotus Pose

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

Supta Ardha Padmasana, although, could be a wholesome staple in your repertoire of asanas. It confers most of the advantages of Padmasana, however few of its potential dangers. What issues just isn’t whether or not you had been born with a skeleton that may transfer in a specific approach. What issues is the care, respect and mindfulness you convey to no matter pose you’re practising in a given second.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and started instructing in 1986. Charlotte is the creator of Conscious Yoga, Conscious Life: A Information for On a regular basis Follow and Yoga for Meditators, each revealed by Rodmell Press. Her third e-book 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 Crimson Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.

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