Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana) is a seated meditation posture suitable for intermediate yoga students. This variation, Revolved Half Lotus Pose, stretches the spine and shoulders by adding a twist.
The Sanskrit name for this pose, "Parivrtta Ardha Padmasana" (PAH-ruh-VREE-tah ARD-uh pahd-MAHS-uh-nuh), comes from four words:
- “Parivrtta" — meaning “revolved”
- "Ardha" — meaning "half"
- "Padma" — meaning "lotus"
- “Asana” — meaning “pose”
This pose is also a variation of Revolved Lotus Pose (Parivrtta Padmasana) that is more suitable for students who are less flexible in the hips, knees, and lower torso. It is also a good choice for those who cannot yet sit in full Lotus Pose.
Benefits of Revolved Half Lotus Pose
A steady and pleasant posture produces mental equilibrium and prevents fickleness of mind.
This pose strengthens and stretches the upper back and spine, while opening the shoulders and chest. It also improves flexibility in the knees, ankles, and hips. Twisting the torso around the spine tones and detoxifies the abdominal organs, including the kidneys, liver, and spleen. This will help cleanse your body and improve your overall health. Regularly practicing twists, such as Revolved Half Lotus Pose, will improve your energy levels, reduce fatigue, and calm your mind.
Avoid practicing this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to the spine, shoulders, knees, ankles, or hips. If your hips, knees, or ankles are very tight, it might be difficult to cross your legs. Never force the pose. Instead, practice a modified version until your flexibility increases (see Modifications & Variations, below). Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended, spine straight, and arms resting at your sides. This is Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana).
- Bend your right knee and hug it to your chest. Then bring your right ankle onto the crease of your left hip, so the sole of your right foot faces the sky. The top of your foot should rest on your hip crease.
- Bend your left knee and cross your left ankle beneath your right knee. This is Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana).
- Balance your weight evenly across your sit bones. Align your head, neck, and spine. Lengthen your spine, but soften your neck. Relax your feet and thighs.
- Place your right hand on the floor behind you. Bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee. On an exhalation, gently twist to the right. Inhale as you lengthen your spine, then exhale again as you twist deeper. Gaze over your right shoulder. Keep your hands soft — do not press hard against your knee to force a deeper twist.
- Keep your collarbones broad and sit up straight. Do not lean forward in order to obtain a deeper twist. Instead, twist only as far as you can go while keeping your head aligned directly over your tailbone.
- Hold the twist for up to 10 breaths. Exhale as you come back to center.
- Release the pose by extending both legs along the floor in Staff Pose. Repeat the pose for the same amount of time with the opposite leg on top. Then release your legs and return to Staff Pose again.
Modifications & Variations
Parivrtta Ardha Padmasana can add variety to your practice as it improves your flexibility and overall well-being. Be sure to make whatever modifications you need to feel steady and supported in the pose. Below are a few suggestions:
- If you are not yet able to perform Half Lotus, practice Easy Pose (Sukhasana) until you have gained enough flexibility and strength to sit comfortably in the pose.
For those with very tight hips, practice the pose seated in a chair:
- Leaving your left foot flat on the floor, cross your right ankle onto your left hip crease.
- Place your right hand on the back of the chair, and bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee.
- Twist to the right.
- Hold the pose for up to one minute, and then repeat on the opposite side.
For a deeper stretch, those with more flexibility can come into Bound Revolved Half Lotus Pose (Baddha Parivrtta Ardha Padmasana) [link]:
- From Revolved Half Lotus Pose, reach the arm that is behind you all the way around your back.
- Hold onto your opposite-side toes with your fingers.
- Hold the twist for up to 10 breaths, and then repeat the pose on the opposite side for the same amount of time.
Revolved Half Lotus Pose will calm your mind and bring your entire body back into balance. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Half Lotus Pose (Ardha Padmasana) is the foundation for this variation. Thoroughly review the information in the iSport guide, How to Do Half Lotus Pose in Yoga, before trying the revolved variation!
- Be sure to change the cross of your legs, not favoring one side or the other. Hold the pose for the same length of time on each side.
- Take it slowly. Never force the pose or the twist!
- Keep your breath smooth and even throughout the pose.
- If you feel any pinching or jarring pain (particularly in your knees), immediately back out of the pose.
- Keep your spine vertical throughout the pose. The crown of your head should maintain its alignment directly over your tailbone.
Twist to Gain Balance
Practicing Parivrtta Ardha Padmasana can be a simple way to rediscover balance in your body, mind, and spirit. Twisting for the same amount of time in both directions will allow your body — particularly your digestive organs — to find its equilibrium and harmony. It can also just feel good to stretch your spine and shoulders. Add a twist to your day and savor the benefits!